The Christian Religion Website is created for those interested in the religion of Bible Christianity. It may be for those who have never heard of it or those who have and want to learn more. While it is beneficial for those who are not saved, it can also be conducive to further educating those who have been saved. It is also highly focused on helping those who have been taught error so that the truth can be revealed.
If you are not a Christian, I hope these studies will help you learn how to become a Christian and live a life for God in a way that is pleasing to Him. If you are already a Christian, then I hope these studies will help you grow in your faith. Hopefully, we can all learn to share with others the good news of how to obtain eternal life with God.
I pray this prayer for us all...
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and enlightenment in the knowledge of him. Having the eyes of your mind enlightened to know what is the hope of his calling, and the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:17-18).
Scriptures included in these studies are from several translations, including the KJV (King James Version), NKJV (New King James Version), ASV (American Standard Version), NASB (New American Standard Bible), ISV (International Standard Version), ESV (English Standard Version) and the ESB (English Study Bible). Bibles are translated from Manuscripts and from older Bible versions by men who are not inspired by God, and we know man is not perfect. This truth applies to any Bible that men have ever translated, or perhaps will be, in the future. However, I believe God has preserved His Word within these translations well enough for us to be able to know the truth.
1 Peter 1:24,25 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
I have not noticed much controversy over the translations of the Old Testament. Yet, it is evident that the New Testament has been translated and revised with a denominational and doctrinal bias for hundreds of years. In my opinion, the NKJV, KJV, ASV, and ESV are likely the most accurate of the translations. Brother Harold Littrell, B.A., M.A., M.Th., Th.D, translated the ESB, and it is no doubt easier to read; however, it is only available in the New Testament and translated by only one man. I appreciate that he translates from all major Greek texts (United Bible Societies, Nestle, Westcott & Hort, Textus Receptus, and Griesbach's. These texts consider all of the oldest Manuscripts and recently discovered Manuscripts. Brother Littrell also references the Greek language throughout his translation, which can be helpful to understand the Bible.
If you desire to acquire a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the Bible, you may choose to invest in an Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (IGENT), which has the Greek Manuscripts in book form with English words below the Greek words. The IGENTs that I have used include the Textus Receptus (also known as the Received Text or the Majority Text), which was used to translate our earliest Bibles. It helps us understand what the writers of the original Manuscripts intended to communicate to us. It can be an invaluable study tool in understanding the Scriptures. Another valuable source for me has been the e-Sword, and electronic version of the Bible, with numerous Bible translations offered (many are free), along with a wealth of dictionaries and commentaries. More Bible translations, dictionaries, and commentaries for e-Sword are available at Bible Support. My favorite downloads for e-Sword from the Bible Support website are from the user BaptizedBeliever. I will offer caution in what you download because there are several translations and commentaries that are biased and contain false teachings. When considering commentaries to help us understand certain subjects of the Bible, I believe it is best to always let the Bible be our final authority on that subject.
The original Scriptures were written by 40+ inspired men of God, over a 1600 year span, on two continents and in three languages. The original writings are called Autographs, but these originals have never been found. Only copies of the originals in the form of Manuscripts have been discovered, and this is what we have available to us today. The Manuscripts are actually copies of the original Autographs and date back to as early as the 1st century AD. Different scholars and publishers have taken these Manuscripts and published them for our reading and study.
These studies are written to help all of us grow. Writing helps me grow in my understanding, considering for many years I had a gross misunderstanding of the Bible because of my lack of study, as well as my reliance on what other men had taught me. Once I started studying and learning the truth for myself, I realized how easy it is for most people to ignore good Bible study and take another man's word for what the Bible teaches. I don't think I'm any different than anyone else, and if it can happen to me, it can happen to others. Think about all the religious confusion in the world today created by different teachings from men in the pulpits, in Bible classes, in schools, in books, and all over the Internet. Make no mistake about it; traditions of men and man-made religious doctrines are abundant in the world. If we hear or have been taught the wrong thing for long enough and do not know that it is wrong, we tend to believe it is right, especially if most people think it is right. It is very common to go along with what the majority believe. Once I got a grasp on what was happening, I started questioning who and what the truth was. It made me want to study and learn more... this is my soul, and eternity, that I have to consider is at great risk. It made me want to write out what I had studied, which helped me better understand it and continues to help me.
A sad reality in today's society is that most people place too much faith in religious preachers and teachers. I have read and heard comments similar to, "Our preacher has done so much for our church."... "Our preacher has brought so many people back into our church."... "We have the finest preacher."... "We attend this church because we just love the preacher."... "We are going to have to build on to our church because our preacher has brought so many more people into our church."... "Our preacher would never teach us error." As I have learned, it always seems to be about the preacher. In most of these instances, the preacher is worshiped more than God. If we would all focus more on the truth based on the Word of God instead of the preacher, everything else would work out for the good of the church. It shouldn't be about our preacher... instead, it should be about God and the church... the church which Christ built. This is the one church composed of all true Christians everywhere, and it belongs to Christ. Christ is the head of the church... not the preacher. When I think about how much preachers are worshiped, I think about what the apostle Peter said to Cornelius.
