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 A CENTER CIRCLE      

DO THE READERS KNOW of those believers in Christ holding that recovery of church truth in AD 1827--- endeavoring to continue the expression of the "one body in Christ" worldwide in the scriptural order, as intend -
ed by God for "unity of the faith"----rather than independency, mergers, and sectar-ianism?   Does one want to know?  Such a fellowship does exist today.  SEE THE SITE 
MANAGER for a brief history.
Some thoughts here especially for the faithful saints who value Bible-only , who earnestly desire to be faithful to our Lord and His Word (Mt.18:20; Acts 20:27).  See also other pages listed below for some thoughts.   Write to the Site Manager if one has questions or comments.   
-  Bible Counsel:  Feature Page 13
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NOTE:  For the faithful gathered saints already in a scriptural assembly who would like to review related papers on our path,  they may write for copies of papers.   Contact Site Manager with any questions.  

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CHRIST IS THE CENTER 
OF GATHERING

If the "Kingdom of Heaven" is like an OUTER CIRCLE of profession and honor to God and His ways, as we understand, and the "Kingdom of God" is like an INNER CIRCLE of posses-sion of Christ and the "new birth", then we might well look for a CENTER CIRCLE with-in of believers gathered around Christ and His Word for obedience and submission.  

This page speaks to those who value the fol-lowing G.R.E.A.T.W.A.Y:  Gathering with other saints to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone in love;  Receiving "all the counsel of God" and "rightly dividing the Word of Truth";  Expressing the "one body" of Christ in  the world;  Acknowledging the "priesthood" of all believers;  Trusting the Lord and keeping His Word;  Worshipping in devotion as pleases God;  Appreciating  God's assembly, order, and government;  Yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In anticipation of those who might have some objections, one ought to say: no one should  presume to boast of being in a center circle;  nevertheless, it remains and that should be the object and desire of faithful saints.

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WILL YOUR ANCHOR HOLD?

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain"

We have an Anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's Love.
Etc.
- Echoes Of Grace Hymns -
UNDERSTANDING GOD’S WORD
VIEWING BIBLE MINISTRY: HISTORY; REDEMPTION; THE CHURCH; 
AND THE SAINTS

[It is important to see the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament in the Holy Bible, as explained herein. We should see there are three kinds of people in the world recognized by God ---not speaking of races, nationalities, etc.:  
A. the Israelites ---mostly called Jews today (the blessed tribe of Judah), and they are those remnants of the scattered and covenant twelve tribes of God; also:  
B. the Gentiles ---the genus of all other souls; and:  
C. the Church of God ---the "Bride" of Christ as established in Acts and the Epistles, and are holy and sanctified souls being from both Israelites and Gentiles.  

The Authorized King James Version is highly recommended in this paper as the most dependable Bible source, having been studied and examined over 300-400 years by scholars and approved as sound and reliable, though not claiming perfection; and some editions such as the Scofield Reference Edition of KJV helps much with a few corrections, understandings, and some commentaries, without changing the main text of KJV. It is important to appreciate that men are not perfect, so there is bound to be some errors in all Bible versions. GROSS ERRORS occur when essential wording is changed or deleted. In one modern version the name of Jesus was removed in many places.]

  A sound understanding of God’s Word is more than reading the Bible. One needs to pray and study "all the counsel of God", as He shows us, and be "rightly dividing the Word of Truth". The Bible is often named in the holy Scriptures as "The Word", "Word of God", "Word of Truth", "all the counsel of God", etc.

  The Bible is much about the mind, ways, and purposes of God through the factual record and principles (truths) shown therein. Together we have the “Word Of Truth”. This is to say: truth is found in several separate verses or messages working together, which give the overall picture, and individual verses will show part or facts of the matter ---e.g. “ye must be born again” (John 3:7). The new birth is referenced there in part, but does not explain the full truth of it. We then should learn the principle of this spiritual birth by other verses of the New Testament. All understanding must begin with the new birth as shown quite well in the Gospel by John, and appreciated much by reading the book of Romans for new seekers.

  Often we see conflicting views and understandings of God's Book. That cannot be helpful to seekers of truth, nor pleasing to God, who wants His saints to know His mind and be in conformity to Him; That is why Bible studies in scriptural assemblies are important, that all might share what they have gleaned and been taught, and hear what elder Bible teachers can offer, rather than only hear a novice or one man’s views. As the Word of God has been ministered down through history, we can have the benefit of much proven studies to compare and see, and learn to esteem Bible-only as our authority for truth. This is also why it is important to be associated with a sound Bible-centered gathering, rather than following rituals, some traditional or popular and entertaining religious group. Faithful believers in Christ are those saints who highly esteem sound renderings of His Word.

  The Old Testament saints did not have the full Word of God, and there were both the earliest servant-teachers: --Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, etc.; and the later servants --Israel, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, etc. The New Testament is about the Redeemer --the Lord Jesus Christ; and His Apostles and the church ---His Bride. We don't take our teaching from the OT, yet value the history of creation and God's dealings with mankind, His covenant earthly people of Israel, and the fore-shadowing of the salvation in God's Son ---the Lord Jesus (Israel's Messiah, which they mostly reject today). 
Double click here to add text.
  Essentially, the Old Testament shows the beginnings and history of God's dealings with man, and it points forward with types fore-shadowing His "great salvation" in His beloved Son with the real sacrifice for sin. We need to see that the OT is the foundation for the NT, and the church is given in the NT as a new dispensation (age) of God for a heavenly "bride" for Christ, rather than the religion given for Israel in this world. It thus shows provision for all mankind ---both in the age of OT, and today in the NT. We know God intended to have an earthly people and a heavenly people for eternity, after the trials of life on earth, and both by faith and trust in God. Today, all we have is the universal Church for hope with Christ.  

