WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY
from the elders of the East End church of Christ
Were embarking upon an expanded emphasis in printing and
publishing the Word of God. We need and ask for your help.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the
will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the
Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:21). Through the ages, Gods
inspired prophets were able to deliver His Holy Word by proclaiming
it in towns, villages and cities wherever people were
gathered. He also chose to record His Word by having it written
down by inspired men (cf. II Tim. 3:16-17). God caused his word to
be recorded in sixty-six written documents. We have them all put
together in one binding we call the Bible. This would preserve his
word for all generations to come. Jesus said, Heaven and
earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away
Never before in history have there been so many
windows of opportunity open to man to expound upon and disseminate
or distribute the Holy Word of God. For centuries, the spoken
word was largely all man had, but as the fullness of time
became more evident, the printing press was invented, and with such
an invention, many, many more avenues of spreading Gods Word
became available. These were and are all good and most effective.
However, none seem to be as diversified in use as the printed page.
It has stood the test of time as is evidenced by the Bible itself
the number one best seller of all time. It could well be said
that the printed page is a silent form of preaching. It, like a
persons life, is a Silent Sermon. We invite you to
read and consider the many advantages of the written word in
brother Robinsons editorial on the next page.
A talented writer can make an article come alive for
those who read it. Communication is the key to teaching and
learning, for what good is preaching and writing if its not
understood by those who hear and read? The elders of the East End
Church of Christ have come to the realization that we are most
fortunate to have an exceptionally talented writer in our midst
that of our own preacher, brother Garland Robinson. We
believe that a great window of opportunity has been opened for us
to expand into a broader teaching field by using his outstanding
talents full-time in the publishing of spiritual material such as
tracts, reference works, study guides, sermons and various other
teaching materials. Not only will the printed word be expanded, but
the use of other technologies will also be included to offer those
who prefer the advantages of audio and video lessons, radio and
Brother Robinson is exceptionally talented in
publishing and is very well read and versed in the Scriptures. We
highly recommend his work to all those who are interested in seeing
the Word of God go forth to a nation and world who so desperately
need it. It is for this reason that we have made arrangements with
him to work full-time as writer and publisher of religious
materials to further expedite the Lords work. This new
emphasis and area of labor makes it necessary for him to raise
financial support on a monthly basis to carry on this worthy work.
We look forward to working with him in this endeavor and highly
recommend him to you. He has our full support and we ask that you,
whether as individuals or congregations, will consider putting him
in your budget and financially supporting him. We solicit your
cooperation and prayers as we move forward in Gods service.
The church at East End will receive and handle all
financial contributions that come in for brother Robinson and will
keep a complete and accurate record of such support. Those who wish
to contribute to this worthy and needed work are asked to mail
their contributions to: East End Church of Christ, Garland
Robinson, 102 Edison St., McMinnville, TN 37110.
Elders, Church of Christ at East End
W. M. Bishop, Bud Butcher,
Bobby Craig, Charlie Turner
Table of Contents
A NEW OPPORTUNITY
Garland M. Robinson
Without fear of contradiction it can accurately be said
that mans mission on this earth is to go into all the world
and preach the Gospel to every creature (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Mark
16:15-16). We must not be overwhelmed by this momentous task.
Its possible to become so concerned with a duty that we never
set out to accomplish it! We should not ponder over the magnitude
of the job so long, that we lose sight of the responsibility and
never do the work.
A NEW EMPHASIS
All Christians collectively have the job of
going and teaching. But as individuals, we must
strive with all our might to do what we each can do. We all have at
least one talent (ability). It is our responsibility to discover
that talent (or talents) and then use it (or them) to the best
advantage in the Lords cause. We cannot do all the work
ourselves, but we can do some. We can do our part. We can encourage
others to do their part. Faithful Christians are not in competition
against each other. We all work for the Master, doing the work he
has assigned us to do. Jesus said he came to do the will of the
Father (John 9:4). And, we must follow his example (I Peter 2:21).
For men to be saved from their sins, they must hear
the Gospel. Paul writes to the church at Rome saying, For
whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How
then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?
and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not
heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is
written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel
of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not
all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed
our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the
word of God (Rom. 10:13-17).
