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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 email@example.com.
- Bible Counsel - Feature Page 3
For those undecided ones who wonder, wander, and worry….
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.
W.O.T.S. BIBLE STUDY
Introduction here to the free W.O.T.S. Bible study, and if a seeker is interested it can be sent in parts. Any questions will be responded to as soon as possible. It is hoped the reader will benefit from these papers, which are not just some general ideas, but verified ministry from "all the counsel of God" and "rightly dividing the Word of Truth", as God has stated. Please feel free to respond to this ministry with any questions or thoughts to this writer to be of help. Seekers should read their Bible with much prayer to God as to each thought expressed, and it is hoped it will prove profitable. Further Bible ministry can be studied monthly at the Internet site: www.biblecounsel.homestead.com. Please advise if the seeker would like to have this free WORD OF TRUTH STUDY sent. Keep looking up, for God cares always! - By R. DeWitt: GB40; 2005; add 4/2020
ERRORS, EXTREMES & EVILS
Thoughts For Meditation
Saints of God might well speak warnings about spiritual errors, extremes, and against evil, and then go on with the truth in God as He has shown us in His immutable Word, which is a right spirit. Believers in the Lord Jesus, the Christ, should not quarrel with non-believers, and even those who choose to go forth and establish a man-made religion and gather a following, for the Christian calling is not to fight against all the wrongs and evils in the world ---our Creator-God will deal with that in time; though one might well speak a caution to some.
Everything outside of God is darkness and sin (note the Epistle 1 Jn.5:19) ---about the realm of Satan (see also Matthew 13:19; Epistles 2Cor. 4:4; 1Th. 2:18; 1Pet. 5:8; etc.); and it is also noteworthy that there is a distinction between evil and wickedness before God (note Eccl. 8:11-13) ---the former being bad and spiritually wrong, and the latter speaks of rebellion, injury and much harm.
True "born again" believers (John 3; John 14; Epistle1 Jn. 4; and 1 Jn. 5:10-12) are called to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, keep God's Word, walk in His ways, honor Him, show the love of God, witness to truth and hold it; and preach the gospel message of hope. Errors and failure in the flesh is normally between that one and God --when not being within a scriptural assembly, and not thus affecting the saints and collective testimony therein. The few within a Christian fellowship that might choose extremes and be dishonoring to the Lord, must be spoken to for correction, since there is hope for change (Matt. 13:27-30), but any wicked and harmful ways must be silenced and soon put out, for the holiness of the Lord's table must be defended (1 Cor. 5:11-13).
Some extremes are just errors, and some is evil and the beginning of apostasy: i.e. denial of truth, corrupting, and falling away ---being those who are imitators of Christianity for gain (which is truly becoming also even wickedness), and may promote elitism to gain control of a Christian fellowship; and some evil is by believers therein who are just carnal (worldly). It all may descend into wickedness if not addressed by responsible Elders (see Gal. 5:9). It is important to identify and deal with any evil to the extent that it might be found or coming within a sound assembly (as noted in Matt. 18:15-17), which dishonors God and becomes a discouragement, divisive, and a snare to seekers after the truth and pathway of God. Thus we see a need to define extremism and elitism lest it come within. Such proponents are usually known "by their fruits" (Matt.7:15-20) ---and their manner can also be most pleasant while they deceive.
Going to extremes with God's testimony, is mostly the result of not holding Christian balance in the Word, and a wrong spirit; and is often the flesh advocating for some personal interpretation of Holy Scripture. In time it is found in looseness and liberality on one hand, or in legalism and leanness on the other, beside the Apostates who are agents of Satan to imitate the truth for personal gain. It is bound to cause trouble in the assembly of saints, and is certainly standing on the wrong ground. We need to always take "...all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) and be always "...rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
One of the notable things about legalism as a doctrine or practice, is often seen as the emphasis on Old Testament for the lessons. There seems to be doctrine thus set forth more from the OT with similarities pointed out in the NT, rather than lessons and instruction from the New Testament and ONLY similarities and types referenced in the OT. In times of old God was giving pictures and pointing forward to the coming of hope in His Son. Christ is where the Church is found, and is our hope and direction by grace, instruction, and the leading of the Spirit; not by laws and rules, and perfectionism. We should expect to see the love of God ministered, Jesus Christ as our hope and example, instruction for God's testimony, and warnings as in the Epistles; and the working of the Holy Spirit within all saints to bind us together in happy fellowship in truth in the Church.
Liberalism as an extreme is often an emphasis on accommodating all professing Christians, without discernment and expectation of devotion to Christ and highly esteeming His Word. Christ can thus easily become a secondary consideration, and holiness thus given a vague reference. Being happy, sociable, and entertaining is more the primary thought in that line or practice ---though this condition is desirable to the otherwise known faithful saints.
The thought of fundamentalism and 'elitism' within the church speaks of that legal spirit of setting apart some Christians as rulers over all others, and viewing them as superior, all-knowing and better than others. It denies the Spirit and truth of Bible-only and liberty of the Holy Spirit. These rulers dominate and control the lives and beliefs of their followers, and may demand perfection in all works, dictate conscience; and it disallows the truth of the priesthood of all believers (note 1 Pet. 2: 5 & 9). It goes even further than the common practice of appointing Preachers and Leaders as in various denominations (which is also wrong).
An example of elitism is found in religious organizations that have become exclusive of all thought outside their doctrines. Many dear souls who are among those sects have no understanding of how it began and what it is, and after being enticed to come into it have become bound to it ---not by faith, peace, liberty and joy in the Lord, but by rules and fear and guilt of obligation. One can read more on these sects in various papers in the Christian Counsel Collection at the Biblecounsel.net web site It is amazing how Christians will look at a man with some talent to be their leader, rather than the Word of God, His glory, and the Priesthood of all believers. We have known of some of those religious types. That is much the same problem saints endured during the Middle Ages under bondage to the RC Religion.
We who have endeavored to hold fast and appreciate that good work of God, in the recovery of Church Truth from that time of revival in 1827 AD, need to exercise care to not allow extremes and this legal heresy of "elitism" ---with control of the saints by ones coming in among us, to pollute the holiness of the Lord's table and testimony. It doesn't identify itself as elitism, but follows that same line of rules and control over the saints by exalting some men in God's assembly. It tends to rate and categorize brethren as to their "spiritual fitness" ---as they are heard to say, and establish a hierarchy of special elite ones to rule, and minimizes all others to be obedient followers. That is all apart from what God has established as Godly and experienced Elders (overseers) to guide and maintain God's testimony as our holy "Word of Truth" provides. If such self-exalted ones are found present in an assembly, then they need to be identified and disciplined before much harm is done.
Well, may such thoughts prove helpful for saints of God to go on well and to the honor and the glory of God to speak peace, love, and faithfulness, and value Bible-only. - R.L.DeWitt: CM28; 07/2008; add 08/2020.