Thursday, January 14, 2016

Part 2. A Lamp –The Light Shines in Darkness (6)

Part 2. A Lamp –The Light Shines in Darkness (6)          
We continue with RiSiKiLi−
              God’s Word − Read it, Study it, Know it, Live it.    

Today I want to resume looking at the value of God’s Word, picking up where I left of in my October 27, 2015 post. Today’s post is part 6 as we consider our Bibles being like a lamp, helping us find our way through a dark and treacherous world.
We ended Part 5 looking at Paul’s instructions to his young protégé, Timothy. As you read the following passage, imagine that Paul is talking to you and me. Here we have a good example of God’s Word instructing us through everyday life—as a lamp lighting the way. Also, take note of the term “word of truth.” We can think of our Bibles as The Word of Truth. Paul said,
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. 18 They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith.
19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.” 2 Timothy 2:15-19 NLT
This passage, verse 15 in particular, should be especially meaningful to anyone God calls to be a teacher. For the teacher, this verse contains the heart of his or her ministry gift. All believers are to study and understand God’s Word, but the teacher will be held to a higher level of accountability in this regard. Teaching the Holy Scriptures to others is a high privilege and a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly.
But this does not let those, without the teacher gift/calling, off the hook, because every person has a teacher type influence on someone−our own family members as well as those we encounter in the market place.
Continuing at verse 16, Paul instructs that we should “avoid worthless, foolish talk.” The New International Version says, “Avoid godless chatter” –the New King James Version, “profane and idle babblings.” Instead we should adhere to the Word of Truth. 
How can we do so if we don’t know what is the Word of Truth? Here’s a simplistic example: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” It seems that a number of people have been told, and believe, that those words are Scripture.  Though good hygiene is a desirable thing, this is not a quote from the Bible. Believing that it is, reflects ignorance of God’s Word.
Here are Jack Hayford comments on 2 Timothy 2:15: “The Bible−God’s inspired Word−is the only conclusive source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding concerning ultimate realities. It is a fountainhead of freeing truth (John 8:32) and a gold mine of practical principles (Ps. 19:10), waiting to liberate and/or enrich the person who will pursue its truth and wealth.  Thus, Paul’s instruction to “be diligent … a worker” has been applied by serious Christians through the centuries as a directive to study the Word of God. The only way to healthy, balanced living is through the ‘rightly dividing’ (Greek orthotomounta, literally, ‘cutting straight’) of God’s Word. Such correct, straight-on application of God’s Word is the result of diligent study. The test calls us beyond casual approaches to the Scriptures, telling us to refuse to suit the Bible to our own convenience or ideology.”
“In his earlier words (I Tim. 4:13) Paul also told Timothy, ‘Give attention to reading [God’s Word],’ but now he emphasizes studying like a ‘worker’ (from Greek ergon—‘toil, effort’).  Ps. 119:11 urges memorizing of the Word of God as a mighty deterrent against sin. Memorizing the Scripture also provides an immediate availability of God’s ‘words’ as a sword, ready in witnessing and effective in spiritual warfare (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17). (Is. 55:10, 11/ 2 Tim.3:16).”  Jack Hayford, Spirit Filled Life Bible, Kingdom Dynamics, p 1854.
In writing his epistle to Timothy, Paul was keenly aware that Timothy needed to study and know God’s Word in order to minister to others and to stand firm against unrighteous temptations and behaviors (2 Timothy 2:22-26). It was imperative that Timothy have this divine illumination guiding his personal life and his ministry. He needed to teach these same principles to others and set a good example, even as a young man. Paul instructed Timothy in effective servant leadership, knowing that this was the example set by Christ, Himself.
Truth is found in the Word of God and knowledge of God’s Word will help us stay on God’s virtuous path, illuminating the way, helping us recognize and avoid snares of the devil. As I said in an earlier post the devil, has a plan, or we may call it a plot, for our lives. But following the ways of our Lord, as clearly defined in His Word, will help us avoid his snares and even captivity.    
Have you devised a Bible reading/study plan for this New Year? If you want to do so and don’t know where to start, you might learn Jesus. Begin reading the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—then on to Acts. In addition to that, try to read through the book of Proverbs. It has 31 chapters. If you read a chapter a day, you’ve read the whole thing in a month. You might find it stimulating to repeat that each month or every other month.
On the Internet, Bible Gateway has several Bible reading plans you can take a look at>
No matter the plan you choose, start now. It’s okay to start small, but let it be today. One more thing, PRAY—ask God to help you focus and lead you in His Book. You will be causing Him to smile. Go ahead, smile back.
I pray God will bless you richly as you get to know Him better through His Word.

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