Acts 10:25-26 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am just a man."
Peter was an inspired man of God... he had the full measure of the Holy Spirit... he could heal, he had many special and miraculous gifts that no preacher of today has. Yet, many people want to do the same thing to their preacher as Cornelius was trying to do with Peter. If we would focus less on our preachers and more on God and His will, He will provide blessings for our congregations and us. All spiritual blessings are in Christ, who is the church.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the church:
To focus more on God, we must focus more on His Word and ALL of it, not just what fits our particular wants and desires. We cannot simply study the parts of the Bible that appear to support a specific belief or traditions of men. We must open up our Bible and start using it for ALL of our doctrines... inspired men wrote it... God is the author!
Jesus tells us that we cannot live on bread alone... that we must live by "every" word of God.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
When we hear the Word being preached, we have to ensure it is the truth.
Acts 17:10-11 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
When Paul and Silas traveled to Berea, the Bereans "received the word with great eagerness." They were eager to hear the preaching of the Word of God. However, they were "examining" ("searched" in KJV) the Scriptures daily. They listened to the preachers, but they did not take their word for what was being preached... they searched and examined the Scriptures "daily" to make sure what they were being taught was, in fact, the truth.
If a preacher is not preaching the truth, we need to call him out; we should expose him.
Ephesians 5:6-11 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
If he is unwilling to change his false teachings, we need to find another preacher willing to preach and teach the truth.
Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
We have everything we need to know the truth in His Word. God inspired the apostle Paul to teach us this truth when Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
God tells us in His Word that we can know the truth... and He has given us His Word (the Bible) so that we can know this truth. When it comes to something as vitally important as our soul and where we spend eternity, we should want to know the truth and not doubt what that truth is. It is a matter of eternal life with God or eternal separation from God, and we need to make the right choice.
I often read and hear comments about how many people believe there are different interpretations for passages in the Bible. I agree... there is no doubt there are numerous interpretations. It is evident that many people today, particularly those in teaching roles, are re-constructing the Scriptures to please those they are teaching and to adapt to today's culture. They teach whatever it takes to bring more people into their particular church. It's no surprise we have so many interpretations, but that does not mean they are all valid.
Consider what Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Some people will follow false interpretations of the Scriptures because it sounds good; it fits their wants and desires. I cannot help but agree that there are many interpretations... but only one can be right because many interpretations create confusion.
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
God is undoubtedly the author of the Bible, but in no way does He intend for it to be as confusing as so many people make it. To say that different people can have different meanings that produce different results, and more than one of them be right, would be in conflict with God. God does not intend for His Word to mean one thing to one person and something different to someone else. While it is apparent that we hear different meanings for various biblical passages among many people, this is not what God intended.
One undeniable reason there are so many different interpretations is that people are not willing to study the Bible for themselves. Most people learn what they learn from other people, and before they even read the Bible, they are biased towards a particular doctrine of man. These people pick out specific passages to fit their own beliefs or doctrines, which they have learned over the years.
"Scriptura sacra sui ipsius interpres" = Scripture is its own interpreter. I understand that this thought is commonly accepted among most biblical scholars and theologians. Does this make it right? I would suggest that it would be better to trust the Bible when interpreting it, rather than placing complete trust in men... as men can be biased to an incorrect interpretation because it supports their particular belief. Men can interpret correctly and share it with others, but we have to study the Bible and make sure it is correct for ourselves.
Does the Bible being its' own best interpreter mean that it will be easy for us to understand the Bible? Not necessarily... however, it will be easier if we allow it to work for us. To understand the Bible, we are going to have to study it thoroughly and have at least a general understanding of the entire Bible. This does not mean we will have to be able to quote verses or know everything there is to know, but it will require a general knowledge of the Bible. Verses and passages support other verses and passages. If you have ever picked up a good reference Bible and seen all of the books, chapters, and verses that are abbreviated in the center column or at the bottom of the page as footnotes, this is what I am referencing. One verse may refer you to several other verses elsewhere in the Bible to support and understand that particular verse. When studying a subject, it is always good to consider everything the Bible says about that subject. This is where electronic Bible software such as e-Sword can benefit us with the ability to search the Bible.
