Posts Tagged ‘bible study’

Sadly, Many Professing Christians Have Never Seen the Need to Read their Bibles Through

January 9, 2019

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Sadly many have never actually read the Bible in its entirety, even though they would claim to have known the Lord for a very long time. “I just read bits and pieces of it every day,” someone told me once. Some also cling to certain doctrines because “their minister/pastor said so,” without reading the relevant verses prayerfully in the Word for themselves and continuing to pray fervently about the matter. It never ceases to amaze me how someone can leave a system like Roman Catholicism where personal Bible study is not encouraged and people follow a priest (and the oracles of the church) blindly – and then continue to follow the words of a pastor blindly, without studying the scriptures for themselves.

I have also been dismayed in recent times to note how many in a congregation will absorb and believe everything that is said in the pulpit. Unlike the believers in Berea who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so,” (Acts 17v11) they accept every word without question.

I was at a conference in recent years where the speaker made some comment which was totally unscriptural. Glancing around the congregation in shock I could see that some were half asleep but no one raised an eyebrow or even seemed to notice what he had just said.

And how can we challenge or be a witness to those with false doctrines and those who are involved in cults if we are not familiar with the scriptures which clearly show basic truths such as the deity of Christ?

If someone loved you enough to actually give His only Son to die for you, would you not read all of the inspired letter that He had penned for you? Men have their own interpretations and ideas but only those humble souls who walk closely with the Lord will preach the truth in its entirety.

Admittedly the Bible is a very “long letter” – so long that it takes most people an entire year and more to get through it. Many take much longer, as they study, meditate, take notes and sometimes the Lord leads them to write something based on the scripture they have just read. This Great Book, containing many books should be the Christian’s guiding influence in all decisions he or she makes and in the very manner of their lives. I heard a pastor once say: “I’ve started a Bible study here as many people believe certain things – but they don’t know why they believe them, so maybe this should clarify matters.”

That worried me too, to be frank; do they believe something just because he has spoken it from the pulpit? If they cannot (like the Christians in Berea) see it for themselves in scriptures as they read prayerfully – this is dangerous.

I remember well my first little Bible. I had asked for it as one of my presents approaching the Christmas of 1977. At the time I wasn’t even a Christian but I had just read Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and I felt that I must read the Bible for its “literary value.” Little did I know that some months later, in August 1978, I would come under such strong conviction of sin, that this volume would change the direction of my life forever!

I have a large print Bible now for my study at home and a smaller Bible which I take to Christian meetings/churches where hopefully the truth will be preached, although those places are becoming fewer and fewer… “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1John 4v1)

There is an unparalleled joy in discovering something new in the scriptures every time we read through them. Really, I believe that our own personal quiet time and study of the Lord’s Word is much more important and crucial to the Christian’s growth than a communal Bible study.

And so my first little Bible (which is falling apart) is now contained in the gift box that my mother gave me all those years ago. One day far beyond earth’s clouds I’ll meet her, hug her and thank her for her love to me, for throughout many rolling years since I received this precious gift in December 1977, I have turned to it in times of bereavement, distress and yes, great joy. Now, my big print Bible means everything to me too.

On the inside I have scribbled a simple little rhythm from the heart, a poignant reminder of a tough time in my life…

I love to lean upon my Lord,

I have no help but Him,

And when I read His lovely Word,

My earthly fears grow dim.

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” (Acts 17v10-12)

Jesus said: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5v39)

 

“Reading the Bible Together” – The Cooneyites Advertise in Local Newspapers

October 29, 2013

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Just last week I noticed this small advertisement in our local free newspaper: “Reading the Bible Together. Anyone interested please contact… (telephone number)”

After reading this, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to ring the phone number in the advertisement. The lady who replied was most polite and friendly but very reluctant indeed to tell me with whom she was associated. Having discovered that I preferred the Authorised Version of the Bible and the old hymns, she whole-heartedly agreed with me, telling me about where their weekly Bible study was held. After giving me an invitation to come along, I discovered that it is held in a parish community centre in the town.

At this point I was still curious about her background. I told her of my own experience and of how I had come to ask the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart around 35 years ago. After that there was an awkward silence and I instinctively knew that the lady did not regard this wonderful change in my life as something to rejoice about. On the contrary I had the distinct impression that she did not think that it was valid at all.

“Yes, well, about our Bible Study…” she went on, completely ignoring the simplicity and the wonder of something which meant more than life itself to me. A true Christian, on the other hand, would have immediately warmed to this reference to my testimony and denominational differences would have melted into insignificance as we would go on to testify of our love for the Saviour.

Because of this experience, I am now reluctant to label myself as ‘non-denominational,’ although I can understand the thinking behind a phrase I once heard used: “denominations are abominations.” I suppose that denominations, although they came into existence following dissension amongst the brethren and doctrinal differences since the early church, are one issue – but cults are quite another. “A cult,” I have heard it said, (certainly of pseudo-Christian cults) “is a group of people who follow one man and his misinterpretation of the Bible.”

After listening to her enthusiastically give me this invitation to the Bible study, strangely I remembered the information that I had read about Cooneyites and decided to ask her was she associated with them.

I didn’t expect her to be so straight with me… “Well some people refer to us as that,” she said, “but we don’t call ourselves this.”

Professing to follow “the Jesus Way,” the Cooneyites concentrate on the life of Jesus but not on His precious shed blood for the sins of mankind; like other erroneous systems of belief this cult has sadly strayed into the path of ‘salvation by works.’ While there is no better example to follow than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in all our attitudes, thoughts, words and actions, it is not by attempting to follow His life in our own strength, that we are saved – but by repenting and putting our trust in His shed blood at Calvary, in the knowledge that He has risen, is alive in heaven today and ever lives to make intercession for us. Only with faith as the sure foundation upon which we stand, can we ever be “Christlike” in His strength.

