THE  NEW  BELIEVER  
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Thoughts and ministry set forth here about the Bible and Christian life.   Questions are welcome to Biblecounsel.net. All letters are held confidential.   One can use initals or a nickname if they wish.       Readers should also see ministry on other pages of the Bible Counsel site.   Send e-mail to  R. DeWitt at  aninterface@hotmail.com.
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For those undecided ones who wonder, wander, and worry….

A  TRAP!
When a religious soul turns from the Bible or changes it to suit self, he/she forms a personal religion;

When one forms a personal religion he/she changes God's ways to man's ways;

When one changes God's ways he/she serves self and pleases Satan;

When one serves self and pleases Satan he/she falls into a trap;

Don't fall into Satan's trap ---hold to the Bible and learn God's ways.  - RLD
BIBLE STUDY METHOD
1. WAY TO STUDY THE BIBLE: In the first place, if we don't study we will likely end up following after many voices to our loss and confusion. If one is a true "born again" believer in Jesus, the Christ of God (as shown in John 1; John 3; John 14; etc.), then that one needs to know the mind and ways of God.   A good way to study the Bible is to have a system.

2.  CULTIVATE A DESIRE TO HEAR GOD SPEAKING TO YOU, and desire to know His message for your life. This comes from "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), not just interpretations of a few verses. There are no contradictions in the Bible. One needs to see the harmony of Scripture, and the Holy Spirit will apply the truth of it. Do you really want to know what God thinks? Begin by prayer asking God to teach you by His Word as well as circumstances.

3.  SET A TIME DAILY OR WEEKLY;  otherwise study won't likely happen. Decide on the method and course, and prepare. Without a sound method, one will wander and misapply Scripture ---the venerable King James Version is recommended as being much depended on over 300-400 years; ask Bible Truth Publishers at Addison, IL --USA for help and a catalog (see at the Internet site: Bibletruthpublishers.com):

a)  A progressive study of the several aspects of the Bible: BIBLE GENERAL, which encompasses such as overview showing the differences in the 66 books ---as Old Testament and New Testament; and deity; creation; God dealing with mankind; the covenant with Israel; early history; etc. REDEMPTION WAY ---the coming of Israel's Messiah (which has been mostly rejected by them); the birth of the Savior in Jesus, the Christ of God for all mankind, and His ministry for eternal life and blessings in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) ---and without this, one will have no relationship with our eternal Creator-God;  CHURCH TRUTH ---as that which shows the scriptural path for the saints (sanctified ones) as in the Epistles (church letters); "unity of the faith" world-wide; the collective testimony of the redeemed souls; sharing in Bible studies; the collective Lord's Supper and His Table; fellowship universal as Bible-Only expressing the "one body in Christ"; and finally the end times prophecy, judgments and eternal destiny as Revelation shows; SPIRITUAL LIFE ---concerning our walk and conversation to honor and obey God; keep His Word; witness to all mankind in love, with prayer and communion with our Savior ---the Lord Jesus.

b) A study of topics or subjects that are essential to the believer's pathway---e.g. holiness, worship, devotion, service, trials, marriage & practical choices, etc. Choose a subject of special interest and learn about it, rather than just reason over it. Good ministry is available from the sources shown herein.

c) A study of each Book and chapter in a progressive way through the Bible: One can read a chapter, pray over it, and then read some sound ministry on it from reliable sources. Some suggest a chapter a day with much prayer. One has said: We ought to do as a cow --"eat, then pause and chew on it awhile". It is important to see that there are no contradictions in the Word of God, and verses ought to be understood first in their context. 

