Monday, January 27, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

This is late in coming, but the first Sunday of 2014, Bro. Tom ( preached an amazing sermon about new year's resolutions that I wanted to share.

1) I will read and meditate on God's Word so I will not allow my heart to deceive me or lead me to idols ("Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23)

2) I will give the Holy Spirit rule over my words ("Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee." Proverbs 4:24)

3) I will keep my eyes on Jesus and not allow myself to be distracted ("Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee." Proverbs 4:25)

4) I will test all of my actions against the ultimate goal of pleasing God ("Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established." Proverbs 4:26)

5) I will end the year as I began it: a servant of Christ ("Turn not to the right hand nor to the left:" Proverbs 4:27a)

6) I will grow in personal holiness (". . . remove thy foot from evil." Proverbs 4:27b)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Study - printable edition

Here is the printable version of the Bible study: CLICK HERE

You should be able to access and print the PDF. If you have troubles, please contact me and I'll see what I can do (withajoyfulnoise{at}gmail{dot}com).

Thursday, January 23, 2014


If you have never studied your Bible before, the information we have been covering the past few weeks is probably a little overwhelming. You might want to try it all or you might want to give up. Please, take things one step at a time.

Ask God how He would have you to study. It might be something completely different than what I have suggested and that is fine! Do as God leads.

Some people need to study a few minutes every day, others prefer to set aside several hours once or twice a week. Again pray to see what plan God would have for you.

As you study God's Word, He will begin to use it in your life ("For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12).

To study and never apply is described in James 1:22-25, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." As we begin to study God's Word, are we entering with a humble spirit to learn and apply, or are beholding God's truth then turning away, ignoring His Word in disobedience?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Only the Bible

Once you know how to find the words and their root words in a concordance, you can use simply the Bible as a concordance for the Bible. For instance, from the passage above, I can search for the word "sanctification" and I come up with:

If you notice, the root word for "sanctification" is always G-38. Looking up G-38, you will see that underneath the definition is a list of all of the words used from that specific Greek word.

Besides "sanctification," G-38 is also translated as "holiness." Now, look up the word "holiness" and find those with the root word G-38. Here are all of the words that I found with the root G-38 (both "holiness" and "sanctification"):

"I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." (Romans 6:19)

"But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Romans 6:22)

"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" (1 Corinthians 1:30)

"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:" (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

"That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;" (1 Thessalonians 4:4)

"For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:" (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

"Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." (1 Timothy 2:15)

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" (Hebrews 12:14)

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." (1 Peter 1:2)

Do We Need Other Books?
Is God's Word really enough for the believer, or do we need other books to help us along? While study books can be extremely helpful, I would caution any Christian in using "other books." Persuasive authors can use Scripture out of context and if we are not careful to use the Bible as our "plumb line," we can very easily be swayed to believe something that is not fully truth. Let us take into consideration the question at hand. Why would one think that the Bible is not enough? We can read many authors, some of which will claim that we only need the Bible, others who will claim that we need extra curriculum. Well, what does the Bible Itself say about this issue?

"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4)

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

"According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Peter 1:3-4)

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:6-8) (emphasis added)

If still in doubt after reading these passages, I would recommend you to read Psalm 119 and see what God thinks about His Word. Just as God opened the understanding of His disciples to know what His Word says ("Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures," Luke 24:45), God will open our understanding.

As this series concludes, may we apply ourselves to diligently study God's Word in 2014 so that
Jesus will not have to say to us as to the Pharisees, "Did ye never read in the scriptures. . ." (Matthew 21:42) or as to the Sadducees, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." (Matthew 22:29)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Studying a Passage

To gain understanding of an individual passage, it is beneficial to have both the Strong's concordance and Webster's 1828 dictionary on hand.

Choose a Passage
Sometimes, the Lord will lead you to study through a book. Other times, maybe it is just a memory verse or another verse that God has brought to your attention.

Study Key Words
Find the key (strong) words throughout the passage (these could be many or a few). Then, look up the definitions of these words both in Strong's Hebrew/Greek dictionary and Webster's 1828 dictionary.

For example, I will use a study that I recently did.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-6
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

Greek - (38) hagiasmos (hag-ee-as-mos'); from NT:37; properly, purification, i.e. (the state) purity; concretely (by Hebraism) a purifier:
Webster's - 1. The act of making holy. In an evangelical sense, the act of God's grace by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God. 2. The act of consecrating or of setting apart for a sacred purpose; consecration.

Should abstain
Greek - (567) apechomai (ap-ekh'-om-ahee); middle voice (reflexively) of NT:568; to hold oneself off, i.e. refrain:
Webster's - In a general sense, to forbear, or refrain from, voluntarily; but used chiefly to denote a restraint upon the passions or appetites; to refrain from indulgence.