There are many avenues through which men can hear the
Gospel. The most obvious is by word of mouth, teaching
one on one. This will never be replaced and is a basic and
essential part of evangelizing. Another most basic and fundamental
avenue by which men hear the Gospel is through the printed
page. This is obvious because of the Bible itself. God saw
fit to record His Word on paper. Where would we be without the
Bible? Could we get through the day or the week without being able
to read Gods Holy Word? Many other avenues exist today that
were not possible in past centuries; such as: television,
radio and internet. However, the written word
continues to be, and will always be, indispensable.
God chose that men would learn the truth through the
preaching of his word. Men think its foolish, but it is the
means by which men are saved (I Cor. 1:18,21). The word of God is
the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Preachers are to
preach the word when its popular and when its not (II
Tim. 4:2). That makes the Word of God invaluable.
The word of God that is spoken is the same word when
its written down. Those who hear the Word of God preached have
the Word of God in their heart and in their memory. But, if that
same word is written down, countless more can learn and profit from
it that did not hear it presented by a preacher of the word. Notice
these clear and obvious points that are true concerning the
The written word can enjoy a much wider
circulation than the spoken word. It can be copied and passed
out and its usefulness multiplied many times over. God instructed
that his word be written down so that generations to come could
read it (cf. Exodus 7:14; Num. 5:23; Deut. 17:18; Josh. 8:32; Isa.
30:8; Jer. 30:2; 36:2; Rev. 1:11). God alone knows how many Bibles
have been printed and distributed. God alone knows how many
faithful souls have written sound Bible lessons that have literally
gone around the world. Since Seek The Old Paths began
over nineteen years ago, millions and millions of pages have been
printed and distributed.
The written word can go where we cannot.
Distributed by hand or through the mail, it can literally go
throughout the whole world! Preachers of the Gospel can only be in
one place at a time. But their words on paper make it possible to
multiply their efforts many times over. Paul wrote, And when
this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the
church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle
from Laodicea (Col. 4:16; cf. II Cor. 7:8). There are so many
places in the world we cannot personally go and preach. But our
written lessons can get into the hands of people who might not
otherwise learn the Gospel.
The written word can stay longer than we can.
Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the Lord in the
temple. It was read to Josiah the king and led to a great
reformation (II Chron. 34:14-22). Who left a copy of the law in the
temple? How long had it been there? What a difference it made when
discovered and read! A tract or article will stay where its
put until someone moves it or destroys it. Personal experience has
taught us that great benefit has been gained by the written word
being read years after it was written. This is even true with
Seek The Old Paths. A preacher may have long been dead and
yet the words he wrote are still fresh and rewarding to those who
read them. The inspired writers of the New Testament have been dead
for centuries, but the words they wrote are still with us today.
The written word is more private. Not
everyone will listen to someone present the Gospel. But, if they
have the opportunity to read and study in private, they will do so.
What if the Ethiopian eunuch did not have a copy of the written
word to read on his return trip home? He had the Word to read and
he read it (Acts 8:27-28). It led to his conversion and he went on
his way rejoicing. Tracts left in hospitals, nursing homes and
other places, even our private homes, often find their way into the hands of
those who will read them. There are many contacts that would not
have been made except for copies of the written word left for
someone to pick up and read.
The written word can be restudied. When you
hear a sermon, its gone except in your memory, unless its
been recorded where you might be able to hear it again. One may not
fully grasp the meaning or significance of the Gospel when first
heard. It needs more study and reflection. Tapes and videos can do
this, but the written word can do it as well. Pauls admonition
to Timothy is appropriate to all, study to shew thyself
approved unto God (II Tim. 2:15). The Ethiopian was reading
and studying (Acts 8:27-39). The written word can be read and
studied again and again.
With the help of faithful brethren, I (Garland Robinson)
would like to begin a new emphasis in my work of preaching the
Gospel. This is being done with the full cooperation and
endorsement of the elders of the East End church of Christ. If
you have not already done so, please read a letter from the elders
on the front page of this issue.
Before I explain what this new emphasis is, let me take
time to tell you about the East End church. This faithful church has stood in
the old paths since its beginning over 70 years ago. They
are involved in so many good works, each one seeking to advance the
cause of Christ. In addition to the (1) pulpit and (2) classroom,
it conducts (3) Gospel meetings, (4) VBS and (5) annual ladies day.
