Tag: New Testament

July 20, 2017 Melanie Newton

Select your next Joyful Walk Bible Study-MelanieNewton.com. Studies that are always relevant, never fluff.

Hey there! Welcome to part two of the 4-part “Choose a Bible Study” series. In this series, I’m showing you how to choose the next Bible Study for yourself or for your group. If you missed the first post in the series, then you best be catchin’ up. You can check that one out here.

January 31, 2017 Melanie Newton

Truth--the Prescription for Healthy Living. Dwell in truth you can know. Humbly accept the "I don't know or understand." Discern teaching through the whole lens of God's Word. melanienewton.comPicture this scenario. It’s 2 a.m. A baby is very fussy and restless. The mother awakes, goes to pick her child up out of the crib, and realizes that her infant who was healthy the day before is now burning with fever. There’s an infection in the small child’s body! The worried parent knows she must treat the infection through medicine and/or a visit to the doctor followed by rest and patiently waiting for the treatment to take hold. The baby will hopefully soon return to healthy living.

Heresy is an infection in the Body of Christ. It’s not just error; it is anti-truth! And like an infection in the human body, it always affects life so it must be addressed. Thankfully, the answer to all heresy is TRUTH! Knowing truth gives us a spiritual immune system that fights and prevents infection. That is the prescription for healthy living.

Dwell in Truth You Can Know

To "dwell" means to make your home in. It's what dominates your thoughts and attitudes, governs your life, has the most influence on you. God gives us plenty of truth in the Scriptures that we can know and trust. There are 66 books of revelation given. 1189 chapters. If we just took 1 chapter per day and wrote down all the truths about God and our relationship with Him that is revealed to us, it would take us more than 3 years to get through the whole Bible! God wants us to know the truth He has revealed. He wants us to make our home — to dwell — in that truth. It is for our own good!

Paul writes in Ephesians 1:17-19,

"I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him,—since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened—so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength." 

Look at all that God says we can KNOW. Each passage we read or study has plenty of truth that we can KNOW with certainty and allow to govern our lives. DWELL in truth you can know.

Humbly Accept the "I Don't Know or Understand"

In the midst of all those chapters are verses we just don't understand. Perhaps you don't understand it now but will in the future as you get more confident in Bible study and hear great teaching that helps you understand. But, there are things we will never know or understand.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says this,

"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law."

Notice the emphasis on the things revealed — we can KNOW them. But, there are "secret things" the Lord has not revealed yet. As we study the Bible, we can do our best to try to understand what is written—examining the original words to see what the writer meant and what the audience understood, looking at cross-references to let the Bible interpret itself, and ask the Spirit for understanding. But, you may never understand what is written. Don't let that unnerve you. DWELL in truth you can know. And, HUMBLY ACCEPT the "I don't know or understand." 

Discern Teaching through the Whole Lens of God's Word

To dwell in the truth of God's Word, we must discern what we read and hear by looking through the whole lens of God's Word. We must not extract just pieces of it and build our foundation on that. Nor should we build our faith on experiences and feelings. There’s a lot of junk out there about God. That’s why it’s so important to really get to know the God of the Bible. We will never know all there is to know about God. There’ll always be some mystery about Him. But, there’s plenty enough revealed in the Bible that we can know Him truthfully and know our identity in Christ truthfully.

The Holy Spirit uses the Scripture we read and study to teach us about our God so we can know TRUTH and DWELL in that truth.

I read an article today that emphasized the dangerous teaching that comes from picking and choosing what you consider to be "truth." "7 False Teachers in the Church Today" by Tim Challies. All these false teachers through the centuries have taken advantage of people who were not dwelling in the truth portrayed in the whole Bible. DISCERN TEACHING through the whole lens of God's Word. 

Healthy Living. A study of Colossians & Philemon. What do you do to stay away from spiritual infection? This Bible study will help you. 12 lessons. The prescription for "healthy living" is to recognize any infection and give it up to accept the truth about Christ presented in God's Word. Resources for Healthy Living

The book of Colossians is all about what believers can know about Christ that is true. The book of Romans and Ephesians clearly teaches what we can know about our relationship with God as believers that is true. Here are two Bible studies that will help you to get firmly entrenched in truth you can know so that you can dwell there and stay spiritually healthy.

 

You can listen to this audio message about infection regarding who Jesus is and the truth that contradicts it. Download the notes here.

The prescription for healthy living for your spiritual life is truth.

•  Dwell in truth you can know.

•  Humbly accept the "I don't know or understand."

