Saturday, March 30, 2013

The law of Moses

     The Old Testament book of Malachi has this interesting ending ' remember the law of my servant Moses'.     1000 years have passed since  Moses delivered the 10 commandments and the many other laws, to the people of Israel.
       What shall we say about this law today, 2,400 years after Malachi wrote.  This question has puzzled many, divided theological doctrine, been misused to control people , and alternatively by many disregarded as impossible.  Shall I tackle the subject  ??  -  yes  - not wanting to stir controversy, but it is so important, I shall briefly present my understanding of the relevance of Moses law today.

    We need to look at Moses and the law
                     -  Jesus and the law.
                            - the Gospels and the law
                                  -the epistles and the law

   Some say it is all for us.  Some seek to find sanctification thereby.  Some pick out parts to suit their agenda. Many toss it aside as irrelevant.

"The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ"     John 1:17

  This significant and strategic verse identifies a difference, yet not one eliminating either. Set in its context, John the apostle is showing the basis of God's reconciling the lost to Himself.

More next time

J  McKee

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Meditations on Malachi

This last book of the Old Testament is rather a sad story ( the Bible is rather good at telling things as they really are ).  Centuries before Moses had given the people of Israel the law with its potential for great blessing.  They  by disobedience to that law, incurred the curse of God and in various ways were punished .  Sometimes they were restored to God. Their time in Babylon for 70 years brought about something of  repentance and revival so that those who returned to Jerusalem were able to rebuild the city and the temple for the worship of God.

    Sadly after some years, the fervour faded and the people became more interested in their own things than God's .  Here Malachi steps up to sound the alarm trumpet.

    The introduction is interesting  -- a statement of God's love
                "I have loved you"
Again in 3:6 - the unchanging character of God is the haven of safety for those who will return to Him.

      How good it is to hope in God, even though we like sheep wander. He calls us back to Himself.

     The tragedy of Malachi's writing is the repeated questions which reveal both ignorance and rebellion. It is true of our day , 2013,  that so many are growing up in total ignorance of true standards, good values and God's words. Their conscience is so seared and twisted that they live without or  rather against God  and  when something goes wrong they blame God.  Nothing new?  the Jews of Malachi's day questioned and rebelled against God.

          Midst these depressing conditions, the prophet ignites the candle of hope  -  the Lord (Messiah) would come!
Chapter 3.1   The Lord appears after John the Baptist. He comes to fulfil the promise of salvation.
 Chapter 4.1  He is yet to come again to remove the dross and establish victory in righteousness.

       Even so come Lord Jesus

John McKee

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bible word studies - how ?

   Helpful hints
Use a Bible with English you understand. For those words that may have gone out of common usage, use a good dictionary. e.g. 'Redeem'  - to buy back, recover by expenditure. (Oxford dictionary).

The use of a computer is good - more on  that another day.
     To trace a particular word in the Bible, I use a Strong's concordance  For example to track the word 'love' in the gospel of John, I look up the word 'love' in the concordance.  There I find listed every occurrence in the KJV Bible. I need to check for other similar words  i.e. 'loved',    or a better way is to note on the right hand side a number which represents the original Greek word (25)  I then use this number to find 'love ' in  the Englishmans Greek concordance of the New Testament.  This book lists all the occurrences of the Greek word (in English). This brings together variant translations of the  same original word (Agape). By following through the verses listed, I find much help:
eg       John 3:16   God so loved the world
           John 3:35 the Father loves the Son
            John 13:1 Jesus loved His own
             John 17:26 The Lord Jesus prays for God's love to be in us!!

Of course it would be helpful to see what good commentaries have to say about these verse, but just to see the settings of the word is delightful. Further study is to use the same number (25) to discover in a word dictionary that 'agape'  is a special kind of love as distinct from  others. This kind of  love is to show mercy and grace in spite of any goodness or worth of those loved.  Digging a little deeper will reveal other significant words for love.

     In word study we need to often pause and ask questions  ??
        Who is it that loves?
          Who is it that God loves?
             What is the Bible context and time frame?
                Is it relevant for today?
                  What are the outcomes of this love?

To a prayerful searcher, the Holy Spirit will be a wonderful teacher. In searching the scriptures we must check our motives - is it just for knowledge, or to produce a sermon, or hoping for a shot for the day. These may be OK but are inferior to the best motive  -  to know HIM and to love HIM. True Bible study should lead to worship and love of the God revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

      Many other helps are useful eg    a Bible dictionary to help understand detail of places, people and culture etc. Other translations can shed light on word meanings.

      May God bless you as you search the sacred scriptures

John McKee

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Concluding studies in John's Gospel

       Much could be written about the teaching of the Lord to His disciples (13,14,15,16) and the Lord's prayer (17) and the death and resurrection (19,20,21). Maybe another day.
     I trust that some readers of this page have been encouraged to read this part of the Bible with broad minded thoughts, observing the purpose of the writing. Word study is good, chapter study is good but we must not miss John's stated purpose - to inspire faith that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and in believing to receive life eternal. (chapter 20:31). May all who read this page, take their place with the many in this Gospel narrative who believed Him, trusted Him, worshipped Him, obeyed Him and loved the Lord from heaven.

       It is good to link this Gospel with the other writings of John and pick up how relevant this is for today.

   Next blog?  Shall we look at Paul and his writings?    or navigate the Psalms?    or fix compass bearing through prophecy?
            Suggestions are welcome -
 The following extract is from the Believers Bible Commentary by William MacDonald (recommended)