Greek - (4202) porneia (por-ni'-ah); from NT:4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry:
Webster's (fornicate) - To commit lewdness, as an unmarried man or woman, or as a married man with an unmarried woman.

Greek - (5092) time (tee-may'); from NT:5099; a value, i.e. money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy, esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself:
Webster's - 1. The esteem due or paid to worth; high estimation. 2. A testimony of esteem; any expression of respect or of high estimation by words or actions; as the honors of war; military honors; funeral honors; civil honors. 4. Reverence; veneration; or any act by which reverence and submission are expressed,as worship paid to the Supreme Being. 5. Reputation; good name; as, his honor is unsullied.

Greek - (3806) pathos (path'-os); from the alternate of NT:3958; properly, suffering ("pathos"), i.e. (subjectively) a passion (especially concupiscence):
Webster's - 1. Longing desire; eagerness to possess or enjoy; as the lust of gain. 2. Concupiscence; carnal appetite; unlawful desire of carnal pleasure. Rom 1. 2 Pet 2. 3. Evil propensity; depraved affections and desires. James 1. Psa 81. 1. To desire eagerly; to long; with after. 2. To have carnal desire; to desire eagerly the gratification of carnal appetite. 3. To have irregular or inordinate desires. 4. To list; to like.

Greek - (1939) epithumia (ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah); from NT:1937; a longing (especially for what is forbidden):
Webster's -  Lust; unlawful or irregular desire of sexual pleasure. In a more general sense, the coveting of carnal things, or an irregular appetite for worldly good; inclination for unlawful enjoyments.

Greek - (4122) pleonekteo (pleh-on-cek-teh'-o); from NT:4123; to be covetous, i.e. (by implication) to over-reach:
Webster's - 1. To deprive of right, either by obtaining something by deception or artifice, or by taking something wrongfully without the knowledge or consent of the owner; to cheat; to cozen; followed by of before the thing taken; as, to defraud; a man of his right. 2. To withhold wrongfully from another what is due to him. Defraud not the hireling of his wages. 3. To prevent one wrongfully from obtaining what he may justly claim. 4. To defeat or frustrate wrongfully.

By looking into the definitions of the word, it helps me to understand the subject this passage is speaking about.

Make it Personal
Once you study the passage, you can use the definitions to make it applicable and personal. From the definitions above, my mom wrote:
     "For this is the will of God, even purifying you and making you holy, that ye should refrain from indulging in idolatry (specifically in the physical sense), that everyone of you should know how to possess his vessel in purity and dignity . . ."

To make it personal, she wrote:

     "For this is the will of God, even purifying me and making me holy, that I should abstain from indulging in idolatry . . ."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Considering the Greek and Hebrew Words

 As you look at the Strong's concordance, you will notice little numbers to the side of the verses. These numbers indicate the original Hebrew/Aramaic (for Old Testament) or Greek (for New Testament) words. By looking up the original word, it can shed light on the subject.

Let us take  the word "love" in the New Testament. The passage in John 21 shows a remarkable difference. I have copied the passage and inserted the Greek numbers for all forms of "love."

John 21:15-17
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (G-25) thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (G-5368) thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (G-25) thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (G-5368) thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (G-5368) thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest (G-5368)thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love (G-5368) thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

In the back of the Strong's concordance is a Hebrew dictionary and Greek dictionary. Be sure to flip to the correct one! For the above passage, we will find the Greek numbers 25 and 5368.

Here is what we discover:
25 agapao (ag-ap-ah'-o); perhaps from agan (much) [or compare OT:5689]; to love (in a social or moral sense):

5368 phileo (fil-eh'-o); from NT:5384; to be a friend to (fond of [an individual or an object]), i.e. have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while NT:25 is wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: the two thus stand related very much as NT:2309 and NT:1014, or as NT:2372 and NT:3563 respectively; the former being chiefly of the heart and the latter of the head); specifically, to kiss (as a mark of tenderness):

From these definitions, we see that Jesus was asking Peter, "Do you really love Me?" and Peter was answering, "Lord, I have an affection for you." The third time, Jesus asked, "Do you have an affection for Me?" and Peter was grieved because he could not claim to really love Christ. Reading the original definitions help shed a deeper understanding on the words.

Topical Study with Hebrew and Greek Words
With the realization of different root words, you can do a study on the individual root words. You can look up all of the verses using agape (G-25) love and then all of the verses using phileo (G-5368) love and follow the pattern of a normal topical study.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Simple Word Search

 One of the studies that God has led me to do most often is a topical study. A topical study is when you take one word (and all of its tenses) and research every verse with that word. One can do an in depth topical study or a brief topical study.

