Tag: discipleship

Genesis Essentials Lesson Notes

Genesis Essentials Lesson Notes

Naturally we begin the Bible Essentials with Genesis…

 

Storyline

When God rebuked Satan in Genesis 3:15, He outlined the plot of the entire rest of the Bible: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Indeed, the devil would fight against Eve’s descendants; but one of them, Jesus of Nazareth, would deal him a fatal blow by defeating sin and death on the cross. Because Genesis encapsulates many foundational truths, it is not surprising that many New Testament books reference this book in some way. For example, Jesus, Paul, and the author of Hebrews draw from the Bible’s opening book to give the basis for marriage (Matthew 19:4–5), explain humanity’s fallen condition (Romans 5:12), and provide examples of walking by faith (Hebrews 11). And key salvation-related concepts like sin, covenant, sacrifice, judgment, mercy, and obedience all have their origins in this book.

 

Key Concepts

  • The covenant is God’s program of revelation.
  • The focus of creation is the establishment and maintenance of order and operation.
  • The stories in the Bible are stories about God.”

 

Essential Verses

“Genesis 1:28: Be fruitful and increase in number.

Genesis 12:3: All peoples on earth will be blessed through you [Abraham].

Genesis 50:20: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish . . . the saving of many lives.”

 

Central Chapter

Genesis 15—Central to all of Scripture is the Abrahamic covenant, which is given in 12:1–3 and ratified in 15:1–21. Israel receives three specific promises: (1) the promise of a great land—“from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates” (15:18); (2) the promise of a great nation—“and I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth” (13:16); and (3) the promise of a great blessing—“I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (12:2).

 

Key Teachings

  • God established and maintains order in the cosmos.
  • God overcomes obstacles to carry out his purposes.
  • God reveals himself to his people.
  • God’s grace exceeds all logic.

 

KEY THEMES

God

The Bible’s opening verse focuses us on God – eternal (21:33), unique (1 Timothy 1:17), all-powerful, creating everything from nothing (Hebrews 11:3). However, he is no mere force or power, but personal, making humans in his image (1:26-27) for relationship with him (2:7-24). As Genesis unfolds, we see that he is also gracious (12:1-3), caring (16:7-16), sovereign (50:20), and yet he judges sin (3:23; 6:7; 11:8; 19:23-29).

Humanity

Although made on the same day as animals, humans are distinct and superior, reflected in their separate creation (1:24-26), dominion over the animal world (1:28), and creation in God’s image (1:26-27) – an image reflected fully and equally in both sexes.

Creation

Creation is “good” (1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31) and to be enjoyed, but not to the exclusion of its creator, nor by being made into god (Exodus 20:4-5). As God’s stewards, humanity is to care for creation on his behalf (1:28; 2:15; 9:1-3; Psalm 8:3-8; 115:16).

Sin

Adam and Eve’s disobedience had widespread consequences, affecting relationship with God (3:8-10), one another (3:7,12), and creation itself (3:17-19), yet excusing its guilt by hiding and explaining things away (3:7-13). Their sin spread deeply into their descendants (eg 4:1-8) and the rest of humanity (6:1-6) so that “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (8:21). The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Covenant

While covenants (solemn, unbreakable contracts between two parties) were common, biblical covenants were distinct by being entirely at God’s initiative. So all Abraham could do when God made covenant with him was stand by and watch (15:1-21). Only after it was made could he respond. God made covenants with his people at key times (eg 9:8-17; 15:9-21; 17:1-27; 19:3-8), but the prophets looked forward to a new covenant, written in people’s hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 37:25-27), which the New Testament says happened through Jesus (Matthew 26:26-28; Hebrews 9:15-28).

Election

Election is God’s gracious and sovereign calling of people for his greater purpose. In Genesis he chooses Israel through Abraham (12:1-3; 15:1-18; 17:1-16) rather than another nation, Isaac rather than Ishmael (17:19-21; Romans 9:6-9), Jacob rather than Esau (25:23; 27:1-40; Romans 9:10-16). This choice isn’t out of favoritism, but love (Deuteronomy 7:7-8), in order to bring about his bigger salvation purposes. Those chosen can therefore never be proud (Romans chapters 9-11), and even those not chosen can still find blessing, as Ishmael (21:17-20) and Esau (36:6-8) discovered.

 

Doctrines in Genesis

Most of the central teachings of Christianity have their roots in the Book of Genesis.

