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Friday: Further Thought ~ Living by the Word of God — 24 Comments

  1. After I wrote my comment yesterday, I had a chat with my sister. She usually reads my comments, and she mentioned her memorizing difficulties when we were kids. We talked about memorising Scripture and her struggle in remembering verses. I guess in modern terms she had some form of dyslexia because memorization was not really her thing. She took a ;long time to learn that it was Adam and Eve who lived in the Garden of Eden. And in typical sibling fashion, my brother and I were not very kind to her. (I have her permission to tell you this.)

    There are two things that I have learned about my sister as we matured. Firstly, she may have had difficulty in memorizing texts, but she understood what they were about. She has taught me a great deal over the years about compassion, understanding, love, and forgiveness. In particular, I owe her a great debt for time and effort she put into looking after our mother in her declining years. You do not have to memorise Scripture to live by it.

    Secondly you do not need to have the ability to memorize a lot of complicated facts to be smart and intelligent. My sister is a constant reminder to me that you do not need to have a PhD to be wise.

    In the wrap-up for this quarter’s study on “Interpreting Scripture”, I return to theme that I have expressed a number of times: It is not how much we can quote but whether we have a relationship with God that communicates to others. The best interpretation of Scripture is to live like Jesus. Often, that is the only “Scripture” that makes sense to our secular friends.

    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matt 22: 37-40 KJV

    • I got to quote what Maurice Ashton says, "The best interpretation of Scripture is to LIVE LIKE JESUS." What a 'comely' and happy phrase! There is nothing else to add to it. If we are able to live like Jesus, it's because we already know all Scriptures by heart! Amen.

      • I am sure you would agree it is not I but Christ in every look and action, and in every thought and word.

        Christ used the testimony of two worshipers to explain this to us and his focal disciples. One was justifying self and the other was asking God to void himself of self. He knew he could not do it himself. He knew the source of living a selfless life. Luke 18:9-14.

        It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely. COL 159.4

    • Maurice, thank you very much for graciously leading out this quarter's bible study. I am new to this circle of believers and am continually blessed by everyone's contribution. It's a joy to be able to study the Scriptures together!

      Reading different participant's comments, I have learned that all of us have love for our heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ in common, and are happy to share what He has put into our hearts and minds with others.

      Maurice, you have continued to point out that sharing through service is your preferred method to communicate the Holy Spirit's love to others. 1Peter 4:7-11 reminds us: v.11 - "that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" Quoting you: "You do not have to memorise Scripture to live by it" - yes, true service comes straight from a heart that loves.

      This last quarter, the Holy Spirit has been elevated to the position He deserves - to be the ultimate source of Truth and Inspiration. I think that all of us have gained a new appreciation about the Holy Spirit's work in us and through us.
      Without Him, we could not function in our new nature and would still be bound to the forces of the flesh, our *own* will.
      With the Holy Spirit residing in us, we have now given our life into God's hands, lend our body's members to Him and submit our will to His to let Him work through us.
      This is the only act of ongoing obedience we are called to - to submit our will to His so that we can walk in the newness of His Life! Rom.6:1-7.

      As you know, I love Truth in a nutshell (though this is probably more the size of a Coconut 🙂 ) - Psalm 119 provides this for me. I Googled to find out the writer of this Psalm and found an interesting comment:
      'The Psalm (118 in the Septuagint) figures prominently in the worship of the Orthodox Church. There is a tradition that King David used this Psalm to teach his young son Solomon the alphabet - but not just the alphabet for writing letters: the alphabet of the Spiritual Life.
      The KJV's page heading reads: "Open thou mine eyes"; "I trust in Thy Word"; "I love thy Law"; "Thy Word is very pure"; "Great are Thy tender mercies".

      Some time ago, I had the impression that it would be a wonderful experience if the young people in our church would be allowed to 'preach' in this format - reading Psalm 119, each reading a chapter until all chapters were read.
      Maybe someone else finds inspiration to lead out in this effort in their own church family. I am sure that it will be a great blessing to everyone exposed to the Word of God!

      • Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Brigitte and JC. I enjoy being a fellow traveller on our journey.

    • I was in the congregation at church several years back and a teen was giving a before the sermon youth report. Her comment stuck in my mind. “Some of you may wonder how we are able to quote the scriptures and witness of our faith. It is repetition, we daily spend time in the Bible and in prayer.”

      One consolation for us who struggle with our memorization is found in Wintley Phipps words. “It is in the quite crucible of our personal private sufferings that our noblest dreams are born, and Gods greatest gifts are given in compensation for what we have been through.” To all who struggle with memorization, hang in there, it pays off.

      Several years back the pastor was asking for testimonies, there was a pause, so the pastor asked for someone to quote from memory Psalms 23. I piped up and quoted perfectly so I thought. Pastor said good, but you left out. Verse 3. I haven’t forget it since. “He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake.” KJV.

  2. Memorizing Scripture is excellent and even if I don't remember the exact words, so long as I remember the main idea, I can use my phone to look up the text.
    The topic that came up in my MAP time (meditation and prayer) was is OSAS true? (once saved always saved)
    Two passages were brought to mind:
    Phil 1:6 shows me the LORD is continually, daily, working on my heart so that when he comes I will be saved
    John 15:4-6 to continue to be spiritually alive I need to abide, live, in the LORD, me in Him and He in me, daily or I will wither and be cast out.
    My conclusion is I am saved as long as I surrender my heart, spirit, mind and body to Jesus daily.
    Praise the LORD for His goodness and mercy, His loving kindness and longsuffering. Ex 34:6-7

  3. The word of God is living,because is within our heart whatever we do is reporting us to wrong or right.

  4. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Ps 119:11

    Living by the Word of God
    How does one live by the word?

    qu # 2
    Think about the role that the Sabbath can and should play in terms of giving us quiet time with God. How does keeping the Sabbath protect you from being so caught up in working.

