Third Time’s a Charm

The third time eating and drinking the whole of His body and blood from cover to cover will be even better. You will add depth to your realization that God is always in control, and you are His child not because of what you believe but because you love Him and can’t imagine leaving. You will know He loves you too, and will continue to guide you and bring forth fruit from within you, sometimes even when you don’t realize it. Connections between all of the previously misunderstood sections will become clearer. As His Word works its way through your heart, mind and literally your muscles and body parts, filling and changing you, you will wonder how you were making it in life before when you were so deaf, dumb, and blind.

Reading, and re-reading, doing and adding to our doing, over and over again, is all part of the salvation process. The more you read, the more you will understand. The more you act, the more you will understand. This is called being filled with the Word or “knowledge of His will” (Colossians 1:9-12). As your understanding grows, then teach it to others. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) the Law (a.k.a. all of the Word) will be written on your heart, and you will know it and do it without having to be told. But keep reading and doing and teaching. This is love in action – love for God, and love for each other.

4“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NASB95. See also Deuteronomy 11:19)

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 The Stages of Whole Bible Reading

Second Time Through

The second time through the Bible you will have a changed perspective. Many of the sections you struggled with before will start to become clearer. This is because the larger cubbyholes can handle more of what He’s trying to get across to you. The cubbyholes will also be arranged better, in more God-centered ways. You will remember a little better, and you will see connections between sections of the Word that you didn’t see before. This second time through the Bible might scare you a little, because you are getting better at taking God at His Word. You may doubt your salvation a little, because His standard will seem so much higher than you can reach. The fear of God at some point will become sharper and more defined. You will wince when some unbeliever uses His name in vain or an alleged believer speaks things that aren’t in the Word. Stay calm, focus on the Word, and brace yourself for the third time through.

First Time Jitters

The first time reading through the whole book, there will be sections you do not understand. They won’t seem to have a place in your daily living. Trust me (better yet, trust God) they will eventually make sense. What is happening is that as you read and do, your frame of reference, your worldview and the cubbyholes in your brain that you’ve been using to store information are getting enlarged and rearranged. The first time through (remember, with the determination to do what you read) is the toughest. You will stop and start and retrace your steps a lot. You will ask a lot of questions. Just be patient and give yourself time to absorb it.
‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 section on The Stages of Whole Bible Reading

Cosmic Ventriloquist

We need a frame of reference when God wants to speak through us. Jesus tells us that when we are brought before governors and kings for His sake we will be given what to say by the Holy Spirit.

19“But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20“For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. (Matthew 10:19-20 NASB95. See also Mark 13:11 and Luke 12:11)

How will we know what to say unless we have His Words filling our hearts? I suppose He could do it like a supernatural ventriloquist, but that’s not the way He usually does things. Except maybe with donkeys (Numbers 22).

26“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (John 14:26 NASB95)

We aren’t dummies (I’ll refrain from the puns) so it’s much more likely that He will bring to our remembrance what has been laid up inside of us for just that occasion. If we read His Words and do them on a regular basis, the Spirit has a full storehouse of living oracles from which to draw.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 section on Read and Strive to do

Read and Strive

Some people say lots of reading is too hard. They can’t grasp it all. There is a preference for only doing a few verses at a time and “covering them in depth.” Based on tons of experience, my opinion is this attitude is smoke and mirrors. The real reason we don’t want to do a lot of reading is we don’t want to hear His voice. Then we’d have to do something about it – either move towards Him or away.

What does examining a few verses in-depth really mean? How many times have you read a section over and over, only to find out after years of “in-depth” study there was something you missed? How many centuries have been devoted to “in-depth” analysis and commentary, and we ignore Him still? If we really want to understand the Word, we have to read a lot of it. We also have to respond. Sitting like a bump on a log and listening to a pastor or rabbi drone on and on with opinions or stories about a bicycle trip through Ireland is not going to produce what God wants. It certainly doesn’t make fruit. All we’ve got to do is look at the church honestly and we can see that. Eating His body and drinking His blood is the ticket to life.

From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 Read and Strive to Do

Right Standing

God never intends for His people to stand in one place once we gain right standing with Him. He wants us to move. The beginning of our movement should be in taking on all of His ways as spelled out in His Law. It is the best discipleship system ever designed, and is guaranteed to produce fruit that is pleasing to God.

The Holy Spirit uses it to tutor us in the way we should go, and when we get ‘all grown up,’ it still functions to guard and protect. His Word is the foundation on which we can build a house that honors Him in every area. His Law is love in action, and through it we learn how to love Him and how to love others as well.

Manna 4-22-13

Manna (whole Bible group reading for Bible meetings) for this week is Leviticus 21-24:23; Ezekiel 44:15-31; and Luke 18-20. Extra readings are Matthew 5:38-42 and Galatians 3:26-29.