The church has oversight of (6) WSOJ-LP, a low-power radio station
which preaches the Gospel 24/7 on 102.5 FM. It can be heard in most
parts of the county and in some areas outside the county. It is
also broadcast around the world over the internet at (7)
pioneerpreachers.com and (8) wsoj.net. Theres nothing on this
station but Gospel preaching and congregational singing. We invite
you to check it out yourself. In addition to these two web sites,
the Gospel is also taught at: (9) eecc.org (the churchs
website), (10) aburningfire.net (942 radio lessons as well as
articles and books preached and written by from Jim Boyd) and (11)
seektheoldpaths.com. We broadcast (12) Sundays sermons on a
local cable TV channel that is shown two hours each Lords Day
in four counties to more than 10,700 homes. We have a (13) weekly
column in the local newspaper entitled Where in the Bible will
I Find. We have numerous (14) Bible correspondence courses
being studied (some students are prisoners). We conduct (15) church
services in four different nursing homes and assisted living
facilities. We support (16) preacher students in their training to
preach the Gospel. We have in our facilities a (17) computerized
Bible Call program that runs 24/7 where people call on
the telephone and listen to short Bible lessons. We support (18)
various mission works, not only in this country but around the
world. Weve sent huge shipping containers to Guyana, South
America, full of medical supplies, school supplies and other needed
items. (19) We maintain a well-stocked clothing room and (20) food
pantry from which we distribute clothing and food to the needy.
(21) Food is also collected for orphans and picked up twice a year.
(22) Ladies meet once a week and work together to make hand-made
quilts and distribute as needed. (23) Meals are prepared and
distributed to our shut-ins every week. (24) Visitation groups keep
track of absentees and make visits, send cards, and phone calls.
(25) We maintain a resource room for Bible teachers that has
everything they could possibly need. (26) Door to door efforts are
made weekly (sometimes daily) to interest people in studying the
Bible. (27) A childrens Bible class is conducted every Sunday
evening before service that is filled with memorization of Bible
facts. (28) Every October brings an annual homecoming and
provides a great time of fellowship. As a congregation, you can see
we have a mind to work. It takes a great amount of
interest and effort by so many people to be involved in all these
works. Theres always a lot going on every day of the
year. But, theres always room to improve and expand.
In addition to these works, the church at East End
would like to expand its work in the area of the written word.
This will involve Bible teaching/preaching not only printed
on paper, but radio and internet as well. Much and lasting good can
be done in printing the Word. This includes Seek The Old Paths
(circulation over 15,000 a month) as well as other literature
such as tracts, CDs, DVDs and other study materials. We also
receive mail from brethren needing help with Bible questions and
various other requests. It takes a great amount of time to handle
all these things. Therefore, the elders and I have made plans
for me to work full-time in the area of the written word. This
involves the church at East End seeking someone else to fill the
pulpit. I, in turn, will be working in the area of literature. I
will also be available to teach and preach by appointment in
neighboring congregations. As you can see, this is a full-time
work. There is no lack of anything to do.
In order to expand into this work, it is necessary
for me to raise financial support. I, therefore, humbly ask your
financial assistance to do this most important and needed
labor of love. You may contact me and/or the elders at
102 Edison St., McMinnville, TN 37110 or you can
We would like to get this new work started as soon as
possible. Please let us hear from you soon.
We humbly ask for your prayers and your financial
assitance in this expanded work of printing and publishing
the Gospel. Our plans are to start this endeavor by the end
of June. Be sure to read the letter from the elders on the
front page and the editorial on page 10.
Table of Contents
EFFECTIVE BIBLE STUDY AN URGENT NEED FOR EVERYONE
It was never the will of God that direct, supernatural
communication from heaven to earth be a perpetual phenomenon
throughout this planets history. Rather, the things of
God (cf. 1 Cor. 2:11) were to be committed to a series of
inspired documents, collectively known as the Bible. The Holy
Scriptures were designed to provide men with all things pertaining
to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and to furnish devout students
completely unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
THE VALUE OF BIBLE STUDY
It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the value of the
Bible to the human family. The most brilliant minds of history have
praised the Book of books. Our second president, John
Adams, called the Bible the best Book in the world.
Lincoln characterized the Scriptures as the best
gift God ever gave man. Sir Isaac Newton thought the
Bible to be the most sublime philosophy known
to humanity. The list of laudatory testimony is almost endless.