God the Father —the authority of God in creation (1:1–31 Psalm 103:19; 145:8–9; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; 4:6)

God the Son —the agent of God in creation (1:1 3:15 18:1 John 1:1–3; 10:30; 14:9; Philippians 2:5–8; Colossians 1:15–17; Hebrews 1:2)

God the Holy Spirit —the presence of God in creation (1:2; 6:3; Matthew 1:18; John 3:5–7)

God as one yet three —the Trinity (1:1,26; 3:22; 11:7; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5–7; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

Human beings —created in Christ’s image yet fallen into sin and needing a Savior (1:26; 2:4–25; 9:6; Isaiah 43:7; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; James 3:9; Revelation 4:11)

Sin (the Fall) —the infection of all creation with sin by rebellion toward God (2:16–17; 3:1–19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1–3; 1 Timothy 2:13–14; 1 John 1:8)

Redemption —the rescue from sin and restoration accomplished by Christ on the cross (3:15; 48:16; John 8:44; 10:15; Romans 3:24–25; 16:20; 1 Peter 2:24)

Covenant —God establishes relationships and makes promises (15:1–20; 17:10–11; Numbers 25:10–13; Deuteronomy 4:25–31; 30:1–9; 2 Samuel 23:5; 1 Chronicles 16:15–18; Jeremiah 30:11; 32:40; 46:27–28; Amos 9:8; Luke 1:67–75; Hebrews 6:13–18)

Promise —God commits Himself into the future (12:1–3; 26:3–4; 28:14; Acts 2:39; Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 8:6)

Satan —the original rebel among God’s creatures (3:1–15; Isaiah 14:13–14; Matthew 4:3–10; 2 Corinthians 11:3,14; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 12:9; 20:2)

Angels—special beings created to serve God (3:24; 18:1–8; 28:12; Luke 2:9–14; Hebrews 1:6–7,14; 2:6–7; Revelation 5:11–14)

Revelation —Natural revelation occurs as God indirectly communicates through what He has made (1:1–2:25; Romans 1:19,20). Special revelation occurs when God directly communicates Himself as well as otherwise unknowable truth (2:15–17; 3:8–19; 12:1–3; 18:1–8; 32:24–32; Deuteronomy 18:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:1–4; 1 Peter 1:10–12)

Israel —Jacob’s God-given name that became the name of the nation he fathered; inheritors of God’s covenant with Abraham (32:28; 35:10; Deuteronomy 28:15–68; Isaiah 65:17–25; Jeremiah 31:31–34; Ezekiel 37:21–28; Zechariah 8:1–17; Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1–29)

Judgment —God’s righteous response to sin (3; 6; 7; 11:1–9; 15:14, 18:16– 19:29; Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 1:9; Matthew 12:36–37; Romans 1:18–2:16; 2 Peter 2:5–6)

Blessing —a special benefit or a hope-filled statement to someone about their life (1:28; 9:1; 12:1–3; 14:18–20; 27:1–40; 48:1–20; Numbers 6:24–27; Deuteronomy 11:26–27; Psalm 3:8; Malachi 3:10; Matthew 5:3–11; 1 Peter 3:9)

 

God’s Character in Genesis

Many of God’s character traits are first revealed in Genesis.

God is the Creator —1:1–31

God is faithful (keeps promises) —12:3,7; 26:3–4; 28:14; 32:9,12

God is just —18:25

God is long-suffering —6:3

God is loving —24:12

God is merciful —19:16,19

God is omnipotent —17:1

God is powerful —18:14

God is provident —8:22; 24:12–14,48,56; 28:20–21; 45:5–7; 48:15; 50:20

God is truthful —3:4–5; 24:27; 32:10

God is wrathful —7:21–23; 11:8; 19:24–25

 

 

 

Christ Revealed in Genesis

The preexistent Christ, the living Word, is evident throughout the Book of Genesis…

The preincarnate Jesus was present at creation (John 1:3). Genesis 3:15 anticipates Jesus’ ministry, suggesting that the “Seed” of the woman who will bruise the serpent’s (Satan’s) head is Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16). Melchizedek is the mysterious king-priest of Genesis 14 (Heb. 6:20). The greatest revelation of Christ in Genesis is found in God’s establishment of His covenant with Abraham (chs. 15; 17). Jesus is the major fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, a truth Paul explains in detail in Galatians. Much of the Bible is built upon the Abrahamic covenant and Christ’s fulfillment of it. In Genesis 22:2, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac at God’s command bears a startling similarity to the crucial New Testament truth of God’s willingness to sacrifice His only Son for the sins of the world. Finally, Jacob’s blessing upon Judah anticipates the coming of “Shiloh” to be identified as the Messiah: “And to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (49:10).

 

 

CONTENT OUTLINE OF GENESIS

  1. Primeval Events (1:1–11:32)
  2. Creation Overview (1:1–2:3)
  3. Creation Detail (2:4–4:26)
  4. Creation of man, woman (2:4–25)
  5. Temptation and Fall (3:1–7)
  6. Impact of sin (3:8–4:26)
  7. On Adam, Eve (3:8–24)
  8. On their offspring (4:1–18)
  9. On society (4:19–26)
  10. Man’s Early History (5:1–11:32)
  11. Adam to Noah (5:1–32)
  12. Corruption of the race (6:1–8)
  13. Noah’s survival of the Flood (6:9–8:22)
  14. God’s covenant with Noah (9:1–17)
  15. The curse on Canaan (9:18–29)
  16. Nations springing from Noah’s sons (10:1–32)
  17. Origin of languages (11:1–9)
  18. From Shem to Abram (11:10–32)
  19. Patriarchal Narratives (12:1–50:26)
  20. The Story of Abraham (12:1–25:18)
  21. Making of the Covenant (12:1–15:21)
  22. Provision of the promised seed, and tests of Abraham’s faith (16:1–22:19)
  23. Transmission of the promises to Isaac (22:20–25:11)
  24. The history of Ishmael (25:12–18)
  25. The Story of Jacob (25:19–35:29)
  26. Transmission of the blessing to Jacob rather than Esau (25:19–28:22)
  27. Jacob’s sojourn in Paddan Aram (29:1–30:43)
  28. Jacob’s return (31–35)
  29. The History of Esau (36:1–37:1)
  30. The Story of Joseph (37:2–50:26)
  31. Joseph sold to Egypt (37:2–36)
  32. Corruption of Judah (38:1–30)
  33. Rise of Joseph in Egypt (39:1–41:57)
  34. The move to Egypt (42:1–47:31)
  35. The Covenant story to be continued (48:1–50:26)