    The bible gave clear instructions how to celebrate the sabbath. The sabbath belongs to God and he asked us to celebrate it according to his liking. But the sabbath cant be turn on and off, its impossible. If I was working all week without the sabbath rest, I might have being dead by now. The sabbath is special to those who make it special to them. A day to spend with God, to reflect on his grace, kindness, guidance and protection during the week. I am someone who literally and audibly talk to God. People will ask me if I am saying something to them, will let them know I am talking to God. I will discuss with him about those near miss and thank him for being there for me. We reflect on the week and thank his for his overcoming power to change my life. Thank him for putting that song in my heart at that very time I need it the most.

  5. "I have set the Lord always before me, because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved"(Ps 16:8).

    So how does one "set the Lord" before them?

    "For all His judgments were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me"(Ps 18:22).

    Whether we memorize word for word or internalize principles, by obeying the statues of the Lord, nothing will cause us to stumble(Ps 119:165). To love God is to love His law(Torah) and we will delight to do His will(Ps 40:8; 119:11).

    From God's word we have the keys to interpreting scripture. In a word: obedience(John 7:17), while the greatest obstacle to correct interpretation is sin(Dan 12:10; 2 Thess 2:10-12).

  6. I just want to take this time to thank all of you, especially Maurice and Shirley and others for insight thoughts and guidance with the direction of the Holy Spirit in enlightening God's word through this quarter.
    God will continue to bless you abundantly.

  7. I grew up in a Spanish speaking country, and I learned the key Bible verses in said language. Now I am trying to memorize those verses in English, but the task is almost impossible since I am 88 years old. I keep forgetting the key words. Is there anybody having a similar experience?

    • Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth.......when thou shall say I have no pleasure in them. Eccle 12:1
      Bro Nic I am so glad to hear you are 88yrs old. You seems to be sharp to me. I like memorizing texts because that’s what I did as a child in the same language. Don’t know any Spanish but what I was told in the conversion of either English to Spanish or visa versa the words are not the same. English though widely read and spoken can be the most challenging language. God will accept your best.

      • Lyn, thanks for your comments. I did remember the Creator in my youth, thanks to my parents and teachers. I did memorize hundreds of favorite texts from the Bible, but in Spanish when I was young.

        My task now is to learn those quotations in English, but due to my age, the task that was so easy has become extremely difficult, but I am not giving up. God bless, and have a happy Sabbath!

    • The Lord with His infinite wisdom will guide you Nic Samojiluk...I will pray for you...nothing is impossible with God.

    • Wow, amazing Nic still going strong in the LORD! I am curious, why do you want to memorize the verses in English? It does certainly keep your mind active to learn something new. Is it to share with others? What is your method of memorizing? If we know why and how you have tried maybe we could make some suggestions to help.

      • Thanks for asking. I try to memorize those verses for the following reason: I have several internet pages where I share my views, and I like to quote the Bible. If I quote the Bible in Spanish, most readers will not benefit.

        The method I use to memorize is simple. I attempt to repeat the text without any help,and if I fail, I look at the text. Sometimes I succeed after 20 or thirty trials.

        On occasion, I have been tempted to give up. I have a long list of biblical texts I would like to memorize. If the Lord grants me a long life, I may succeed.

        • Nic, what a wonderful witness you are for the LORD. As I get older I find I need to use tools like hearing aids, similarly I use tools like electronic bibles, like when I am writing this post and wish to quote I just open another web page like bible hub and find the verse, either by the reference or a few words. Are the references eg John 3:16 the same in Spanish as in the English translations?
          I totally understand about it being harder to memorize especially in another language. I have found writing out the texts on flash cards and reading them over and over again so they become familiar very helpful. I actually punch a hole in the corner and put them on a large ring to carry with me, then I can flip through them to find the one I need.
          Another suggestion is to just give a direct translation with a note saying "my paraphrase"
          I am sure many of these ideas have already occurred to you, I have found that it is good to share thoughts and ideas, I have discovered brainstorming with others can be helpful, sometimes I find myself saying - that is just what I need to do, it so simple why didn't think of it myself? I just needed a little help to turn on the light bulb in my brain🌻📖

          • Thank you, Shirley, for your wise comments. You asked: "Are the references eg John 3:16 the same in Spanish as in the English translations?" The answer is, "Yes."

            Last night, I kept waking up for some reason, and I kept repeating: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you." This was a big help.

  8. John 17: 20 & 21 - Jesus prayed for ME, so that I can be one with Him
    John 16:33 - Jesus faced everything we do and overcame, so that I too may overcome.

  9. Maurice, this is a very wonderful testimony in "Living the Word of God":
    "She has taught me a great deal over the years about compassion, understanding, love, and forgiveness. In particular, I owe her a great debt for time and effort she put into looking after our mother in her declining years."
    Thank you sincerely for sharing, and please thank your Sister for me and others who are uplifted by her living the Word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

  10. For me, this lesson on How to Study the Bible, really fell short. What did we learn about studying the bible? We got the closet about "difficult texts" but the entire lesson was about support for belief in the bible, which would have been the better title. Miss opportunity for the church adult SS Lesson.

  11. Thank you, Maurice, for your thoughts and leadership during this quarter. I especially appreciate the extra background you have provided here and there.


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