Category Archives: Christian Living

Stop Studying Your Bible!

I hope the title of this post got your attention! It’s not that I am against Bible study… indeed I am not! But I am concerned that in American Christianity we have elevated the pursuit of knowledge through “Bible study” to a level that the Lord did not intend. You see, just as your body needs a balanced diet of the various food groups, so does your spiritual life need the balanced intake of spiritual disciplines.  I mean it’s good to have fruit in your diet, but eating fruit while neglecting other food groups would not be wise in the long run. It’s the same with spiritual disciplines.

When it comes to engaging with God’s Word, Bible study is one of several disciplines. I fear that too many Christians study their Bibles to the neglect of simply reading the Bible, memorizing Scripture, meditating on God’s Word, praying about God’s Word, and seeking to apply God’s Word.

Yes, study your Bible. But make sure you don’t neglect the other disciplines of the Word.

MEDITATION: ISAIAH 43.18-19 (JANUARY 2019 SCRIPTURE MEMORY)

For the month of January, our Scripture Memory passage at Harvest Jacksonville is one of great hope… of new beginnings… of promise…  Isaiah 43.18-19.

Although I usually prefer to memorize Scripture in the KJV or NKJV, I actually memorized verse 18 years ago in the NIV (1984), so I will stick with that translation for this passage:

18 Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Challenge: READ through the WHOLE BIBLE in 2019…

I’m passionate about helping YOU read through God’s Word in 2019. I promise you that if you will take on this challenge… and persevere… YOU WON’T REGRET IT! I guarantee it!

Here’s a list of recent videos I’ve made on the subject:

> If you haven’t read through the Bible why not?…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO6Kh6HCycs&t=69s

> It only takes 15 minutes a day!…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUlAFjp9Fdw

> Tips for reading through the Bible in a year…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IDAQeVJpjY&t=3s

> Pastor Brett’s preferred plan for reading through the Bible in one year…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7lwGLv-iMc&t=4s

Meditation Isaiah 9.6 (December Memory Verse)

Isaiah 9.6 in the ESV and the NKJV:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (ESV)

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NKJV)

While most Bible translators place do not place a comma between “Wonderful” and “Counselor” (ESV, NASB, etc.), some don’t (KJV, NKJV). While it may not seem like a big deal, it does change the number of names from 4 to 5. One needs to remember that the original Hebrew did not have punctuation marks, so the translator is forced into making an interpretive decision. I think that 4 names is correct, partially because it keeps the symmetry of the list, with each name having at least two words.

One thing I like better about the KJV/NKJV rendering is the use of the word “unto.”  There is two reasons for this. First, I grew up hearing the familiar, majestic language of the King James Version every Christmas. So there is some nostalgia involved. Second, I cannot seem to get Handel’s Messiah out of my head. I simply cannot imagine the choir singing “For TO us a child is born” instead of “For UNTO us a child is born.”

But in making reference to Handel’s Messiah, I must acknowledge that, Handel having used the King James Version, his song supports the idea of FIVE names: Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Regardless of whether Isaiah was prophesying about a coming Messiah who would be Wonderful and a Counselor OR a Wonderful Counselor, there is not doubt He was talking about our glorious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.