 

 

Doctrine of Adoption

Doctrine of Adoption

Adoption is the admission of a believer into the family of God, positionally, as sons and daughters. In the Ordo Salutis (“order of salvation”), adoption is the step immediately subsequent to justification. The following outline, with Scritpure References, is offered to help you to begin your study on the Doctrine of Adoption

 

I. We obtain sonshp through the Holy Spirit placing us into the family of God (Romans 8:14-15)

II.  Adoption is through faith in Christ (John 1:12, Galatians 3:26, Ephesians 1:5)

III. We become joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)

IV. The Holy Spirit testifies to our adoption (Romans 8:16, Galatians 4:5-6)

V. Our Inheritance is incorruptible (1 Peter 1:4)

VI. Gentiles are also adopted through the Gospel (Ephesians 3:6)

Spiritual Renewal and Recovery Themes in Revelation

Spiritual Renewal and Recovery Themes in Revelation

Redemptive History reaches its final culmintation in the Book of Revelation and it is here where God gives us our final lessons on being renewed and restored to relationship with Him and our final lessons on recovering from our sin…

 

God Rules Over All

God is sovereign. He is greater than any other power in the universe. Nothing and no one can compare to him. When we look at the turmoil in the world today, the problems we face, the pain we have suffered or the pain we have caused others, we may wonder whether God will really be able to right all the wrongs. But John wrote this book to assure us that though evil may seem to win today’s battles, God is all-powerful and will assert himself for his people. In the end, all things will be made new in Christ.

God Is the Source of Hope

The book of Revelation reveals to us the ultimate source of hope—Jesus Christ. He is coming again and will deal with the problems of our sin-scarred world, restoring what is broken and dealing with the injustices around us. Life is never hopeless, regardless of what has happened to us or what we have done. We can focus on God’s love, grace and forgiveness. He has made our restoration possible in Christ, and Christ will return to complete his task of renewal throughout all creation. If we are looking to Christ, we can hang on to our hope despite the difficult circumstances that we may face.

The Pain of Consequences

Every one of us cries out for justice. When evil and injustice prosper, we begin to feel angry. It often appears that people get away with their selfish and wicked deeds. But in reality God will judge all wicked actions. Those who openly defy him will ultimately face the awful consequences of their sin. Those who turn to God in repentance for forgiveness need not fear the future day of judgment. Judgment is an awful thing, and the pain of sin’s consequences should motivate us to turn our lives over to God and obediently follow his plan.

Justice Belongs to God

Being in recovery does not release us from our sense of justice. As we deal with the wrongs we have done, we may feel that others are not dealing with theirs and that we have legitimate grudges to harbor. While these feelings are natural, they are not godly and endanger our recovery. The book of Revelation makes it clear that justice belongs to God; he alone has the right to avenge the wrongs of others. What’s more, he alone has the power to change their lives. Anger and bitterness make recovery more difficult than it already is. Part of giving our life and our will over to God is releasing the bitterness we feel toward others.

**This lesson is adapted from the NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible and the KJV Life Recovery Bible**

CSB Life Connections Bible Review

CSB Life Connections Bible Review

 

additional photos-click here

The very popular Serendipity Bible for Personal and Small Group Study has made a comeback with the Christian Standard Bible in the Life Connections Study Bible. (Holman Bible Publishers sent me a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, simply an honest one.)

I am admittedly new to the Serendipity Bible so we will begin with a little from the publisher:

The CSB Life Connections Study Bible is are a revised and updated version of the best-selling and renowned Serendipity Study Bible. The original Serendipity Study Bible was the culmination of 40 years of community building by Serendipity House Publishers, which revolutionized small groups and personal study through thousands of accessible questions and study helps throughout the Bible.

The CSB Life Connections Study Bible includes thousands of questions and study helps for all 1,189 chapters of the Bible – all updated for today’s readers. This Bible includes short chapter-by-chapter comments about key people, places, and events along with guidance for small group Bible study and personal reflection through the “Open-Consider-Apply” method:

  • Open” questions initiate discussion and/or reflection
  • Consider” questions focus on the details of the passage
  • Apply” questions encourage application to daily life
  • Also included are select “For Groups,” “For Worship,” and “Dig Deeper” questions for further study, reflection, discussion, and application.