There are multiple values inherent in a study of the
sacred Scriptures. Meditate upon the following.
1) The Bible is the only source of valid
knowledge as to the origin of the human family. The baseless
theory of evolution is so riddled with such a vast variety of
factual inaccuracies that it assaults the analytical ability of any
thinking person (see Mastropaolo). Darwinism stands in bold
contrast to the sublime Genesis record of human commencement.
2) The Scriptures provide the only explanation
for mans purpose upon the planet. David Hume, the
Scottish skeptical philosopher, wrote:
Where am I, or what? From what causes do I derive my
existence and to what condition shall I return? ...
I am confounded with all these questions, and begin
to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition
imaginable, environed with the deepest darkness, and
utterly deprived of the use of every member and
faculty (Smith, 553).
3) Aside from the illumination of the Bible,
mans future would be but a dark, terrifying enigma. When
Pierre Curie was killed in a tragic accident, his wife, the
renowned Madame Marie Curie, who had abandoned her earlier faith,
exclaimed: Pierre is sleeping his last sleep beneath the
earth; it is the end of everything, everything, everything
(Curie, 249). When the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the
body, the Lord informed them that their problem, in part at least,
was their ignorance of the Scriptures (Matt. 22:29). It is only
through the Gospel of Christ that life and immortality
have been fully revealed (2 Tim. 1:10).
4) Without a knowledge of the Bible, human beings
are bereft of any religious or moral compass to direct the affairs
of life. Evolutionist George G. Simpson of Harvard wrote:
Discovery that the universe apart from man or before
his coming lacks and lacked any purpose or plan has
the inevitable corollary that the workings of the
universe cannot provide any automatic, universal,
eternal, or absolutely ethical criteria of right and
wrong (Simpson, 180).
If there is no absolute moral code, every man becomes his
own god and may write his own ethical rules. In that
event, chaos prevails, because every man entertains a way
within himself that seems right to him (Prov. 14:12).
SOME PROCEDURES FOR EFFECTIVE BIBLE STUDY
5) Without an objective code of conduct, that
stands apart from our own conscience, we do not have the sufficient
motivation for exalted living. David stored the word of God
in his heart that he might not sin against his Maker (Psalm
119:11), because, as Jeremiah observed, it is not in man that
walks to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23). Moreover, without
adequate information concerning the Way (Acts 9:2;
19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22), we become the victims of religious
Effective Bible study is not a random process; rather, it
is a science. The following suggestions are made for those whose
goal is efficiency in their investigation of Gods Word.
PRACTICAL HABITS FOR BIBLE STUDY
1) Sometimes it can be helpful to know something
of the author of a biblical book or passage. While this is
not always necessary (Hebrews was left anonymous purposely), such
information can be beneficial.
For instance, the most extended discussion of the
virginal birth of Jesus is in Lukes Gospel record (2:7ff).
Since a virgin birth had never occurred before, it is
comforting to know that Luke, a very careful historian (1:1-4), was
also a physician (Col. 4:14). If a scientist could be convinced by
clear evidence that the virgin birth of the Lord really occurred,
one may have firm confidence in the reliability of the historical
2) Frequently it is imperative that the student
know something of the background of a particular book or passage
with which he is dealing, if he is to appreciate the full
impact of the text.
Unless one understands, for example, that Jeremiah was
attempting to prevent Judah from having to suffer the Babylonian
Captivity, or that Ezekiel was warning his people against the false
hope of an early return from Chaldea, he scarcely appreciates the
thrust of these inspired documents. In studying Psalm 51, which is
saturated with tears of penitence, it is helpful to know the
background story about Davids adulterous relationship with the
provocative Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11 & 12).
3) One needs to have some familiarity with the
nature of the book he is studying. Is the document historical
narrative (Genesis)? Is it poetical in form (Psalms)? Is it largely
characterized by prophecy (Isaiah)? Is it highly charged with
symbolism (Revelation)? A host of errors have resulted from a
failure to distinguish between the different styles of biblical
Some, in order to accommodate evolution, have viewed
Genesis 1 as poetry; others have attempted to literalize the
figures in Revelation (e.g., the 1,000 years in chapter 20). Such
approaches have been responsible for significant confusion in the
4) One of the most important factors in Bible study
is a consideration of the context. Without a knowledge
of context, the student can be in a maze of confusion.
