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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
SEEKING A PROVEN PATH
[A letter adapted to avoid names and to minister about the Scriptural way]
I can surely appreciate what you are saying about some problems and your unpleasant experiences in your church place, and it would be nice if Christians could always go on well together. Perhaps God wants to show you something better for your fellowship, and does not want you to settle down there. We surely need to find God's pathway (which is truly scriptural and what He intends for His testimony ---which is not everyplace).
God's way is the BIBLE-ONLY way, so we must not be looking at various paths men have designed. I was in a denominated sect many years ago which had some serious problems, and as I considered finding a nicer place the Lord showed me all these systems and sects of men with their innovations, are NOT His mind for the Church universal in the world. He intends we embrace "unity of the faith" as He shows in His Word (note also 1 Cor. 12:25-27). You can read more about that at the Internet site: BIBLECOUNSEL.NET, and can ask questions there.
I have come over many years to see that all religious organizations of men have a problem of hierarchy teaching what they personally choose (which is what we see in Rev. 2: 15 ---"nicolaitism": rulers over the laity); and that whether an independent gathering or a large organization across the land. Should the church be an organization of men and a gathering of convenience? Charters, creeds, doctrines, rules, innovations and religious ideas established to set the course, rather than bowing to the WORD OF GOD and the leading of the Holy Spirit, will lead one contrary to the mind of God. We should not try to improve by building on a bad foundation. There may come a time when one needs to leave it and begin to trust the Lord, wouldn't you say? That is why God gave us the priesthood of all "born again" believers (see 1 Pet. 2: 5 & 9), rather than a hierarchy of men with their various innovations and religious ideas.
As I mentioned previously, and feel led to emphasize here, one should not be looking for a better church group, but the faithful SCRIPTURAL ORDER as Bible-only, and obedience to "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). I believe God has provided the pathway. I found what I believe is the scriptural expression of the New Testament universal church which God has given, and have been happily gathered here now over many years. The saints herein universal are not perfect, and one might act in the flesh at times, but it is scriptural order and a proven pathway---found true to what many see as that testimony which God intended worldwide. Consider the following:
1. Fellowship fully in accord with church truth in the Word of God as found mostly in Acts and the Epistles;
2. Understanding church history, with conformity to that recovery and revival by God of church truth, which was AFTER the so-called Reformation period (circa 1500 AD) --the recovery which is often referred to as "the brethren movement" begun in 1827 AD in Ireland. This truth was not known after the apostolic times until God exposed the RC Religion with its tyranny, then released the Holy Scriptures to all seekers, and set forth this recovery and testimony of BIBLE-ONLY out of the various denominated sects that had formed. One should learn of this history and unity and as shown at the BIBLECOUNSEL.NET web site on the Internet.
My friend, I sincerely believe that what I am now associated with is the closest thing to the New Testament church that exists in the world, though this may sound boastful or something superior to all others. I am not speaking against individual Christians, but man-made organizations. What else can I say? There is NO "CHURCH OF YOUR CHOICE" given, as some think. Let us not be trying to re-invent the church!
I can also appreciate your family concerns and what friends might say if you left that place. A lot depends on how you handle it, and if you can help them understand that the Lord must be honored above men, as you explain some of the tenets of church truth you have learned. Your family needs to see your concern for both the family and the honor of the Lord, but in the last analysis the father must decide the spiritual course for the family. With prayer and loving care the Lord will lead you. One needs to be sure it is Bible-only in "unity of the faith" worldwide as fellowship.
If I knew where you are located, my friend, I might know of a sound assembly near you in fellowship with us. I know you would find it rewarding, for we always work to be fully in accord with the Word, not man's reasoning, and we try to stay close to our Lord, while encouraging each other on, which is as you desired. The saints gathered here may have problems and conflicts at times, because all saints everywhere have problems with their flesh, and the enemy always works to divide and scatter God's people; but there is a Godly way given to resolve matters so the testimony can continue in unity. I hope you can appreciate this.
Yes, there are Godly activities among us, which is outside the order given for the church meetings in worship, etc; (Acts 2:41-42). The saints often get together for inspirational times and singing; visitations at nursing homes or jails; summer camps; Bible conferences in various places in the world. I don't believe you or your family would be disappointed, though there would naturally be an initial adjustment to the change. I and others could help you along. Remember, brother, Godly activities are nice and helpful, but activities is not the ground of gathering. Please refer again to the papers I sent on basic church truth.
If you are too far away from an assembly to regularly attend church meetings, some saints would be glad to visit you, and the Lord may provide for you to meet in your home until the way is open to see an assembly established there-about. That is how most scriptural assemblies begin. At least you would be in the universal fellowship (as I believe all saints should be), and you would be part of a sound gathering. Remember, dear brother, the "one body in Christ" is more than just an ideal; it is a truth we need to embrace in the world for God's honor and our good.
Well, I just wanted to orient you to the possibilities, brother. I don't want to be pressing you, for it must be your conscience on it all. It seems you need to decide what you are looking for and want for the Christian life.
- Yours by grace forever, Robert DeWitt: Cd-L; 5/06
ADDENDUM 9/08: We can be thankful for every one who is sincerely seeking after God and His way, His truth, and His life (John 14:6). For some true "born again" saints who come to see the truth by the Word of God, they do not find it; for they come to the true source but they have a hindrance within. They do not accept it and begin to analyze or challenge the truth, because it does not fit their preferences and they are not ready to study the Word and bow to it.
To find God's pathway, we need to "search the Scriptures" and "pray without ceasing" as God says. God will reveal His mind to an earnest child of God. We learn from history that there is always a danger in accepting every voice and in seeking perfection in men. That will lead to confusion and errors on one hand and discouragement and failures on the other. Intellectualism, curiosity, and various opinions can lead one down a road of much inquiry to no spiritual profit. One needs to look to God; honor to the Lord Jesus, the Christ of God, and not men. - RLD