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" Being a Berean "

You say you "believe", for "without faith it is impossible to please" God (Heb11:6) ...but do you know 'what' you believe? Do you know 'why' you believe what you believe?

This past week after we addressed one of the hypocrisies of AV1611-only-ism, a subscriber replied with thoughts along the order that: Many people believe what they do because that's how they've been indoctrinated. This indoctrination includes the militant attitude and lies; but the ones thus-indoctrinated, themselves, often do not realize that it is lies. They 'trust' what they've been told, often because those teaching are quite persuasive and/or employ cultish mind-control methodology.

Are you a KJV-only-ist? Why? If you think about it, do you -really- "know" why you are KJV-only-ist? After growing up with KJV, not even being aware that there was such a thing as "KJV-only-ism", I then spent 20 years of my life with the NASB? Why? Because the 'experts' said, "It was the -most-accurate- translation." Who were these so-called experts? Famous well-know seminary professors, pastors and public speakers. Where I went to Bible school, one of the professors who seemed-to-know this stuff 'said so'. At the time, only the N.T. was available. A few years later, the whole Bible was finished, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. Why? Because I wanted what was "most accurate". The professor said it was; therefore it must be so. After all, he had the advanced degrees, and I was a snot-nosed 'kid', barely out of high school. Of course, many of you know that it comes from the Alexandrian heresies, which I also eventually learned about, and then forsook it.

Faith, salvation, heaven, hell, eternal life, God, satan, living a holy life, witnessing, resisting temptation to sin, matters of the spirit, miracles, tongues, healings, etc... and the list could go on and on... things about which people either derive their doctrines FROM SCRIPTURE, or they hear teachers purporting to proclaim FROM SCRIPTURE.

What do you believe? Let me ask again: What do -YOU- (yourself) believe? I've heard of cases where somebody talks with someone of the world, and they end up saying things like, "Let me ask my pastor, and I'll get back to you." or, "come to church with me" in order to learn Truth.

What do you believe? Do you know that what you believe is Truth? How do you know that your doctrines are not merely the rantings of that snake-oil salesman from that podium or book, that you have swallowed hook-line-and-sinker? Another person this past week asked my "opinion" regarding one of the popular TV-evangelists. How can we know whether it is right to "blow" on people to 'slay' them? This particular evangelist also -teaches- "from-the-Bible". Somebody else, within the past week or so sent me a lengthy treatise by somebody-or-other, referencing Scripture passages right and left, and also the Koran, teaching (among other things) that Mohammed was the fulfillment of Jesus' promise of the coming "helper" (Jn15:26), not the Holy Spirit.

"Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things are so. Therefore many of them believed.." (Acts17:10-12)

A part of this passage that usually gets omitted when "searched the Scriptures daily" is quoted; people usually stop at vs11. But notice vs12, "Therefore many of them believed.." Notice that this belief came -after- what? "..searching the Scriptures.." How does Salvation come about? From hearing a great evangelist and being invited to "come forward"? From signing a "decision card"? No. "Faith is of hearing..." But 'hearing' is not alone. What is the -substance- of that hearing? "..and hearing through the WORD OF GOD." (Rom10:17)

"Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb11:1) How does one find "evidence"? How did those of Berea find it? They -searched- the Scriptures.

The person who sent me the file regarding Mohammed supposedly taking the place of the Holy spirit, also noticed along with me that one of their opening Scripture references was wrong. How did we know this? Because we looked up the reference and -read- it. How many of you, when sitting under somebody's teaching, actually have your Bibles on your lap, and when a reference is given, if you don't already know it, do you actually look-it-up? Does that which the speaker is proclaiming agree with the Scripture he just gave? If you were to read the context of the passage, is he teaching correct doctrine? You know, referencing back to my Bible school days... believe it or not, I have saved in a file drawer every single note I ever took in those lectures. I've never much actually looked at them since, but they are there. On one occasion, a few years ago, I had cause to go look something up from one of those classes. While I was looking up one particular subject, the thing that flabbergasted me was, out of curiosity, as I poked around in those notes, looking at the subject matter that had been the class lecture, I then also looked up the Scripture references next to those notes. The references, of course, would have been those given by the professor as he was lecturing, and he might have been lecturing, but we never actually looked at those passages during the lecture. The 'disgusting' thing I discovered, from this one particular professor, for those couple of pages I reminisced through, I would guess that easily 40% of the references in my notes had absolutely NOTHING to do with the topic he would have been lecturing about! It rather stunned me, to say the least!

Back during those school days, having to work to put myself through school, I was not able to be as 'thorough' in my studies... relying on what was absolutely necessary to "get-by". I wonder how many fellow-students did the same thing? Listening to lectures, and answering test questions based on those lectures. Becoming indoctrinated by that (Bible) school. But the teachings, -NOT- from the Scriptures being claimed for that teaching.

I was not a "Berean"!! I listened to the professor, but did NOT "search the Scriptures". For what purpose? "..to see whether those things were so.." Does what the person is saying actually agree with Scripture?

What is God's order? Certainly there are the pastors and teachers who equip for the ministry. (Eph4:11-12) But what did one of those teachers proclaim to Timothy? Where was he to get his knowledge and understanding? From the Scriptures. How does one become "perfect" and "thoroughly equipped"? By "[knowing] the Holy Scriptures...All Scripture.." (2Tim3:14-17)

Oh but..somone will ask: How can I understand the Scripture, unless I read somebody's commentary to explain it to me? Well, that is one of catholicism's lies. They have their (elevated) priesthood that talks (down) to the 'laity'. Bringing the Scriptures "down to their level". Well, oops, sorry! I've heard 'baptist' pastors use such terminology, too. The pastor is "way up here", and the pastor's job is to bring the Scriptures "to their level" of understanding. And so, as a result, christendom proliferates with "scholarship".