 

Translation

The Life Connections Study Bible uses the Christian Standard Bible, a natural choice since Lifeway acquired Serendipity House Publishers. CSB is a mediating translation- it is literal when it needs to be but still very readable.  I am currently using the Christian Standard Bible for preaching and teaching.

Cover and Binding

I am reviewing the brown leathersoft edition. It is a very convincing imitation leather. Naturally, there is a paste down liner. Most CSB Bibles include a sewn binding and this one is no exception. The sewn binding provides two very nice features: it lays flat very easily and it also makes it fairly floppy and easy to use one handed.

Paper, Layout, and Font

The paper is very interesting; it has a different tactile feel than other CSB Bibles that I have felt. It has a little bit of a newsprint feel. The paper is nicely opaque and should provide no issue with annotating. As is most often the case, I recommend ball-point pen, colored pencil, or mechanical pencil.

The text of Scripture is laid out in a single column paragraph format. Verse numbers are fairly opaque which makes verse finding fairly easy, especially so if you are teaching in a small group. The notes are a little smallish and are laid out in four columns at the bottom of the page. They are separated from the text by a single bold line. A chapter summary is provided for each chapter of the Bible, set off in a green box. Bible study content is in the outer margin on each page.

The font is a black letter text. It is approximately 9.5-point font for the Bible text. Bible study content and commentary notes are about a 7-point font. Perhaps 8-point.

Content

Study Questions

This study Bible includes ready-made discussion and study questions for every chapter of the Bible. Some chapters include more than one study and set of questions. There’s an opening question (or ice breaker), some Scripture-driven questions for consideration, and some application questions, all based on the chapter in which the questions are found. Where appropriate, there are also questions for worship, group activities, and digging deeper in Bible study. May of my colleagues are not fans of the “Discussion Model,” and I understand that but there are benefits to this model. The discussion and study questions are designed to help your small group study to think through the process of understanding the text.

Study Guides

There are 16 topical study courses, 60 life needs courses, and 200 Bible stories available for study. The beautiful feature about these additional studies is that they simply point to selected chapter studies in the Bible. Understanding sacred Scripture is the driving force behind every lesson and every study. While that may seem like an obvious statement you would be amazed at just exactly how much “Christian content” not actually geared toward a true understanding and internalization of the Scripture. Next to each lesson is the Scripture from where the lesson draws Truth and the page number where the questions for that chapter are found. A life needs study on sexuality points to specific chapters from which to draw the Texts and questions. Bonus: all the 60 life needs studies have beginner and advanced options and all of them depend on the Scripture with margin questions from the chapters.

Introductions

Each book has a one page introduction covering Author, Date of Writing, Theme, and Historical Background of the Book. I would have liked to see a small outline of some kind.

Is anything missing?

An earlier edition from Serendipity House, the Interactive Study Bible, was in the same format but had Lectionary Readings. I would have liked to see Holman include lectionary readings for those denominations which follow them, such as our Anglican Brethren.

The earlier edition also included options for personal readings and group study readings. There was also a brief comment on the Modern Message of each book.  (How does the message apply to Christians today.)

Overall Impression

I am fairly impressed with the Life Connections Study Bible. There are a couple of features that I would have liked to see come forward into the new edition but all in all it looks to be as helpful as it is interesting. I will most likely write a use case study as I am able to put it through its paces in church.

Who should buy this Bible?

The Life Connections Bible is ideally suited to the small group leader or, perhaps, the Sunday School Teacher. Even if one does not utilize the “Discussion Model” for teaching, the discussion questions will be most helpful.

 

 

The 39 Articles

The 39 Articles

While not Anglican ourselves, there is much we can learn from our Anglican Brethren. We are offering the 39 Articles of Religion of the Anglican Church for your conisderation and edification…

 

THE ARTICLES OF RELIGION
Agreed upon by the Archbishops, Bishops, and the whole clergy of the Provinces of Canterbury and York, London, 1562.

I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

II. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.

III. Of the going down of Christ into Hell
As Christ died for us, and was buried, so also is it to be believed, that he went down into Hell.

IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ
Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.

V. Of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for salvation
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be. believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

OF THE NAMES AND NUMBERS OF THE CANONICAL BOOKS

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • The First Book of Samuel
  • The Second Book of Samuel
  • The First Book of Kings
  • The Second Book of Kings
  • The First Book of Chronicles
  • The Second Book of Chronicles
  • The First Book of Esdras
  • The Second Book of Esdras
  • The Book of Esther
  • The Book of Job
  • The Psalms
  • The Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes or Preacher
  • Cantica or Songs of Solomon
  • Four Prophets the greater
  • Twelve Prophets the less

And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:

  • The Third Book of Kings
  • The Fourth Book of Kings
  • The Book of Tobias
  • The Book of Judith
  • The rest of the Book of Esther
  • The Book of Wisdom
  • Jesus the Son of Sirach
  • Baruch the Prophet
  • The Song of the Three Children
  • The Story of Susanna
  • Of Bel and the Dragon
  • The Prayer of Manasses
  • The First Book of Maccabees
  • The Second Book of Maccabees

All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.

