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"For the word of God... discerns the thoughts
and intents of the heart"
(Hebrews 4:12)
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#306, 19th August 2016
Hi, Friend,
In Christ Treasures cover
Don't take our word for it!

If you want to learn more about the great truth of being in Christ, here are the writings of nine great teachers from the past… all in one book to inspire, challenge and guide you! These teachers were all household names in their day, all were successful pastors, missionaries, or academics. They came from different denominations and movements… yet all were captivated by just two words in the Word of God: “In Christ”. This is a large book, 308 pages, 6" x 9".

Who were these preachers? Thomas Bernard, Adolf Deissmann, A.J. Gordon, E. Stanley Jones, F.B. Meyer, Andrew Murray, A.T. Pierson, A.B. Simpson, Stephen Tyng — some were household names in their day, some of their writings have never been out of print. All 47 chapters are taken from original books and are reproduced as their author’s first published them, using the KJV or RV Bibles of their day (from the mid-1850s to early 1900s).
     Check it out in our bookstore (Australian deliveries here) or if you wish at Amazon.com and other online booksellers.

How to Know God's Thoughts
 

"For I know the thoughts that I have for you, says the Lord..." (Jeremiah 29:11). "The Lord knows the thoughts of man..." (Psalm 94:11). God has thoughts about us, but how do we know what he is thinking? We have thoughts, and God knows all of them. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8). Let's explore these two truths.

                  

Words are the clothes in which thoughts are dressed. You can only know my thoughts if I put them into words. And you can only know God's thoughts if he puts them into words. That's why I prefer to use an "essentially literal" translation of God's Word, the Bible [a strictly literal translation would be very difficult to read because of the grammatical differences between the languages]. When Paul was brought before Gallio, the charge was dismissed because Gallio refused to judge on "a question of words and names" (Acts 18:15). But "words" are what the matter is all about.

Did not Christ say, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4). And centuries before, the Psalmist recorded this immutable truth: "The words of the Lord are pure words" (Psalm 12:6). Timothy was exhorted to "Hold fast the form of sound words" (II Timothy 1:13). This pattern of sound words is essential to understanding divine truth.

It naturally follows that to have a form or pattern there must be underlying laws which give consistency and uniformity to a language. There are certain laws concerning biblical language that you should understand. The very first law is the foundational law. "All scripture is inspired by God" (II Timothy 3:16). "Inspired by God" is the translation of one Greek word meaning "God-breathed." If we ignore this foundation even in a minute manner, we fall prey to tradition rather than truth.

We must be totally convinced that God gave words to holy men of God, words they could understand and speak out or write down (II Peter 1:21, Galatians 1:11-12). God is the source of not only the Word of God but also the words used in the Word of God. A believer reading the sacred scriptures is either helped or hampered by his or her concept of them. If one considers Scripture as inspired, one becomes obligated to convey its thoughts with accuracy.

On the other hand, James Moffatt, author of the first popular paraphrase (1913), wrote: "Once the translator of the New Testament is freed from the influence of the theory of verbal inspiration,... difficulties cease to be so formidable." Thus if we are simply dealing with words written by fallible human writers, we are free to take many liberties to convey what we think they are trying to say. But what does the Word say: "For no prophecy ever came by the will of a human, but holy men of God spoke being borne along by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:21).

The second law of biblical language can be simply stated: No word is the exact equivalent of any other word. That is, the meaning or usage of one word is necessarily distinct from that of all other words. This is a remarkable though obvious law of language. God has no way to effectively communicate with us if he does not use words. And since he is the perfect, all-wise God, he uses words accurately and grammatically.

We may have opportunity in showing in English some of the distinctions which the original language makes, and we must attempt to comprehend these distinctions. There are a multitude of tools to help us without having to learn biblical Hebrew or Greek.

The third law of biblical language takes us a step deeper into our quest for a "pattern of sound words": The meaning of a word is dependent on its usage. There are two stages in the meaning of a word. The root meaning which never varies, and the meaning derived from usage. For example, take the root word "to act." A person who performs a deed is an "actor." An act that was performed is a "fact." A building where people perform acts is called a "factory."

The language you and I speak is a living language and meanings derived from usage are changing all the time. The dictionaries we use are struggling to keep up-to-date. For example, the "by and by" of the beloved 1611 KJV means "immediately" today, not "sometime."

The meaning of a biblical word will depend on how it is used in God's Word. "A text without a context is a pretext." Every context in which it occurs throws light upon its meaning. The combined evidence of all its contexts fixes its meaning. We will then be able to see that special shading or coloring with which God clothed it. To adapt a well-known saying: the company a word keeps is an index of its character.

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand." (Psalm 139:17-18a). Let's emphasize the precious words that convey to us the thoughts of our loving Father God. -- Peter Wade.
 D.L. Moody writes:
[D.L. Moody was the Billy Graham of his day, holding large revival meetings in the US and England, founded Moody Church and Moody Bible Institute, and was a mentor to many young preachers -- in person and through his writings.]

"While looking through some papers I once read this wonderful description of Christ. I do not know where it originally came from; but it was so fresh to my soul that I should like to give it to you:

"Christ is our Way; we walk in Him.
He is our Truth; we embrace Him.
He is our Life; we live in Him.
He is our Lord; we choose Him to rule over us.
He is our Master; we serve Him.
He is our Teacher, instructing us in the way of salvation.
He is our Prophet, pointing out the future.
He is our Priest, having atoned for us.
He is our Advocate, ever living to make intercession for us.
He is our Savior, saving to the uttermost.
He is our Root; we grow from Him.
He is our Bread; we feed upon Him.
He is our Shepherd, leading us into green pastures.
He is our true Vine; we abide in Him.
He is the Water of Life; we slake our thirst from Him.
He is the fairest among ten thousand: we admire Him above all others.
He is 'the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person;' we strive to reflect His likeness.
He is the upholder of all things; we rest upon Him.
He is our wisdom; we are guided by Him.
He is our Righteousness; we cast all our imperfections upon Him.
He is our Sanctification; we draw all our power for holy life from Him.
He is our Redemption, redeeming us from all iniquity.
He is our Healer, curing all our diseases.
He is our Friend, relieving us in all our necessities.
He is our Brother, cheering us in our difficulties."
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"Get Those Graveclothes Off [#305],
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