Again, notice Paul's words to Timothy regarding this, "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and empty babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge.." (1Tim6:20) What had already been "committed" to his "trust"? The Scriptures. (2Tm3:14-15) And what was the warning of what would happen if Timothy were to wax all "scholarly"? "..by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith..." (1Tim6:21) Ah, see that last word there, again? "Faith". What is involved in "faith"? Scholarliness? or Scripture? And what happens when one waxes scholarly? "-STRAYING- concerning the faith." Those commentaries will not bring you closer to God. Reading all those "great -MEN-" will not increase your faith.

What is the result of "straying"? By definition: "apostasy". What is today's "church" characterized by? Apostasy. What has today's "church" been doing? Listening to "men", and reading all their commentaries and books; but not -The- BOOK. When they proclaim their knowledge, it is "so-n-so teaches". But how many of them actually dig into the Scriptures? And with today's computer technology, and Bible software, "searching" is an easy thing to do. There is NO EXCUSE for anybody to not know things from Scripture. But the easier it is to "search" the Scriptures, it seems, the -less- today's "christian" does so.

Now, Saving Faith is 'child-like' (Mt18:3) ...and all the details are not necessary to know, because it is not our own cleverness or works that saves us, the Believer is Christ's "workmanship". (Eph2:8-10) But if a person is an adult, and growing in the Lord, with a functioning mind... well... God did not give us minds to leave as vacuums. Paul speaks of praying and singing "with the mind" (1Cor14:15)

The fact that you subscribe to a mailing list such as this one, suggests that you, too, dear reader, have a functioning mind. No, I don't know how to flatter (Job32:22, 1Th2:5)) nor how to wax intellectually, scholarlily erudite. (See? I can't even spell that word right!) I am no Francis Schaeffer, nor of the intellectual calibre of some of those other famous people. On the other hand, neither do we offer 'cartoons' here.

We offer 'direction'. But never, "Thus says PB". PB does not matter. He is merely a messenger, proclaiming, "Thus says Jehovah" (Ezek11:5) And what God says is found in the Scriptures. PB's 'opinions' do not matter. PB cannot get you to Heaven. Salvation comes only through the work of Jesus Christ (Jn14:6) who died and rose again. Whatever you receive from this ministry, be sure you know it comes from the Scriptures. Do not believe and adjust your thoughts and beliefs because "PB says so", but look up the multitude of Scripture references we include. Once in awhile my fingers slip up and I type a wrong number in a reference, which doesn't get discovered before mailing; and people notify me of that occasionally, and I correct it if it is posted at the website. But otherwise, the references always support 'some' aspect (or other) of what is presented.

Search the Scriptures, to see if what you are reading "is so".

A baby is fed milk and pablum. As the child gets older, they start eating regular 'people' food...but some older family member cuts the food up for them, into small bite-sizes, and spoons the food to their mouth. As they get even older, maybe the food is cut up for them, but they begin to learn how to wield the spoon for themselves. After time, they learn to cut their own food. And ultimately, after some more intermediate stages, they learn to prepare and cook their own meals.

Sometimes these mailings offer milk and pablum. But on the other hand, I am no gourmet chef. Most of these studies are somewhere in the middle of the spiritual development process. Some artwork connects-the-dots. What I try to do here is to provide the dots, with the numbers next to them. But I usually do not 'connect' the dots for you. That's what the Scripture references are for, as you exercise your 'minds'. For you who are on the mailing list, some mailings build on prior mailings. It is assumed that your memory (of your 'mind') allows you to remember one study, and then the 'current' one, and start putting 2 and 2 together, to come up with 4. One mailing is one "dot"; another is another. As they follow upon the trails of each other, eventually, a complete 'whole' emerges.

And as you read, remember and look up the references...and see "if those things are so.." If you find something to -NOT- be "so", then, please tell me; doing so from-the-Scriptures.

People wonder about certain famous preachers and authors. Well, what do they teach? And then: What does Scripture say? Search, to "find out".

People wonder about the proliferation of English translations of the Bible, and "which one is best?" Well, you can certainly go look up the various lists of 'proof texts' offered at different sources; but those proof texts are only part of the picture. They only represent the given list-maker's 'agenda' to help him promote his ideas as to what -he- 'thinks' is best. You know the best way to know for sure? Since you are reading this, it is clear that you already have a computer. Well, get yourself a software program such as Online Bible (available for 'free' downloading), and align the translations next to each other, and start reading, skimming between them all. When you see differences, look up the Hebrew or Greek in the lexicons. That is where the 'proof of the pudding' is. If you do very much of that, you may just be utterly amazed at what you will find! It will give you a whole new perspective of those so-called translation "scholars"!

How did Jesus teach the disciples? "...He opened their mind to understand the -Scriptures-." (Lk24:45)

What were the Bereans labelled, for their diligent searching of Scripture? "These were more -NOBLE-.."

And notice the order of things: They did not blindly believe, and -then- find Scriptures to "twist" (2Pt3:16) in order to 'support' their beliefs. They searched the Scripture -first-. That gave them a foundation: the "certainty" and "evidence" (Heb11:1) of God's Word. And once they had done so, what was the outcome? "..they believed.."

Amen!


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