VII. Of the Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

VIII. Of the Three Creeds
The Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’s Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.

IX. Of Original or Birth-sin
Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the mature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature Both remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in the Greek, phronema sarkos, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

X. Of Free Will
The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God: Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

XI. Of the justification of Adam
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

XII. Of Good Works
Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgement; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively, Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

XIII. Of Works before Justification
Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

XIV. Of Works of Supererogation
Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God’s Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogant’ and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that arc commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.

XV. Of Christ alone without Sin
Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world, and sin, as Saint John saith, was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

XVI. Of Sin after Baptism
Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.

XVII. Of Predestination and Election
Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind. and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: then be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.

As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchedness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.

Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ
They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

XIX. Of the Church
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly- ministered according to Christ’s ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.

XX. Of the Authority of the Church
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority- in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils
General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture.

XXII. Of Purgatory
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation
It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of publick preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have publick authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord’s vineyard.

XXIV. Of speaking in the Congregation in such a tongue as the people understandeth
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have publick Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.

XXV. Of the Sacraments
Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.

There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.

Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.

XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacrament
Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving of the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil then.

Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquire be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally being found guilty, by just judgement be deposed.

XXVII. Of Baptism
Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or new Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.

XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The Body of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up or worshipped.

XXIX. Of the Wicked which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord’s Supper
The Wicked. and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do cat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.

XXX. Of both kinds
The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord’s Sacrament, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.

XXXI. Of the Oblation of Christ of Christ finished upon the Cross
The offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.

XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests
Bishops, Priests and Deacons are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to mary at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.

XXXIII. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided
That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as a Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance and received into the Church by a Judge that hath authority thereunto.

XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church
It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, and utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word. Whosoever through his private judgement, willingly and purposely, cloth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.

Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

XXXV. Of the Homilies
The second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these tunes, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.

Of the Names of the Homilies

1. Of the right Use of the Church
2. Against peril of Idolatry
3. Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches
4. Of good Works: first of Fasting
5. Against Gluttony and Drunkenness
6. Against Excess of Apparel
7. Of Prayer
8. Of the Place and Time of Prayer
9. That Common Prayer and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known tongue
10. Of the reverend estimation of God’s Word
11. Of Alms-doing
12. Of the Nativity of Christ
13. Of the Passion of Christ
14. Of the Resurrection of Christ
15. Of the worthy receiving of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ
16. Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost
17. For the Rogation of Days
18. Of the State of Matrimony
19. Of Repentance
20. Against Idleness
21. Against Rebellion

XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers
The Book of Consecration of :archbishops and Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, lately set forth in the tine of Edward the Sixth, and confirmed at the same time by authority of Parliament, Both contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering: neither bath it any thing, that of itself is superstitious and ungodly. And therefore whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to the Rites of that Book, since the second year of the forenamed King Edward unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated or ordered according to the same Rites; we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.

XXXVII. Of the Civil Magistrates
The King’s Majesty bath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes cloth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction.

Where we attribute to the King’s Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not to our Princes the ministering either of God’s Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in Holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evildoers.

The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.

The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences.

It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in the wars.

XXXVIII. Of Christian men’s Goods, which are not common
The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

XXXIX. Of a Christian man’s oath
As we confess that vain and rash Swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle, so we judge, that Christian Religion cloth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet’s teaching, injustice, judgement, and truth.

Who is Jesus Christ?

Who is Jesus Christ?