• Discern teaching through the whole lens of God's Word

This what I have been doing for more than 40 years. Thank you, God, that you have revealed many truths about yourself and the Christian life for me to know with certainty so that I can DWELL IN TRUTH I CAN KNOW! 

 


Bible Study Leadership Made Easy. Learning to lead with confidence & grace. An online course at MelanieNewton.com.

January 17, 2017 Melanie Newton

When was the last time you really studied the book of Acts in the Bible? Or, have you ever really studied it? Perhaps you have shied away from it because it happened so long ago or has controversial issues in it. Whatever has kept you from studying Acts in the past, forget that! Here are 3 reasons you should study Acts right now in your life. Ready?

1.  You Need Spiritual Adventure? Begin with Acts

The book of Acts is a fast-paced, action adventure book that chronicles the birth and growth of the early church from the Jewish center of Jerusalem to the Gentile nations surrounding her. Acts is a book of history, for sure. But, it’s not a complete history of the early church or the apostles but rather a book that selectively gives the history of early Christianity. Acts is a book of theology where you see the work of the Holy Spirit—theology being lived out, evidence for the inspiration of scripture, the gospel message taught from the very beginning never changed. Acts is also a book of biography—mainly viewing the fire of the Spirit erupting in the lives of Peter and Paul but also every other person whose life was touched by the Spirit and changed forever. And, Acts is a book about human relationships influenced by the transforming fire power of the Spirit. Conflicts occur and are resolved, friendships are made and tested, old prejudices surface and are removed, persecutions are shared, hospitality is extended, generosity is displayed, and opportunity taken to share the gospel with whomever would listen. Men and women got fired up and not only ready for adventure but living it. Never a dull moment! Are you ready for adventure?

2.  IF:Gathering 2017 Focuses on Acts

This year, the speakers at this hugely popular, worldwide, annual event will focus on Acts. Here’s the website description: “At IF:Gathering 2017, we’ll look at one of the most influential generations that have ever lived — the early church. The way God moved through them was simple and pure. We believe they are the model we need right now. Our dream is that we would experience the power of God as He does big things through simple acts of faith. That we live unified, surrendered to God, not just in our minds and in our theology, but also in our daily lives. Our hope is that we would participate with the Spirit of God and see Him go forth in our generation in a most powerful way.” That makes you want to do the same, doesn’t it? So, start studying Acts now to get ready for it. Then, join in on February 3-4, 2017 to enjoy the application.

3. To Connect with Your Spiritual Heritage through Acts

When you study Acts, you will not only gain a better understanding of what the Holy Spirit chose to include in the Bible for you, but you will also gain a connection and appreciation for those who obeyed Jesus by spreading the gospel everywhere they went to people like you who never saw Jesus face-to-face but learned to believe in Him as Savior and Lord. That gospel sharing carried on throughout 2000 years over multiple continents to reach that one person who shared Jesus with you so that you could also believe. People who, in their everyday lives, were making disciples who made disciples who made disciples. And, you have now received the benefit of that disciple making.

 How a Study of Acts Enriched My Life

Several years ago, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, and it didn’t look like he would make it very long. I started reading Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala and preparing a Bible study on the book of Acts for our women’s ministry. Both of these gave me the encouragement to ask God for another year for my father, which the Lord graciously granted me. And, as our Bible study team worked on this study, we were reminded that one of the biblical symbols for the Holy Spirit is “fire.” The vision that came to my mind was that of a volcano. Just as fiery lava and ash erupt from a volcano and flow out to build new land, the Holy Spirit’s fire in the book of Acts erupts through the lives of believers to build Christ’s Church. So we put a volcano on the cover of the study book.  We named the study Radical Acts because “radical” means “having a profound or far-reaching effect.” That certainly describes the Holy Spirit! Through the Spirit’s transforming power in our lives, He changes the world immeasurably and irreversibly. I’d say that is pretty radical! Radical Acts is available as a free download on my website, as an online study on bible.org, and as a published book.

Listen to the audio “Introduction” to this study and get inspired to study Acts.

 

Here’s another good study of Acts by a friend of mine, Dr. Sue Edwards, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. You can access her study Acts of the Holy Spirit online at bible.org. This one has 24 lessons.

“Acts is a tribute to the transforming power of God, as evidenced in the Apostles’ lives. Observing the changes in their lives from fearful weaklings to irrepressible dynamos gives us hope and encouragement today.” (Sue Edwards, Acts of the Holy Spirit, p. 2)

Happy studying!


Bible Study Leadership Made Easy. Learning to lead with confidence & grace. An online course at MelanieNewton.com.