How do I read the Bible? Is the Bible trustworthy? What is an overview of the Bible? Why do churches meet together on a Sunday? What is Church?
What is the Trinity and why does it matter? Is Jesus divine? Is this important? Why is it hard to know God's will? Is it possible to miss out on God's purpose for my life? What's the deal with prayer? Isn't faith inherently irrational?
Science and Faith. Why is there evil in the world? Who Am I? Aren't all religions more or less the same? Regularly daily , prayerfully, slowly, with expectation, and with a teachable heart. It is also good to read the Bible in community with others, such as a Lifegroup. Two common approaches to reading the Bible are 'water skiing' and 'scuba diving'. A mixture of both is recommended. For more tools on reading your Bible, check out these useful websites:.
100 Bible Knowledge Questions
Biblex Biblex. Blue Letter Bible.
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If you want to go deeper still, here is a list of some excellent books. The ones at the top are the most accessible, while the ones at the bottom are the most academic. Recently a member of my congregation came to me with a good question about how to interpret the Bible. Here was my response, in seven parts:. It's important to define what we mean by the word 'literal'. It's essential to let the Bible speak for itself, rather than the reader imposing their own ideas onto it. For this, some understanding of the original context of the passage, and some understanding on the culture out of which it came, are extremely helpful.
With this proviso: yes, we should interpret the Bible literally. This also means that while the Bible contains historical and scientific facts, we shouldn't treat it like a science or history textbook. Let me explain a little more. The Bible is literally a library of 66 books the word Bible means "library". Like most libraries, this library contains works of different genres: history, poetry, wisdom sayings, letters, gospel texts, apocalyptic writings, and so on.
All students of literature know that you interpret different genres differently. We don't interpret a Women's Weekly magazine the same way we would a newspaper, a poem, or a study textbook! The same rule applies to movies: we interpret a documentary film differently than we would a historical movie, a superhero flick, a sci-fi adventure, or a romantic comedy.
One commonly misunderstood notion is that literal means true, so, it is believed, "real Christians" always interpret the entire Bible literally.
Literal does not always mean true, and true does not always mean literal. For example, the parables and psalms are true, but not literal in meaning. It depends on the intent of each particular biblical author. If one biblical author intended what he wrote to be taken literally, then we should take it literally. If another biblical author meant his words to be taken symbolically, then that's how we should take it. Although this principle is easy to state, it isn't always easy to apply. This gets even more complicated when you have a single author e.
Matthew, Mark, Luke or John whose work contain a combination of statements, some of which are meant to be taken literally, and some of which are not. Literal statements include, for example, "Follow me. But the gospels also contain parables that convey truth, but are not meant to be literal descriptions of reality.
They also contain hyperbolic speech, such as in Matthew — a common way of speaking in the Middle East, where a speaker deliberately exaggerates to make a point. So the answer to the question is: There is no one-size fits all approach! It depends on the intent of the biblical author. This is one reason among many why Scripture should be read in community — where we can get the input of other Christians. And we can also consult godly men and women who have devoted their lives to studying the Bible, and produced commentaries to serve the church. How to interpret the Bible is crucial when it comes to areas of Christian theology.
For example, what Christians believe about specific issues, such as the nature of hell and conditional mortality. In such instances, it is essential to distinguish between dogma core Christian beliefs agreed upon by the entire church worldwide , doctrine important beliefs that have some amount of agreement between believers but also some disagreement , beliefs more peripheral beliefs that Christians have varying views on , and opinions. Picture concentric circles, with dogma in the middle, the circle of doctrine surrounding dogma, the circle of beliefs surrounding doctrine, and finally the circle of opinions surrounding beliefs.
The closer to the middle one goes, the more important it is to reach agreement between Christians. Dogma includes things like the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Jesus, His incarnation, His resurrection, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace, and so on. These are things are absolute non- negotiable s. But on other more peripheral issues such as the tribulation, or whether hell is conceived of as eternal in duration or eternal in consequence , unanimous agreement among Jesus-followers on such matters is less crucial.
In some countries today, the Bible is forbidden. Banned in many countries, yet desperately sought by persecuted Christians.
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The best-selling, most widely studied piece of literature, whose influence is unquestionable, whatever you think of the book. Much of our art, law, philosophy, music and literature have drawn upon the Bible. Yet this potency and influence aside, many people today want to ignore, rubbish, or reject the Bible. Three Initial Thoughts. So how might we answer the skeptic? How can Christians show that it is rational and reasonable to trust the Bible and take seriously what it says?
But before that, let me start by making three general comments. Unless you merely want to be a skeptic. Second, lots of people have bought into popular assumptions and myths about the Bible.
Questions Jesus Asked and You Ought to Answer - Community in Mission
So if somebody suggests the Bible is unreliable, ask them to be specific. How exactly? Encourage them to read the Bible for themselves before passing judgement on it. Something can be ancient and true. Likewise something can be bang up to date and false. The Historian and the Bible. Those comments aside, why trust the Bible? Well, first, many people are not aware that most historians take the Bible, especially the New Testament, very seriously indeed. Hans Kung put it nicely:.
Lay people are usually unaware that the scrupulous scholarly work achieved by modern biblical criticism … represented by scrupulous academic work over about years, belongs among the greatest intellectual achievements of the human race. Hell, In the Hebrew language, otherwise known as Sheol, means "nothing" literally. When we die, nothing happens. The bible tells us in revelation that only , people, that God has chosen, will Go to heaven. I could answer them all, but because I am a Jehovah's witness, I will say that the things that's different sects of Christianity believe in have no solid evidence in the bible.
OK, psalms tells us that only one god is the most high over all the earth. That's one of your questions answered. The reason nothing happens when we die is because, as Jesus said before he resurrected Lazarus, death is just a deep sleep, like unconsciousness or a coma.
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Another question answered. The book of Daniel tells us that soon, there will be a new system, a new world, where god will destroy the wicked and keep those who serve him to help god, along with Jesus and the ,, to rebuild the earth to a perfect state. Going back to question 2, those who have died will awake from there sleep and have a chance to prove themselves to god. This who obey god will get everlasting life, and will live without pain and will have a perfect body.