This post was originally featured with the American Association of Christian Counselors and is excerpted from the Soul Care Bible.
Author: ED HINDSON
(John 1:29)
Jesus is the primary figure of the Bible. The Old Testament promises His coming; the New Testament describes His arrival on the scene of humanity that changed the course of history. One cannot read the New Testament without being confronted by Jesus. His person is overwhelming. His character is irresistibly attractive. His teachings are life-changing. But many still ask: Is He simply to be admired, or is He to be worshiped? Is He a good man, or is He God?
The more closely we examine the person, character, and claims of Jesus, the more we are compelled to see that He was more than just a man. Jesus was born in obscurity, raised in poverty, and crucified in ignominy. Yet, His life transformed the world. His ministry was characterized by preaching the good news of God’s grace to fallen humanity.
The name Jesus means “Savior”; Christ means “Messiah.” Technically, He is Jesus, the Christ. The Bible emphasizes that He is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament who was born of a virgin and miraculously entered the human race as God in the flesh (Matt. 1:23; John 1:14).
More than anything else, Jesus brings hope to people’s hopelessness. He is depicted as the Word of God (John 1:1), the Light of the World (John 1:7-9), the Lamb of God (John 1:29), and the Son of God (John 1:49). He meets us at our greatest points of need and offers us God’s salvation, love, and grace.
HIS DEITY AND HUMANITY
The Gospels paint four portraits of Jesus. Together, they give us a full picture of the person of Christ. Each focuses on a specific aspect of the same individual. Matthew pictures Him as the King of the Jews. Mark portrays Him as the Servant of the Lord. Luke displays Him as the Son of Man. John shows Him as the Son of God. By combining these portraits, we see the various facets of this incredible person-royalty, ministry, humanity, and deity-all in one.
John’s Gospel in particular is woven around seven miracles, seven messages, and seven declarations of Jesus. The central statement being Jesus’ declaration: “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). His listeners immediately took this to be a claim of deity. Jesus was connecting Himself to the “I AM” declaration of God in Exodus 3:14. Around this central concept, John uses seven other “I am” statements by Jesus to give us a series of word pictures of the Savior:
“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35) “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) “I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7) “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11) “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) “I am the true vine” (John 15:1)
The Gospel writers give us a picture of the most incredible man who ever lived. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry, and loved the outcasts. His miracles were amazing. His teachings were brilliant. His insights into human nature were remarkable. Like a diamond, reflecting various streams of color and brilliance, Jesus shines as a perfect and complete picture of God. He looked like a man, but He talked like God. He lived among people, but He also lived above them. Indeed, in Him, God “became flesh” (John 1:14).
HIS IRRESISTIBLE APPEAL
Jesus is the epitome of divine love, sufficient grace, and eternal hope. No one will ever love us like He loves us. No one will ever care for us like He cares. Ultimately, He died on the Cross for our sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The good news of the gospel compels us to believe that He died for us personally. He calls upon us to trust His death as a sufficient payment for our sins.
Faith is the act of believing that activates our commitment to Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. It is the key that personalizes our relationship to Him. Saving faith means that we believe Jesus died for our sins and offers us the gift of eternal life.
All we have to do is believe it! Such an act of faith receives the free gift of this grace, believes this offer to be sincere, and trusts Him to keep His promises-forever.
Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher, said it best over a century ago when he wrote: “You may study, look, and meditate, but Jesus is a greater Savior than you think Him to be, even when your thoughts are at their highest.” Jesus Christ is more willing to love us, accept us, help us, and forgive us than we ourselves are. It is no wonder they call Him the Savior!
Jesus came so that we might know God personally. He suffered and died for our sins so that they might be “paid in full” (John 19:30; 1 Pet. 2:21-24). Then He rose from the dead to offer us the gift of eternal life (John 10:28). We can have that gift by receiving His gracious offer by faith. Believing in Jesus is an act of trust by which we affirm that what He did for us on the Cross is enough. On that basis, the Bible promises: “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

Introducing the Bible

Introducing the Bible

The Bible is not one book, but a collection of writings by people from many and varied backgrounds: king, priest, shepherd, tent maker, farmer, doctor, tax collector, wine taster, fisherman, prophet, prince, and more. Each writer was guided by the Holy Spirit of God, yet the individuality and character of each one is still evident. All in all, more than 40 authors were commissioned by the Holy Spirit to pen the words of Holy Scripture.

 

It is all one story however, a perfectly unified telling of the story of the Scarlet Thread of Redemption, the story about God, who loves his creation so much that he himself paid the price that would restore humanity to fellowship with God. The Old Testament looks forward to, and the New Testament centers on, the life, death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In part, it is our story- we are the Redeemed, the object of God’s love and mercy, so the Bible is our story- the story of our reconciliation to God.

 

The purpose of the Bible is to show us who God is, what God is like and what He has done. As we read its words, we understand more of what God, in His love, requires from us. Paul said, in his Epistle to the Romans, that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16) and that is both experientially and factually borne out. As we read the very words of Scripture, we find them transforming our thoughts which, in turn, transforms our behavior. We begin to think the way Christ thinks and act the way He acts

 

The Bible was written centuries ago over a long period of time by many different people from all walks of life, in a setting different from our own. It can seem difficult to understand and, admittedly, it will require work-disciplined work- to understand the message of the Scripture. When we study a portion of Scripture, we should consider the following questions”

 

  • What is the type of writing/literary genre?
  • What was the context of the writing?
  • What was the Authorial Intent?/Why was the passage written
  • What does the passage say to me? What does God expect me to do after reading the passage?

 

We will discover the joy of reading the Bible

if we read while dependent on the Holy Spirit to help us understand it if we sincerely want to know more about God and his ways if we prayerfully read it to discover its message, rather than primarily as literature or for information if we allow our reading to lead us to worship God through prayer and praise and apply what we have learnt, with God’s help, to our daily life

 

When reading a portion of Scripture, there are some “Do nots” we must not ever

 

  • take a verse or one part of Scripture out of its context
  • create an opinion based only on one verse or portion – this is the error of cults and those who want to twist the meaning for their own ends
  • Spiritualize/allegorize the meaning of the text. It means what it says
  • think of it as anything other than the word of God.

 

The Scriptures were written by real people in many real situations, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. It is alive, powerful, and able to impact our thoughts and lives for years to come (Hebrews 4:12)

 

A final thought: when you are new to the Bible, the translation you choose should be very easy to read and understand but still communicate the message of Scripture to you. There are three translations I recommend for new disciples:

 

  • Christian Standard Bible (Holman Bibles)
  • New Living Translation (Tyndale House Publishers)
  • New International Version (Biblica, Zondervan Publishers)

 

Which one to choose is entirely up to you- the best translation of the Bible is the one you can read and understand.