For example, why does Paul advise against marriage in
First Corinthians chapter 7 (vs.8,27,38,40), when elsewhere the
Scriptures teach that it is not good to be alone (Gen.
2:18), and that marriage is desirable (1 Tim. 5:14)? One must
understand that the apostolic counsel provided in the Corinthian
narrative was in view of an impending distress (an era of
persecution; see vs.26,29,32,35,38,40). The inspired advice was
never intended to apply with equal force, in every place, and at
Here is another example. A consideration of the data
in Acts 10 and 11, and the unique circumstances associated with the
conversion of Cornelius (and the introduction of the first Gentiles
into the church), would correct the common error that Holy
Spirit baptism is a divine gift to be experienced throughout
the entire Christian age. Context makes a world of difference in
such a case.
5) One of the crucial principles of sound Bible study
is that of scriptural harmony. The Bible, as the
verbally inspired revelation from God, will be consistent in all
its instruction. Thus, the sacred narrative must be studied
synthetically, i.e., the teaching of the Scriptures on any given
subject must be brought together. Various contexts dealing with a
particular theme can provide the fullness often required to
understand a subject more completely.
For instance it requires a consideration of several
contexts to discover that the Lords supper involves: (a) the
eating of bread and fruit of the vine; (b) on Sunday of every week;
(c) in memory of the body and blood of the Savior; (d) as a pledge
of the Lords final return (cf. Matt. 26:26ff; Acts 20:7; 1
Cor. 11:23ff, etc.).
If one does not understand something of the principles
of methodical study, he cannot gain the maximum benefit from his
In addition to the mechanics of effective
study, it is helpful to think also along the lines of study habits.
I would like to offer some suggestions that have been helpful to me
across the years.
1) If at all possible, create for yourself a
special study in your home. In a spare room, the
attic, the basement, etc. find yourself a study nook that
can be yours. Furnish it with a comfortable chair, a desk, good
lighting, and some book shelves. Make it your special place and
plan to visit it regularly on certain days of the week (e.g., an
hour each morning before work time).
Early morning is really the most ideal time for study.
Discipline yourself to get in the habit of regular study. This is
a difficult chore. If one is not preaching, teaching a class, or
engaged in some activity that demands research, it is hard to carve
out the time, particularly if it is a labor, rather than a love.
But if one gets into the study mode, virtually every day, it will
pay rich dividends not only in his personal life, but in qualifying
him to help others.
In addition to devotional reading in the Bible itself,
for example, one might select a popular (as opposed to technical)
commentary that he will read through in the coming year. I try to
keep a good book handy to read whenever I have a spare moment away
from regular duties. For instance, if I know I am going to have to
spend time in the doctors waiting room, rather than browsing
magazines, I may take a book with me.
2) Every Christian should build at least a modest
library of good books. Handy tools, such as a complete
concordance, a Bible atlas, some biblical dictionaries or
encyclopedias, a few good commentaries, some volumes on Christian
evidences, church history, etc., are vital for a well-rounded range
of knowledge. One should subscribe to at least a couple good
brotherhood periodicals those that teach (as opposed to merely
3) Study the Scriptures from several different
vantage points. Survey biblical books. Galatians falls into
three natural divisions:
Personal A Defense of Pauls Credibility (1-2);
Doctrinal Justification through the Gospel (3-4);
Practical Walking by the Spirit (5-6).
Explore the biographical data of great Bible characters.
Articles in Bible dictionaries (e.g., The Wycliffe Bible
Dictionary) on Abraham, Joseph, Jesus, and Paul will enrich your
life. Learn to do word studies. Words are the vehicles of
intelligent communication. Even the non-specialist can learn
something of the treasures of the original languages of the Bible.
THE PREACHER AND STUDY
4) In this day of mobility, a good student can take
advantage of good Bible lectureships by listening to
tapes as he drives about from place-to-place. It is important to
utilize every possible opportunity to learn Gods word. The
Christian who is ever learning will become a valuable resource to
the congregation of which he or she is a member.