- The Value Of Scripture -
  It is important to be “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” as God says, and there is a tendency of some Christians to misapply verses and scramble scripture. There is a danger of new Christians to minimize the Word that God has ministered to us, and then listen to popular and charismatic men, who also do not engage in comparative studies, nor value God’s servants who are Bible scholars ---those who have ministered faithfully down through history. 

Much of the reason for the variances in understandings is found in several things:  
A. Not yet being a sincere seeker after the full truth, whether a new believer or a non-believer;  
B. One not willing to set aside their traditions and ideas and bow to God’s Word alone;  
C. An apostate who intends to deceive and imitate Christianity for gain.

1. Some professing Christians are yet natural men in the flesh, and being ignorant have only a casual interest in spiritual things, and are impressed with some of the teachings of Jesus, but are not possessors of Christ; and they do not know Him and are not yet "born again" by the Holy Spirit, so their understandings and comments are limited to their reasoning. They are somewhat religious, but without Christ (as John 14:6) and thus are not saints of God. They should at least be welcome to come to the meetings and hear the Gospel message and learn.

2. Some visitors come to sound church meetings for family sake and the invitation of friends, and they are really agnostics, and have little or no conviction and personal desire to know and worship God through His beloved Son. Certainly all visitors should be welcome to "come and see" as Jesus said (John 1:38-39), but their motives and ideas must be discerned in time. 

3. Some of the empty professors just see the church as a place for status as a good religious person in the community, for conscience sake or for career or social advantage --such as becoming a clergy man, or doing humanitarian works, or for social change, or meeting people for job and business prospects, finding a spouse, etc. This is quite acceptable in some religious organizations, but responsible elders in a Godly assembly need to be watchful and discern the spiritual motives of visitors, before accepting one into the holiness of the inner circle of fellowship, at the Lord's table and to participate.  

4. Even real believers who have received the Lord Jesus into their heart as the Christ of God, and are devoted to Him, have conflicts and different understandings with many others. We all are somewhat limited. Carnal saints have personal preferences, which causes them to neglect, overlook, or minimize what God is saying. Some of these are still novices and are honestly ignorant of Scripture, rather than being rebellious. God says there is "the room (place) of the unlearned" as visitors.

5. There are, of course, apostates, as God speaks of in the Epistles, who are those religious type people who make a pretense of believing to gain acceptance, and are devious tools of Satan to pervert and corrupt the testimony for gain. They often become preachers and leaders with various titles in various church groups as the saints fail to discern what is true.

Let us look at how an earnest one can study the Word of God and be embracing "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) as we are told, and be "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" (2 Tim. 2:15-16), as God says. Here are some sources this writer has confidence in:  

A. Our source of information should first be the Holy Bible; and a proper translation and version of the Bible should be one that does not minimize what God emphasizes, or deletes verses not popular, or makes an interpretation to please people and misses the mind of God, etc. The writer here likes the Authorized (King James) Version, which has stood the purifying test of time; and the Old Scofield Edition of KJV, with good commentaries as a study Bible without changing the original text. One or two others are also helpful for cross-references like the dependable JND New Translation. It is important to recognize that man is not perfect, and will make a few errors even in the best effort. Other papers are available to show the importance and value of a good Bible for group studies. This writer prefers Bible Truth Publishers in Addison, IL as a source of dependable books and writings.

B. Every sincere seeker should be associated with a Bible-only fellowship, and it helps to have good Bible reference books and sources:
- Concise Bible Dictionary, available from Bible Truth Publishers, is an excellent source and help in finding meanings; and some other such books there are also good;
- Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, also available at BTP, is a favorite, but there are a few others which are also good;
- Believer's Bible Commentary, by W. MacDonald, gives some helpful thoughts on each verse of Scripture from various sources for comparisions;
- Publishing Houses & Book Stores that are proven reliable by Bible teachers (such as BTP) down through the years, are the best way to avoid poor counsel by various writers on religion; and some book stores are associated with unscriptural and sectarian church groups;
- Bible Teachers & Writers should only be trusted who have been known to be accepted through many years as consistently faithful and conformed to the Word of God. One can find a listing of these at Bible Truth Publishers.

New believers in Christ ought to learn an overview of the Bible before they begin regular readings, and seekers after God need to first see the message of salvation as in John 1; John 3; John 14 for a good foundation. Too often one will pick up a Bible and start reading in Genesis and cannot comprehend it and then get discouraged. A good source for a general overview and to ask questions is at the Internet site: www.biblecounsel.net or biblecounsel.homestead.com.

 After one is grounded in the general ministry of each of the sixty-six Bible books, they can profit from more advanced studies of how they are inter-related to provide the overall ministry provided us.        – R. DeWitt - GB15: 08/2011; add. 04/2021. 

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