If you are using the Manna booklet to stay on track with reading the Bible in a year (3 chapters a day, 5 on Saturday), this week is Ecclesiastes 10 through Isaiah 13.

Whatever reading schedule you choose, just read it and do it.

Whole Bible definitions: Atheism – much ado about nothing.

Quote from Bruce in ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ – “I’d rather be a dog in heaven than a lion in hell.”

Repentance

From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 2 on Repentance

Repentance and love for God go hand in hand. We can’t have one without the other. If we repent, we stop going our own way and start going His (1 Kings 8:47; 2 Chronicles 6:37; Job 42:6; Jeremiah 8:4-13; Ezekiel 14:6; Matthew 11:20, 21). The first recorded word out of the mouths of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus (Matthew 4:17) for their public ministries was ‘repent.’ If we are going the wrong way on a road, we would change directions once we realized our error.

‘Feeling sorry’ for what we have done or are doing, yet continuing to go the wrong way, is not repentance. It is certainly not love. Joel says “rend your hearts, not your garments” (Joel 2:13). A lot of times, ‘sorry’ feelings are very strong, to the point of weeping or other expressions of anguish. Herod was “exceedingly sorry” to behead John the Baptist, and did it anyway (Mark 6:26). Sorry feelings are not true repentance if they don’t produce a change in behavior (Jonah 3:8, 9; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10). True repentance is when we change what we are doing (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8). We go from ignoring His Law to following it.

Quick Summary of the Promise

Summarized from ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 4 The Promise

The Word is bound together with the Promise of a Savior. Sometimes called a covenant. God’s side of a covenant is always a promise, because no one can make Him deliver.

Genesis 3:15 The promise is made
Genesis 6:18, 9:9, 9:25-27 the promise is given to Noah
Genesis 12:1-3 Abraham inherits the promise, details of a land and descendants added
Genesis 13, 15, 17, 22, 24, 26, and 28 The promise inherited by Isaac and Jacob
Exodus 2:24, 6:8, 12:25 Israel rescued from Egypt because of the promise
Deuteronomy 6:1-4 the Law as part of the covenant or promise
Joshua 1:3 promise given to Moses
2 Sam. 7:11-16 Promise given to David, with more details of a son and a kingdom forever
1 Chronicles 16:14-18 David summarizes the promise or covenant
Acts 2:38-39 Peter says repent to receive the promise which is for all who are called
Acts 13:23-24 Jesus, son of David, brought to Israel as a Savior as promised
Romans 1:1-4 the gospel of God promised beforehand through the prophets concerning His Son
Romans 4:16 the promise guaranteed to all by faith through grace
Galatians 3:29 if we belong to Christ we are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise
Ephesians 2:12 we were separate from Christ, strangers to the covenants of promise
2 Peter 3:9 the Lord is not slow about His promise, wishing all to come to repentance
1 John 2:25 Eternal life is the promise

There are more verses scattered throughout the Word. Try the words ‘covenant’ and ‘promise’ in a good Bible software search and see what you can come up with. Good books on the subject are The Promise-Plan of God by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. and The Prophets and the Promise by Willis Judson Beecher.

The Second Sermon on the Mount

From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 7 The Second Sermon on the Mount

Matthew in chapters five, six and seven of his gospel account records for us the second Sermon on the Mount. Yeah, I said second because the first was at Mt. Sinai with Moses, who relayed it to Israel. The second is similar to the first; even identical. Since Jesus actually gave both sermons, we would expect they would sound alike, which they do. In fact, what we really have here is Jesus cutting through man’s false teachings about what He set down at Sinai. He repeats His message over and over and over and over in the Bible. Man’s interpretations or applications of the Law to that point were lacking, so Jesus corrected them.

In 5:17 He says He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill. The word ‘abolish’ is clear – it means eliminate (or destroy, or change). As in ‘I did not come to eliminate the Law.’ It wouldn’t make very much sense for Jesus to say, “I did not come to abolish the Law, but to abolish it.” The word ‘fulfill,’ used as the opposite of ‘abolish,’ means to interpret correctly so that words are given their proper meaning. It’s clear in this context Jesus is saying He would not destroy the Law through wrong interpretation. So we can read this statement as, ‘I did not come to remove or destroy or change the Law, but to correctly interpret it so it would be put back on a firm foundation.’

The word ‘fulfill’ by itself also means to ‘fill up full,’ as in filling up the foundation forms of a house with cement. Jesus cements His intention by telling us that even the tiniest part of God’s Law will not change until heaven and earth pass away. Some try to make the phrase “until all is accomplished” to mean Jesus changed the Law through the resurrection. But heaven and earth certainly did not pass away at that time. Therefore the Law still stands, placed on firm foundation by the Giver and Interpreter. It is still absolutely applicable to everyone.

Whole Bible Christianity book draft