Perhaps we could conclude this discussion with a comment
relative to the preacher and his study habits. The man who stands
before the congregation to preach to lost souls and to edify his
kinsmen in the Lord, should overflow with the riches of Sacred
Unfortunately it is the case today that too many
preachers desire (or are strongly encouraged) to become proficient
in everything but the Bible. They are office efficiency
experts, church flunkies, visitation specialists, counselors,
education directors, errand-boys for the elders, etc. Some (or all)
of these chores may be quite necessary, in their place, but they
are not the work of a Gospel preacher.
Every preacher must engage in his own spiritual
activities (e.g., as visiting the sick, helping those in need,
etc.), but that is not his principal area of emphasis. As someone
has said, The work of the preacher is threefold: to
preach, to preach, and to preach. I would add to that:
To study and preach, to study and preach, to study and
Elders should encourage their preachers to spend more
time in seclusion, studying and storing up great segments of
information so that when they mount the pulpit, they are able to
draw vast resources from the library of their minds. In such cases,
the audience becomes excited about the beauty and value of
Gods written truth. I have, on occasion, spent hours digging
out a golden nugget of truth (which may take only a minute or so to
present) in the hope that it will challenge my brethren to deeper
study. This is what results when teaching the Mind of God becomes
a passion rather than a profession. When the preaching and teaching
are stagnant, attendance will eventually decline. Moreover, a
studious preacher provides the sort of example that inspires
greater Bible study within the congregation.
We cannot but mention that if the church of today was a
more studious body, she would not be plagued with as many problems
as she now encounters. Knowledge is a powerful antidote to error.
Let us encourage one another to return to the thrilling adventures
within the Word of God.
Curie, Eve (1937), Madame Curie: A Biography (Garden City,
NY: Doubleday), p.249.
Mastropaolo, Joseph (1999), Evolution Is Biologically
Impossible, Impact, November, #317.
Simpson, George G. (1951), The Meaning of Evolution (New
York: Mentor, 1951), p.80.
Smith, Wilbur (1945), Therefore Stand (Boston: W. A. Wilde
Co.) quoting David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature.
used by permission
PO Box 690308, Stockton, CA 95269
Table of Contents
IT IS WRITTEN
The phrase it is written is found eighty times
in the Bible. Twenty six occurrences are in the Gospel accounts.
Most of these are in connection with something Jesus said. Why did
inspired men like Joshua, Matthew, Paul and Peter remind their
readers so often that God had previously written something on the
matter under consideration? In each case it was to make or prove a
point! It was an appeal to the highest authority man can find.
Gods Word settles the matter because His Word will stand for
all time. Jesus said, heaven and earth shall pass away,
but my words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:35).
In His infinite wisdom, God knew that man would need
the Creators will preserved in written form. Man tends to
forget. Man also tends to doubt even those things that are well
known. Peter wrote: Wherefore I will not be negligent to put
you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know
them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think
it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by
putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off
this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.
Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to
have these things always in remembrance (2 Peter 1:12-15).
The writer of Hebrews showed that God wants his
children to believe and have hope through the written word:
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could
swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing
I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so,
after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men
verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to
them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to
show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel,
confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it
was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation,
who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before
us (Heb. 6:13-18). Notice that not only did God make a promise
to Abraham (and his spiritual descendants), but he then confirmed
it with an oath. Both the promise and oath were initially spoken,
but then committed to writing.
Since God cannot lie, He has nothing to hide. Thus,
with His word committed to writing, humans can always check and see
what He has promised. To man, written documents are considered more
authoritative and binding than a verbal agreement. (Of course,
Jesus wants the Word of His followers to be equally binding whether
spoken or written; see James 5:12; cf. Matt. 5:33-37). In
todays world it is not uncommon to see the disclaimer in
writing that any verbal agreements made during the
sale of a vehicle are unenforceable. Anything the salesman promises
regarding repairs, condition or warranties should be in writing!
Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who will lie and even
have their sin committed to paper. Thankfully for us, God will
honor all of His promises and is not deceiving anyone.
Between men, written contracts serve to remind the
parties of their obligations and rewards or privileges. Almost
without exception at least two copies of contracts are made; one
copy is given to each party and occasionally one is filed for safe
keeping. There is always the possibility that one party may lose
his copy or it may be destroyed. This is why real estate
transaction records like deeds and mortgages are filed at the court
house. This is an ancient practice that even Jeremiah performed
Perhaps you have played the childrens game where
a message is passed around the room by being whispered from one ear
to another. The message delivered by the last player usually has
been seriously corrupted from the original. People living today do
not have to rely on a verbal record of Gods revealed will.
