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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Study of the Old Testament is Profitable

Old TestamentI am often frustrated with myself for not spending as much time studying the Old Testament as I believe I should. After having read the Old Testament through several times, I still find that most of the time I spend there is in Psalm and Proverbs. When looking at the books of the Old Testament for study, it is good to remember the words of Paul:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV)

The Apostle was speaking of the Old Testament scriptures when he spoke of “profitable for teaching” in the above verses. The Old Testament, Paul said, was “breathed out by God” and would make the man of God “complete, equipped for every good work.” Contrary to some contemporary Christian fads that tend to ignore it – the Old Testament will “make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The Old Testament (OT) is a very valuable sacred writing authored by God the Holy Spirit to help us know Jesus Christ and live righteously.

The OT provides us with important knowledge of the nature of sin and the fall of man. There we find the ongoing revelation of God’s covenant of redemption and the Messianic prophecies. The OT helps us to understand the New Testament.

“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11 ESV) Paul discussed in the previous verses the fall of Israel in the wilderness. He notes that although these things happened to Israel, “they were written down for our instruction”. Consider – the OT was written for our instruction. Do you complain when your pastor preaches from the OT? When was the last time you read the OT? “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching. . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV) The Scriptures are not simply the words or thoughts of mere men, they are from God who guided men by His Spirit. The Scriptures are profitable. You must know the truth to be convinced of error, and to do what is right. It is wise to be concerned about your salvation. Look at these verses and let them inspire you to study the Word of God which is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:15-17 ESV)

The source for the following story escapes me, but I think it brings us to an appropriate conclusion of this article: There was a prophet of God who told his disciples that if they studied the Scriptures, the words would be written on their hearts. One day, a disciple asked, “Why on our hearts, and not in them?” The prophet thoughtfully replied, “Only God can put Scripture inside. But the careful study and reading of God’s Word can put it on your heart, and then when your heart breaks, the Holy Words will fall inside.”

Samuel at Gilgal

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Jacob’s Ladder

R. C. Sproul:

“Jacob’s Ladder represents a bridge between Jacob’s secular mindset to make it in this world and the reality of Heavenly things.” (The Holiness of God)

All Scripture is Profitable

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV)

Paul clearly had the Old Testament scriptures in view when he spoke of “profitable for teaching” in the above verses. The Old Testament, he said, was “breathed out by God” and would make the man of God “complete, equipped for every good work.” Contrary to many popular, contemporary Christian ideas – the Old Testament will “make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The Old Testament (OT), in other words, is a very valuable document authored by God to help us know Jesus Christ and live righteously.

We look to the OT to provide us with understanding of the nature of sin and the fall of man. We find there the ongoing revelation of God’s covenant of redemption and the Messianic prophecies. Only knowledge of the OT can help us understand such New Testament books as Hebrews and Revelation.

“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11 ESV) Paul has just discussed in the previous verses the fall of Israel in the wilderness. Now he notes that although these things happened to Israel, “they were written down for our instruction”. Think about that. The OT was written for our instruction. Do you complain when your pastor preaches from the OT? When was the last time you read from the OT?

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching. . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV) The Scriptures are not simply the words or thoughts of mere men, but of God who guided men by His Spirit. The Scriptures are truly profitable. A man must know the truth in order to be convinced of his error, and to do what is right.

Is it not wise to be concerned about your salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? Look at these verses and be inspired by the Scriptures. Study the Word of God which is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:15-17 ESV)

I cannot remember the source for the following story, but I think it brings us to an appropriate conclusion of this article: There was a great prophet of God who told his disciples that if they studied the Scriptures, the words would be written on their hearts. One day, a disciple asked, “Why on our hearts, and not in them?” The prophet thoughtfully replied, “Only God can put Scripture inside. But the careful study and reading of God’s Word can put it on your heart, and then when your heart breaks, the Holy Words will fall inside.”

The Seal of Baruch

Archaeology and the Bible:

In 1986, scholars identified an ancient seal belonging to Baruch, son of Neriah, a scribe who recorded the prophecies of Jeremiah.

“The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a book at the dictation of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah. . . .” (Jeremiah 45:1 ESV)

The Marcionite Heresy

Heresy and the Church:

Marcion was born around the year 85. He traveled to Rome around 135 A.D. where he became known in the church and began to teach. He thought there were huge differences between the God revealed in the Old Testament (OT) and the God found in the New Testament (NT). He decided to reject the God of the OT because he believed Him to be an evil craftsman who created an evil world. Marcion put together his own bible, excluding the OT, and including only Paul’s letters and Luke’s gospel. He excluded a few parts of Paul’s letters where Paul refers to the OT and references to hell and/or judgment. Marcion’s unorthodox canon forced the church fathers to begin naming the accepted documents. Marcionite churches spread throughout the Roman world until the beginning of the fourth century.

“And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:19 ESV)

Joseph’s Price as a Slave

Archaeology and the Bible:

Joseph‘s price as a slave was 20 shekels (Genesis 37:28), which, according to trade tablets from that period is the correct price for 1,700 B.C. An earlier account would have been cheaper, while a later account would have been more expensive.

Evidence Supporting Jeremiah

Archaeology and the Bible:

In 2005, a Hebrew University archaeologist uncovered a clay seal dated from about 580 BC bearing the name Yehuchal ben-Shelemayahu, who is identified as a royal envoy and court minister sent by King Zedekiah to the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 37 and 38).

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