Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

I have had the opportunity to be around several Muslims during my audit life. Muslims respect and revere their holy book, the Quran. Many of them have stands in their homes where they proudly display their Korans. Many Muslims will memorize large portions of their holy book. They won’t even let the bottom of their feet face their Koran out of the respect they have for their Koran. They have great respect for the book and hold it in high honor.

Now let us think about the Bible and how Christians treat their Bibles. I know a lot people will leave their Bibles in the back seat of their cars all week or just throw it on their dash board. Many Christians think nothing of throwing their Bibles on the floor. But, that is not the issue I want to bring up here. My question has to do with writing in your Bible. Do you mark or take notes in your Bible? I know they make Bibles that are designed specifically for you to take notes in them or to journal in your Bible. Does marking in your Bible show respect or disrespect or is it neutral in terms of the regard it shows for your Bible?

I personally do not write in my Bible. Some in my family mark their Bible like crazy and some pages of their Bible have every verse highlighted. That is not an exaggeration. Sticky notes and sermon notes can be found all throughout some of the Bibles. Mine does not have verses highlighted or underlined. Here are the reasons I try to keep my Bible clean of notes and highlights.

  1. Pen, pencil, and highlighters can take a toll on the pages. By marking in the Bible it will not last as long. It will wear out sooner. Some premium Bible are quite expensive and I want my Bibles to last as long as possible.
  2. By marking in your Bible, when you re-read verses the parts that are highlighted will naturally jump out at you. If there are no marks in the Bible, it will be like reading each verse fresh every time you read it. You won’t necessarily be drawn to what was meaningful the last time but can read it fresh. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you with just the words of Scripture and not past sermon notes or personal notes.
  3. If you work with Muslims or interact with Muslims, you can show that you respect the Bible just as much as they respect their Koran by not writing in it and by treating the printed Word with respect. By writing in it or throwing it around, you show that you don’t regard your Bible as highly as they regard their Koran.

The Bible is God’s Word and we should treat it as such. Having the Bible in the English language cost people’s blood and lives in history.  We owe a lot to translators in history who worked tirelessly and risked all so that it could be read by everyone far and wide in our language. We all have our ways of showing that respect; some of us by not writing and some of us by writing in it and keeping our thoughts on the page.

In the end, if we leave our Bibles closed all week we are not showing the regard for the Bible and giving it the priority in our lives that we should. So, I encourage you and urge you to read and spend time reading, memorizing, and meditating your Bible. Don’t wait until tomorrow. I urge you to do it today.

Do you writing in your Bibles? Do you highlight and take notes in it? Or, do you just have convictions against writing on the pages of your Bible? Perhaps your reasons for not marking in your Bible are more practical. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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There has been much made lately on youth leaving the church. I subscribe to a lot of podcasts where this has been a topic of conversation. This is not a conversation among just Calvinists or just Arminians but is a conversation that is taking place among Evangelicals of all stripes. There is apparently some kind of data, collected by someone like Barna, that supports this position. What the experts are saying is that American Evanglicals who are active in church as a youth have a tendency to leave the church once they graduate from high school, leave home, and go to college.

I am someone who was part of church youth in high school and left home to go to college and remained in the church. I experienced college as someone who was part of a local church and am still part of a local body of believers today. I now have children who are youth-aged. In fact, I am a parent of multiple teenagers. (Feel free to pray for me. I need it.) I sit watching the youth of our day praying that I don’t screw up as a parent and that my kids will have faith in Christ that will be their own and that their faith will continue to grow into adulthood and that they would be committed lifelong disciples of Christ.

What I see from so many youth today is that they are not part of the church as young people. Their parents take them to church and drop them off with the youth group. They hang out with a bunch of youth at church. They have Sunday School with their peers — which is positive since they are all experiencing the challenges of transitioning from childhood to adulthood. While at the youth group, they usually sit around on comfortable sofas because we all know that NOBODY would come if they had to sit in uncomfortable straight back chairs (gasp)! They listen to relevant music and not that boring stuff their parents listen to. And often times, they sit around and complain about how they are not respected because of their youth all the while remaining in their youth cocoon. After Sunday School, or Bible Study, they head off to the worship center for Sunday morning worship. And guess who they sit with during worship? That’s right: they sit with youth. After worship, they find their parents and ask to go eat lunch with the their friends in the youth.