There is so much more that I could say about the aspects of this cult which was founded in Ireland in 1897 by William Irvine, who was originally an evangelist with the Faith Mission. Cooneyites have also been known as Irvingites, Go-preachers, Two-by-two’s, Workers and the Nameless House Church or Christian Convention Church. However they prefer to call themselves “The Way,” “The Jesus Way” or “The Truth.”

The lady I spoke to worked with another lady friend and from what I could discern they were both middle-aged and unmarried. “I felt led recently to work along the east coast of Ireland,” she had told me.

 ‘Led by whom?’ I wondered. (The Cooneyites do not believe in the leading of the Holy Spirit, in the Trinity or in the deity of Christ.)

It has also been said that they even go so far as to declare that the Bible is a “Dead Book” unless it is “made to live” through the mouth of one of their preachers

“You will come along, won’t you?” the lady pleaded with me towards the end of our conversation.

“You know,” I said, avoiding her question, “at the end of the day you and I and everyone else in this world… really what we want is the knowledge that we will definitely at the end of this life go to heaven. It is so wonderful to have that assurance.”

“Yes…” she replied hesitantly, “we can but only hope in God’s mercy…”

Today I pray for that lady and for the opportunity to perhaps speak to her again, even if it is only over the telephone – and I also pray that those souls who are genuinely seeking will not be snared by this cult which like many others is weaving its web in an Ireland where unwary people are weary of hypocrisy in the traditional teachings of a major system of idolatry which has betrayed the young and old.

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My Love for the Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible (1611-2011)

February 2, 2011

I have always had respect for the Bible and when I was very young, my father ensured that we learned to recite many passages; one of these being Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…” Today I can still recite that Psalm by heart, but it wasn’t until I became a Christian that I felt the words of the Bible come alive and especially relevant for me. “Read the King James Bible,” my old English teacher had advised, “for its great literary content.” Then, in the autumn of 1977 I asked my mother for a simple gift for the following Christmas – a copy of the King James Bible. Indeed I still have that old Bible but it is now carefully stored in a little box to keep the pages together, since over the ensuing years I was to search those pages for inspiration, for answers, for hope. I started to systematically read it through and I came to love every word, but I also came to question the nature of my life and to be convicted by words like… “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53v6) Despite the fact that I was a ‘law abiding citizen’ I came to see that, like every other soul born into this world, I needed a Saviour because of words like: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3v23)  Then one late evening in August 1978, just eight months after receiving my first Bible, in the quietness of my heart I repented of all that previous life lived outside His grace and asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart and to be my Saviour.

From that moment on my life was never to be the same again, for it was to be guided by the Word of God; a book which even some atheists will admit is extraordinary in content. Its words brought revelation, guidance, comfort and joy throughout the years ahead. When my children were ill or in hospital I would seek the Author of this book in prayer and then He would comfort me with loving words from its pages; words which were amazingly apt for every situation I would find myself in.

The beauty of its language is second to none and despite the fact that there are numerous other English translations of the Bible, I feel that there is no better translation than this one for the English speaking world today.

Tonight I lift my first Bible in my hands with nostalgia. Inside its cover I read words which were written nearly 34 years ago by my mother:

Christmas 1977 from Mum and Dad. (Isaiah 41v10)

Then I go to Isaiah 41v10 and read: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

How often those beautiful words would speak to me over the years and how comforting they are on this night as I pray for my father who is very ill in hospital. I love the poetic beauty of those books from Job to Song of Solomon, the history, the genealogy… yet everything contained in the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation ultimately points to the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for all mankind, making it possible for every soul on this universe to be born again, “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1Peter 1v23)

Years later my husband gave me another Bible; still the beautiful King James translation but in bigger print this time because I was growing older! Every time I read the Bible through, I record the date of that reading and leave a comment like “Praise the Lord!” Today its words breathe life to me and as the years go by they are more precious than ever. The full colour gift books which the Lord has led me to write, quote extensively and exclusively from the Authorised Version and in this, the 400th Anniversary of its launch, I hope, in the Lord’s strength to promote it all the more.

This is the Bible which inspired the great spiritual revivals in history throughout Britain, Ireland and the U.S.A. My prayer is that its words will once again, in this 21st Century, live on to pierce the hearts of men, women and children with its truth and that souls would search its pages and turn to its Divine Author in repentance before “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4v5)

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev. 22v18&19)

God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You

February 4, 2010

“God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You” ISBN: 978-0-9557155-2-5 Published 2010

Retail Price: £6.99 (Sterling) €7.99 (Euro)

“This full-colour children’s gift book has been produced for a wide age range. The lovely contemporary photographs of creation will especially appeal to the very young, while subsequent pages will speak to all who have reached that age of understanding. Covering creation, the fall of mankind and the flood, it then touches on some Old Testament characters, who in faith looked for the coming of the Messiah. The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ are comprehensively dealt with, while His invitation: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6v37), is extended to each reader in a personal way. May readers of all ages be touched by its timeless message!”

One day my daughter came home to say that she was in a shop when she heard a tiny boy singing…

Good News! Good News! Christ died for me. Good News, Good News, if I believe…”

Everyone in the shop stopped to stare – and listen. In the summer of 2009 many other children and their stories crossed my path and one day the Lord spoke to me: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19v14). It was then that I knew what He would have me do, with the result that my first children’s book was born! This Children’s Bible study takes us on a journey from Genesis to Revelation. It features full colour photographs of creation, Irish and international scenery, in addition to photographs, illustrations and object lessons which give the ambience of Bible times. My desire is that the Lord would use this little book, wherever it may travel and to the hearts of all who read, for in the words of Jesus… “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” (Luke 18v17)