4.  Have a concordance available, and a good Bible dictionary. The Concise Bible Dictionary is an excellent aide (available at Bible Truth Publishers);  also,  have paper to take notes for questions and further inquiry.     -RLD. 
UNDERSTANDING  THE   GAP
 By R. L. DeWitt

[While I might be missing something here, I cannot presently support the claim of such a Gap, and suspect it, so must speak about it since it has become a prominent subject, and then leave it until further creditable evidence might be shown. In the truth and ways of God, speculation can be a dangerous thing. It is often a device of Satan to drive a wedge in the testimony and bring confusion, doubts, and divisions. There is always the danger of being much occupied with an idea and end up later allowing and promoting a contrary doctrine only of man ---may God keep us all from such.] ​ 

    Promoting a divisive theory can be harmful, so if one must speculate it needs first to be as apologetics, and certainly be in accord with "all the counsel of God", as the Apostle Paul said, and not advanced and pressed on the saints as important truth. ​ The issue here is the declaration that there is a huge GAP of time between Genesis 1:1 and verse 2 in the Bible, and all that God said in verse 1 was destroyed in the supposed interval, then begun anew. The rationale for this goes to great extremes, and borrows verses in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel to apply to this theory ---and which appears to this writer to be misapplication. One should read all of Isaiah 24 to see the full picture concerning Israel, noting the prophetic truth there yet to come in the kingdom age and what yet "shall be". Jeremiah 4:23 is used to try to prove the hypothesis, but it is clearly showing only a type of Tribulation time to come as being much LIKE the beginning in Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 7 later; and reading the whole of Jeremiah 4 one can see it speaks of the final scene (note also 2 Pet. 3 of the Day of the Lord and the Day of God), and Revelation when the wrath of God falls down on man, and then beginning of THE "NEW EARTH" thereafter (Rev. 21).

  The Scottish Theologian, Thomas Chalmers of the early 19th century, is said to have advanced the Gap Theory which some Bible teachers since have adopted. ​ Some scholars have challenged this idea to show it doesn't fit by Scripture or by present-day Geology, and is only a supposition. Atheistic Geology has advocated millions of years of existence ---along with evolution of species, but in recent times some "born again" believers in Christ who are Scientists have set forth evidence of a created earth according as God stated; and by challenges to carbon-dated methods of dating the earth; and have shown by Geology and Physics the earth is most likely about six to maybe a few more thousand years old. Papers are available for further study on this (see also the Internet site at icr.org for some science information). ​ 

  There should be no place in biblical testimony for extreme speculation over what God has written. It leads to spiritual doubts and one should not go down that road. God has given us all that we need to know without straining to promote a theory, and the so-called "Gap Theory" seems to have no real scriptural support, I see. If one tries to prove an idea by taking scripture out of context it will dishonor God, divide saints, and please Satan. That may be what has happened with that subject. One has commented that this claim originated from an attempt by some men, who believe in the atheistic philosophy of millions or billions of years of evolution, to show common ground between the Bible and science philosophies ---allowing for many ages between the two verses. ​ 

  One might choose to believe a certain thing for themselves, but if it is not essential or established truth it should always be qualified as a personal thought only (and this writing is also that). If it is shown to be true when one gets to Heaven, that is good, but the Christian assemblies here are responsible for maintaining essential truth revealed and not various ideas. ​ 

  As a personal observation one might note the simple word: AND, in Genesis 1:2 which connects the verse with Genesis 1:1 (no separation or gap period of time). Chapters and verses were added by translators and were not given by God. Verse two there is actually a continuation of what is stated in verse one. It can thus allow the bigger picture of God creating a fireball, which He cooled with vapors, wind, and water, and formed magma and a crust ---rock, soil, the mineral ground; as the covering on the surface encasing the fire, which one can see is presently beneath us on this earth. The land was formed or raised out of the water covering as God said. The earth then was clearly "without form and void", as God said. It appears He then began to form the earth, no doubt with such as volcanoes, earthquakes, wind, water, etc.; and build life with seeds for plants, and He created animals and man; and He said "it was very good". Let us be satisfied with the Word of God, and leave speculation to parlor talk.  

  I see the Lord showing us in Mk. 10:6; Lk. 1:70; Acts 3:21; etc. that man was created at the time the earth began ---like we should read in Genesis 1. There are other writings on this that can be reviewed by those who want further information, to help clarify the plain truth of the Word of God; and also valid scientific studies as noted herein.    -RLD: GB22;  2013;  add.  11/19.

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