On Sunday night often times the youth have their own get together for more fellowship and study — separate from adults. On Wednesday nights they are with the youth again. They may even have some other get-together on Friday or Saturday because there isn’t enough youth fellowship time already. Yes, I am being a bit sarcastic here.

So, I’ve mentioned four meetings at church: Sunday School, worship, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening. How many of those times do the youth at your church integrate with the church body and how many times are they with just the youth? Your answer is probably that the youth are with just youth about 75% or 100% of the time, if your church is like most American churches. If this is the case, how can we say that’s youth are leaving the church? I don’t think we can say that. I submit to you that youth are not leaving the church. I say that they were never part of the church–at least not while they were in the youth group. What they were part of during their youth years was a para-church group called “the youth ministry” but were not really part of the local church. If your church is like this, here are some critical things that your young person is missing out on.

1. First and foremost, they are missing out on worshiping with their family — particularly their mom and dad. They need to see that mom and dad are serious about worship and that they are there to worship God; not just to take their kid to the youth group. They need to see that mom and dad take the sermon seriously by taking notes and not texting and checking Facebook during the preaching.

2. They miss out on the inter-generational nature of the body of Christ. By being with youth all the time they are hanging out with those who are facing similar problems. That is true. But why not hang out (sometimes) with people who have already experienced those problems and have come through them? Why not learn lessons from people who can encourage youth as examples of those who have been through those tumultuous years?

3. They miss out on opportunities to serve and to be the body of Christ. To be part of the church they should be plugged in. They have no right to complain about being disrespected by adults due to their age if they aren’t trying to plug in and serve. Let us not encourage our youth to be spiritual navel gazers but people who are committed to building up the body of Christ by serving!

So, why shouldn’t youth drop out of church when they go to college. They don’t know what it is like to be part of the church and how beautiful the bride of Christ really is. Don’t misunderstand me. Teenagers need teenage friends. They need to know how to build friendships and develop relationships and hold each other accountable in the Lord. However, I don’t think that their relationships should be limited to those with peers. I am praying for a change in the church youth culture and that this change would take place before all of the youth that were never in the church leave the church.

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I really enjoy listening to J. Warner Wallace and his podcast called Cold Case Christianity.  You can find him at Please Convince Me or Cold Case Christianity.  I enjoy apologetics and listening to thinkers reason about faith and cultural issues.  I was recently listening to J Warner Wallace discuss the issue of abortion with an atheist.  Wallace mentioned to the atheist that his objections to abortion were not based on the Bible but based on pure reason.

I understand that you can’t reason with an atheist using the Bible.  You must use reason.  However, as a Christian I believe that the foundation for our convictions must be the Bible and not reason.  Reason and logic are a reflection of God’s character and the order that He has created.  On the other hand the Scriptures are direct revelation from God.  As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) says:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

God’s Word is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness that we may be complete and equipped for good works.  How can we use anything else as the foundation for our convictions?  Only God’s Word is without error.  I agree that when we are in “arguments” with non-Christians we should use reason but that is not the foundation for our convictions.  It is what we use to convince others of the reasonableness of our positions.  God’s Word is His revelation to us and should be the foundation on which we stand.  Reason is a reflection of his character and we must use reason as we look to His Word and apply it.  We should use reason in the public square but may we never say that Scripture is not the foundation for our beliefs and convictions.

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Do you ever eat the fantastic yogurt that has fruit at the bottom?  The yogurt is tasty but the sweet fruit at the bottom.  Sometimes I stir it up so that I can enjoy the fruit all the way through.  However, sometimes I eat the white yogurt and save the fruit at the bottom to eat by itself.  That way it is extra fruity and extra sweet.


This reminds me how some people read the Bible.  You can read the Bible and just get the main story and then leave it.  You are getting the basic surface level meaning.  You are just eating the white part of the yogurt.  But if you spend the time to dig deep into the Word you will get so much more out of it.  It requires work and time but in the end the Word means so much more and you get deeper truths out of it.  This is like getting the fruit at the bottom.  It is good but you have to get through the white yogurt to get to the fruit.  How would you describe your Bible reading or Bible study pattern?  Are you just getting the white yogurt or are you getting the fruit at the bottom?  How do you go about getting to the fruit at the bottom?

I believe the same is true for preaching.  Those who labor in their sermon preparation are able to give their congregations the fruit at the bottom.  Others who don’t see the value of preaching serve up white yogurt and end up with people are missing out.  Their people end up thinking that there is not much to the Bible when there is so much more.

I love my yogurt, especially when I get to the fruit at the bottom.

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