12 Blessings of Life Recovery

12 Blessings of Life Recovery

There are 12 gifts/blessings from God for those who are in recvoery. This lesson is excerpted from the KJV Life Recovery Bible

 

THE TWELVE GIFTS OF LIFE RECOVERY

These twelve attributes are not just results or outcomes for people in recovery, but truly gifts from God. They show that recovery doesn’t merely provide escape from a destructive problem. It also points toward the possibility of a new and exceptional life.

  1. Hope—“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5).

  1. Power—“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

  1. Character—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

  1. Clarity—“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

  1. Security—“The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23). “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

  1. Abundance—“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

  1. Wisdom—“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

  1. Self-Control—“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Romans 8:9). “But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23).”

  1. Freedom—“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

  1. Happiness—“Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight” (Psalm 119:35). “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.” (Proverbs 10:2).

  1. Serenity—“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come” (Romans 8:38).

  1. Peace—“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).”

12 Mistakes Made in Recovery (an excerpt)

12 Mistakes Made in Recovery (an excerpt)

The 12 mistakes listed below are common among people in recovery. This lesson is excerpted from the KJV Life Recovery Bible

 

THE TWELVE LAWS OF LIFE RECOVERY

These laws highlight irrefutable truths that you will discover in yourself as you experience recovery while following the Twelve Steps. They provide evidence of the progress you have made and highlight places where growth is still needed. As you experience these laws, you will find—perhaps to your surprise—that the laws of life recovery often give back what they initially seemed to take away.

  1. Powerlessness will result in STRENGTH.

We struggle with the feeling of powerlessness because it feels so much like we are helpless. But God often works healing in our lives through what to us is weakness. It is paradoxical that as we experience recovery in our lives, we will find there is great strength in recognizing our powerlessness.

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

  1. Humility will result in HONOR.

In our journey of life recovery, it is easy to take pride in the positive changes we are making in our lives. But in God’s plan, honor is not something we should seek. It is something we receive as we learn to live in humility. Humility is the path to being honored by God and by others.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)

  1. Connection will result in LOVE.”

We all long to be loved, but we overlook the fact that being loved always takes place in an emotionally connected relationship. Prior to our recovery, we lived in emotional isolation from others. But God designed us for connection—for relationship. That’s the only context in which we can experience true love.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:7-8, 11-12)

  1. Willingness will result in GROWTH.

There is the childlike part within all of us that wants to say, “I can do it on my own,” and “I can do it my way.” But true recovery in our  lives begins when we are willing to do it God’s way. That’s not easy, but without a willingness to be open to God’s plan, we will limit our growth. It all begins with a willing and open heart.

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” (Colossians 3:23)

  1. Sacrifice will result in FULFILLMENT.

Before we started on our recovery journey, it was easy to think and act as if fulfillment came from getting, or from what we owned. But again, God’s ways are mysterious and not our ways. We learn in our recovery that sacrifice—doing good and sharing with others, not getting—is the true path to fulfillment.

“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)”

  1. Faith will result in HOPE.

In God’s plan for our recovery, problems and trials are a part of the path that leads to a hope that will not disappoint us. It is all in how we handle our problems and trials. When we endure the hard stuff, we build strength of character, which then builds our faith. It is that faith which leads to a hope built on knowing we are loved by God.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

  1. Surrender will result in VICTORY.

James describes surrendering as being “easy to be intreated.” Here willingness is coupled with surrendering. When we truly surrender ourselves, we are saying to God,  “Your will, not mine.” And a truly surrendered life is a life lived out as a celebration of our victory.

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

  1. Service will result in REWARD.

Our acts of service are not to be done in order to gain a reward. They are done out of obedience to what we are learning as we are equipped to do the work of ministry. We are God’s hands, feet, and mouth. As we are faithful in our service, the reward is the peace and satisfaction that comes as the result of our obedience.

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)”

  1. Forgiveness results in FREEDOM.

We are called to be forgiving people. When we hold a grudge, we are in bondage to the person we refuse to forgive. We forget that forgiveness involves only us, and that the person we need to forgive really isn’t part of the process. So there is no real excuse for not being obedient and forgiving others as we have been forgiven by God.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

  1. Confession will result in HEALING.

You may have wondered why it is so important to confess your inventory to another person as part of your recovery. Healing comes  as a result of confessing. We experience something powerful when we confess our shortcomings and failures not only to God but also to another person.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

  1. Restitution will result in CLOSURE.

Not all acts of restitution are financial repayments, although that can be a very effective way in some circumstances to make restitution. But we need also to make restitution for emotional hurts, or for other non-financial issues. Until we explore ways to make all kinds of restitution, we will struggle with moving on and experiencing closure.

“Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.” (Numbers 5:7)

  1. Responsibility will result in SECURITY.

This is one of the most obvious results of our experiencing life recovery. We have not only made restitution; we have also begun to act responsibly in all areas of our lives. Responsibility is living up to our part of life, not blaming or expecting someone else to make up for our lack. We experience a genuine sense of security when we are doing our part—living responsibly in our everyday lives.

“And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.” (Genesis 17:9-10)”

NIV Quest Study Bible Review

NIV Quest Study Bible Review

 

 

Additional Photos

Zondervan has quite an impressive array of Bibles available in the New International Version and one of the most interesting they offer is the Quest Study Bible, the only Question and Answer based Study Bible available. The were kind enough to send me a copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and my opinions are my own.

Edition being reviewed: Black Leathersoft, Thumb- indexed. ISBN: 9780310450832

 

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Translation: As mentioned the Quest Study Bible is offered in the New International Version (NIV). NIV is one of the mediating translations currently available. Mediating translations are exactly as the name implies, in the middle of the translation spectrum, not as woodenly literal as a formal equivalence translation and not as free flowing as a dynamic equivalence translation. NIV is, statistically, the best selling English translation on the planet; outside the United States, it is THE Bible for the Anglophone Nations (KJV gives it a good run for its money, here in the States.).

Cover and Binding

This is a black leathersoft edition and I have found that Zondervan is really doing well with their imitation leather Bible covers. The imitation leather is becoming more and more convincing. I would argue that a leathersoft cover is actually preferred to a leather cover since the polymer based cover is less likely to degrade with time.

We are given a sewn binding, which not only speaks to the quality of the book but also happens to be the only acceptable choice for biding the book block.

Helps

This is the most important feature in any Study Bible so I want to call out each individual section.

Thumb-indexing

A thumb-indexed edition can be very helpuf, especially for those new to the Bible. The indexing tabs in this edition are black half-moon and eact tab contains 3 books of the Bible for rapid location of your passage.

Introductions:

The introductions present and answer 6 Questions: Why read this book? Who wrote the book? When was it written? To whom was it written? Why was it written? What should I look for in this book? These questions are foundational to the understanding of any book in Scripture; they present the cultural and historical background of the book.

Instead of an outline of the book, we receive a timeline for when the book was written. Often, Christians forget that the Bible is not presented in chronological order so the timeline help us with the understanding where the books fit together.

Question and Answer Side-bar Notes

This is the feature that gives the Quest Study Bible its name. 7,000 of the most commonly asked questions about the Bible are laid out in the sidebars along with answers which make the information easily accessible. Utilizing these Q&A notes, a Bible teacher can easily anticipate many of the questions which will be encountered and have answers ready for learners of any age or any level of proficiency.

Top Questions

The 350 most asked questions are laid out beneath the Scripture text and side bar notes. These questions provide more in-depth answers than the sidebar notes. If you were to address just one question per day, you would have grasped the answers to the most commonly asked questions about the Bible and be prepared to give an answer when asked.

Charts, Timelines, Maps

Like any good Study Bible, the Quest Study Bible offers resources for visual learners. In-text maps, charts, and timelines will help visual learners to internalize the message of the Bible including the historical and cultural contexts.

Subject Index

Any good teacher will tell you that a good subject index is vital for teaching the Bible and the one provided with the Quest Study Bible is excellent. There are two obvious routes to go with this Subject Index, teaching one specific topic at a time or utilizing the Subject Index for a topical excursus while teaching each book of the Bible. In either case, the Subject Index will be a most valuable tool.

Layout, Font, & Paper

The Quest Study Bible is laid out in single column paragraph format with the Q&A  Study Notes in the side panels. Generally, I do not care for single column formats due to readability issues. However, this edition is comparatively readable due to the enhancements of the Comfort Print Font Family.

Naturally this is a black letter edition for the text of Scripture. I realize there there are those who are devotees of red letter editions which do serve a purpose but a black letter edition is a wiser choice in a Study Bible; it makes for more ease of use when annotating, especially with colored pencil.

The paper is comparatively thin but not so thin as to have much show through or bleeding when writing.

 

Who should buy the Quest Study Bible?

The ideal choice for a user of the Quest Study Bible is the New Disciple. New believers will have many questions and the Quest Study Bible is designed to anticipate those questions and to present the answers in the most user friendly format possible.

As a Discipleship tool

If you had not considered the Quest Study Bible as a discipleship aid, you definitely need to reconsider. There is, perhaps, no Study Bible more ideally suited to one on one discipleship than the Quest Study Bible.

What’s missing?

For reasons unknown to me, the Quest Study Bible, like most of Zondervan’s offerings, lacks any real place for notes. There is an edition, exclusive to Costco, which includes a very nice journal. I would love to see more notes pages, at least 3-5 pages per book, maybe following the introduction.

 

Final Thoughts

Much like my Teacher’s Study Bible, I am already intimately familiar with the content included with the Quest Study Bible. If one bears in mind the intended audience, the Quest Study Bible is well done. I would venture to say that around 1/3 of my audience may be too advanced to benefit from the Quest Study Bible but creative teachers will find good uses for this Bible.