There are also certain doctrines (teachings) that we can understand without necessarily having a complete understanding of the entire Bible. We can determine what we must do to be saved without reading the whole Bible. We can understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and some other teachings without knowing the entire Bible. Yet, there are still some things that we may not fully understand until we have a general overall knowledge of the Bible. We do not have to be scholars or theologians to know how to live a life for God. Yet, once we are saved, we should have the desire to study God's Word and learn as much as possible. The more we study, the more we know and understand. We should pray for wisdom and understanding, and God will help us. It is the same with anything else we do. We usually study up on our favorite hobbies and know a good bit about them... some even become experts on their hobby. It is the same principle with our jobs... the longer we work in a position, the more we learn and the more we know and understand about our job. We start at the ground floor and work our way up, and one day we may even own our own company. With the Bible, we may begin by simply reading the New Testament, studying only a little at a time to grasp the understanding. As we read and study more, we will eventually gain a general understanding of the whole Bible.
When reading and studying the Bible, it is helpful to know the author of the book we are reading... who the author is writing to... and the purpose of his writing the book or letter. We should always consider verses and passages in context. It is easy to take a passage out of context in an attempt to support false teaching... but if we put it back in context, we can then understand its true meaning. Sometimes it is necessary to keep a passage in context with the entire chapter or even the entire book. Interpretation variations are most often due to not adhering to these simple interpretation guidelines.
Another critical aspect of reading the Bible is to understand the words better. Many words in the Bible literally mean something different today than they did when the original Manuscripts were written. Men have changed the English language and definitions of words over the centuries. Understanding the meaning and use of small words like "and," "unto," "for," "lest," etc., is essential. We cannot overlook these small words because, in many instances, they create crucial meanings. We may think we know the meaning of many other words that we can easily misunderstand unless we understand their application for when they were written. Owning a Bible dictionary is helpful in understanding these words.
The point is that the Scriptures should ultimately have the same meaning to everyone. If we differ from others as to what a passage means, then we should reason together. If we do not understand certain teachings, then we should study them. We may very well consult others who better understand these teachings and ask for Scriptural references. We may get their opinion, but we should not take it for absolute truth until we have studied and verified for ourselves that it is, in fact, the truth. How does their opinion stack up to what the Bible says?
Acts 17:2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.
Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
There is no easy way to conquer understanding the Bible... it won't happen overnight. Consistent study will get us there, and constant study will help us know that there can only be one truth for everyone, which is the way God intended it to be. The truth is before us if we genuinely desire to know it. It comes down to our desire to have a genuine and meaningful relationship with God. We should strive to have the same understanding and be of like mind concerning the Bible.
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Paul urges us all to be in agreement and to "speak the same thing." He tells us that we should have "no divisions" among us so that we can be "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." We have to be in agreement as to what the Word of God is telling us.
John 8:28-32 So Jesus told them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority. Instead, I speak only what the Father has taught me. Moreover, the one who sent me is with me. He has never left me alone because I always do what pleases him." While he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are really my disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Ephesians 3:1-6 For this reason I, Paul, am the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you gentiles. Surely you have heard about the responsibility of administering God's grace that was given to me on your behalf, and how this secret was made known to me through a revelation, just as I wrote about briefly in the past. By reading this, you will be able to grasp my understanding of the secret about Christ, which in previous generations was not made known to human beings as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets: The gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow sharers of what was promised in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Jesus said, "If you continue in my word, you are really my disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Paul wrote that by reading this (God's Word), we can "grasp" the understanding of the secret about Christ. The secret is out... we indeed can understand it in this day and time.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand all things.
Colossians 2:2-4 Because they are united in love, I pray that their hearts may be encouraged by all the riches that come from a complete understanding of the full knowledge of Christ, who is the secret of God. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will mislead you with nice-sounding rhetoric.
2 Timothy 2:1-7 As for you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. Join me in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving in the military gets mixed up in civilian matters, for his aim is to please his commanding officer. Moreover, no one who is an athlete wins a prize unless he competes according to the rules. Furthermore, it is the hard working farmer who should have the first share of the crops. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you to understand all these things.
We can have the full knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord because God has given us everything we need in His Word.
2 Peter 1:2-3 May grace and peace be yours in abundance through the full knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord! His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the full knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence.
God "has given us everything we need for life and godliness" through His Word. God will give us the ability to understand what we need to know if we truly desire it. However, there will be those who will not understand the truth.
2 Peter 3:15-18 Think of our Lord's patience as salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him. He speaks about this subject in all his letters. Some things in them are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the Scriptures. And so, dear friends, since you already know these things, continually be on your guard not to be carried away by the deception of lawless people, lest you fall from your secure position. Instead, continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to him both now and on that eternal day! Amen.
The "ignorant and unstable" will distort the Scriptures to their own destruction. If we do not study the Bible, we will be ignorant of ourselves because we will be ignoring the Scriptures. This lack of study is one reason why we have so many different interpretations. We cannot ultimately look to man to know the truth; we must look to the Word of God to prove all things. We must study to show ourselves worthy of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
James 1:18-25 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Jeremiah 6:16(a) Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.
Let's study God's Word.
God bless you!