Choose Your Word
Perhaps the Lord leads you to do a word study on "Forgiveness." With this word in mind, write down all of the tenses and synonyms: forgive, forgiven, forgave, forgiveness, forgiveth, forgiving, pardon, and pardoned. Choose one word with which to start.

Look Up Your Word
Using a concordance (I recommend Strong's Exhaustive Concordance), look up the verses for the first word.

Read Thoroughly
Do not skim through the verses, but read them. Remember that you are not studying to "get it checked off the list today," but you are studying to learn.

Copy Verses
If you want only the briefest overview of the word, merely read the verses. If you want to glean more from this study, then copy the verses down. Often, as I am writing out the verses, the Lord will help me to learn something from the verse. I write this down as well. Sometimes, a verse will make me ponder a question, which I write down to study (either in this specific study or in my general list of studies).

When you have finished going through all of the verses from your first word, look up the second word, using the same process, continuing through your list until you have covered all of the tenses.

Pulling it All Together
In studying a topic like forgiveness, it is easy to see that there are different applications of the word. Forgiveness covers God's forgiveness towards us, our need for God's forgiveness, how forgiveness affects our relationship with God, how we should forgive others, and specifics about what forgiveness entails. It is a good idea to take the time to categorize the verses you study. Some people categorize as they read the verses the first time. Others prefer to categorize them later.

To help you categorize verses, ask a few questions. Some general questions you could ask are:
            ~What does God's Word say about this subject?
            ~What should we do about this subject?
            ~What should we not do about this subject?
            ~Is this speaking of God?
            ~Is this speaking of me?
            ~Is this applicable specifically to me?

Applying It
James 1:22 says, "But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (emphasis added) We can study God's Word every day, but if we do not apply it to our lives, we still miss the mark. As you study, be sure to ask, "What did I learn from this study? What should I apply?" Do not just read. DO.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Preparing to Study

Inevitably, when one thinks of studying God's Word, the first question to arise is, "What should I study?" God's Word deals with every aspect of life and has the answer to every question ("According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:3-4). With so many options, what should we study? The answer for each individual is different, based on their need of the moment.

Choose Something That Relates Directly to You
~Has the Lord convicted you about an area in your life on which you need to work? (ex. anger, bitterness, forgiveness, pride, humility, giving, love, self-control, etc.)
~Are you memorizing a verse and do not understand all of the words?
~Is there a specific portion of Scripture that the Lord has brought to your attention?  
~Has a specific word stood out to you recently? (ex. trust, forgiveness, self-control, etc.)
~Do you have questions about a certain subject? (ex. God's grace, security of salvation, modesty, literature, etc.)

Keep a List
As you read through those questions, the Lord may have prompted your heart about a few topics. Write them down. Now. Keep your list handy (in the front sleeve of your Bible, on your night-stand, anywhere you frequent) so that any time a topic or question comes to your mind, you can jot it down to remember for later. This list is very useful when you have completed one topic and are wondering what to study next.

Gather Your Supplies
There are several tools that are very helpful to have when you study God's Word: Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Webster's 1828 dictionary (assuming you are studying with the King James), and a notebook. If you are using your computer, I highly recommend e-Sword (, a free Bible software program on which you can download all of these resources.

Prepare Your Heart
There are different ways to approach the Bible, both good and bad:
     ~to extract from Scripture what it actually says (exegesis)
     ~to read into it what you want it to say (eisegesis)
     ~to learn what God's Word really says about an issue
     ~to fuel your argument and prove your point to someone else
     ~to go to God's Word with your mind already made up what you want to see

Psalm 119:18 says, "Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law." Our motive for studying God's Word should never be to prove our points, but to open our hearts to what God wants to teach us. Before we study, we should always set aside time to prayerfully prepare our hearts and ask God to give us a teachable spirit so that He can do His work in us.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Challenge: Pasar tiempo con Dios

For Christmas, I received a Spanish-English Bible. It is remarkable to hold in my hands God's Word in a different language. It is sobering as well. As I struggle to read through Spanish, understanding only a word here and there, somewhere in a Spanish-speaking country there are natives who do not even know there is a God Who has given them His Word -- in their language! Meanwhile, I am blessed to have God's Word in their language and in mine.

We can realize how blessed we are to have multiple copies of God's Word in our house, but what do we do about it? Pasar tiempo con Dios means "Spend time with God." How often do we, in our busy schedules, take the time to spend time with God? For a quick moment, think back to 2013. Were there times that you neglected God's Word? I know my answer is a sad, "Yes." What about as 2014 spans before us? What will we do to change?

One area in which God has convicted me to apply myself more is studying God's Word. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." While I believe it is vital for every believer to read God's Word every day, it is also important to study God's Word.

The next few weeks, it is my prayer to do a little series and share a few things about study that God has helped me to learn. Will you join me?

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