Gods Word has been preserved for all mankind, not just those
who lived when it was revealed. It was put in writing so everyone
could have a chance to learn Gods Will and obey it.
The Bible, the very Word of God, has been preserved
by Gods providence through the centuries. God promised that it
would not fail or pass away (cf. Matt. 24:35; 1 Peter 1:23). When
copies have been made, they have been checked and re-checked for
copyist or typographical errors when it has been translated, copied
and printed. Though we today do not have the original manuscripts
written by the apostles, we can be sure we have the correct
message. How? Through the multiplied copies and translations that
were made shortly after the originals were penned! Peter spoke of
Pauls letters (2 Peter 3:15,16). How did Peter know about and
read these letters? Copies were made and circulated. As a matter of
fact, there are more than five thousand manuscript copies of New
Testament letters that still exist today! Some of the more famous
ones are on display in museums.
The salvation of each person depends on his obedience
to the Gospel of Christ. God tells us in the Scriptures that
the Lord is...not willing that any should perish, but that all
should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). People can only
repent and be saved when they come to an understanding of their sin
against Gods Law. This is why Gods Word is written!
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Most every religion is learned and New Testament
Christianity is no exception to this rule. When the apostle Paul
wrote to Timothy, after warning him of evil men and seducers waxing
worse and worse, he said, But continue thou in the things
which thou hast learned and hast been assured of,
knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a
child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are
able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in
Christ Jesus (II Tim. 3:14,15). Why, then, in the realm of
religion, do people act as they do?
Why does the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church
engage in so much ceremonialism in their various services? If one
should ask such a question, the answer no doubt, would be,
This is the way we learned it. Ask a Muslim why he
believes as he does and the answer, most likely, will be the same,
This is the way we learned it. Why do all people who
profess to follow Christ engage is so many unscriptural practices?
The answer is still the same, This is the way we learned
it. But from where did they learn it? Certainly not from the
Bible. If the source of our learning is corrupt, our learning will
be no better.
Its not enough to be taught. We must concern
ourselves with where and by whom we were taught. Fortunately for
Timothy, his faith was instilled in him by a godly mother and
grandmother (cf. 2 Tim. 1:5). So, a hand-me-down faith is not
necessarily bad, provided of course, those handing down their faith
are sound in the faith.
In order for ones religion to be learned, there
must be a process of teaching, learning and knowing. Concerning
Christianity, Jesus said, no man can come to me except the
Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the
last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be
taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard,
and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto
me (John 6:44,45). We see this clearly illustrated in the case
As Christians, we should ask ourselves why do we
believe as we do. Where did we learn it? We should be able to go to
the scriptures and say, Here is why I believe as I do. I
learned it from the Bible. Dear brother or sister, if someone
should ask, Why do churches of Christ sing without musical
instruments? What would be your reply? With many it would be,
Im not sure. Lets ask our preacher. With many
church members, including some liberal preachers, the answer would
be that our singing acapella is merely a tradition. Not so with me!
I learned it from the Bible, and I shall (the Lord willing)
continue to preach it from the Bible. Think about it.
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In Genesis 1:28, God tells man to subdue the Earth. That command
implies that God has placed, within the creation, many tools that
man can learn to use for his benefit. After sin entered the world
and sickness and death became a reality, Gods remarkable
foreknowledge then became evident. One of the first antibiotics
ever discovered by man has been in use for thousands of years.
Modern researchers are just beginning to appreciate the wonder of
this natural antibiotic that kills some 650 different strains of
disease organisms, and is virtually non-toxic. Best of all, disease
organisms dont become resistant to it. What is this miracle
antibiotic? The metal silver. The ancient Greeks and Romans used
silver containers to keep liquids fresh. American settlers often
placed a silver dollar in milk to delay souring. Most of the
worlds airlines today use silver filters on board to prevent
dysentery. After testing 23 different methods for purifying water,
NASA selected silver water filters for use on board the Space
Shuttle. Japanese researchers have found that silver is even able
to detoxify some poisons. (Creation Moments, The Original
Make sure you read the front page article and the editorial in
this issue. We need your help in a new emphasis of our work in
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