Thursday, 28 March 2013

Reading the Bible with our hearts

Scripture can be interpreted only by the Holy SpiritTrue understanding is not natural to us; it is God's gift (Mt11:25, 16:17) through the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:13f.). This neither absolves us from hard work, nor implies that we can isolate ourselves from other Christians in our understanding of the Bible.
This [third] hermeneutical principle carries a profound spiritual challenge. God's Spirit is holy; therefore what we understand of his truth is related less to the capacity of our brains than to the extent of our obedience. How far one can see depends on how high one has climbed rather than on how elaborately one is equipped. 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.' (Mt. 5:8)
  -- pp. 61-62, Know the Truth by Bruce Milne (italics original)

We need to engage our mind as we read the bible, but  the understanding will be given to those who obey God, those with the pure heart.

Trusting and submitting to the Word of God

We need to remember that this doctrine of biblical authority is one of the teachings of the Christian faith. As such it calls for faith, i.e. a believing commitment on our part, an attitude continuos with that of our Lord himself and his apostles, and with the historic view of the churches. This helps us to keep the doctrine of Scripture in perspective. We do not wait for a moment-by-moment account of our Lord's thoughts, words and actions before we trust ourselves to his sinlessness and hence his fitness to act as our Saviour, nor for signed statements of impartial eye-witnesses before believing and rejoicing in his resurrections; so we need not demand the resolution of every possible question before trusting ourselves to the infallible truth of Scripture and submitting to its authority.
  -- p. 59, Know the Truth by Bruce Milne

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The most Scriptural church government

This is a direct copy from Ray Ortlund's blog post:
“It seems to me that the most Scriptural system of church government is that which requires the most prayer, the most faith, and the most piety to keep it going.  The church of God was never meant to be an automaton.  If it were, the wheels would all act of themselves.  The church was meant to be a living thing, a living person, and as the person cannot be supported if life is absent, or if food is kept back, or if breath is suspended, so should it be with the church.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, preaching on 1 Timothy 3:1519 May 1861.  Italics original.

Here Spurgeon is speaking of it in a context of his whole sermon and he's no doubt trying to pack a punch in what he's saying, so take it with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, this is a good reminder whenever we think about church structure.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Fire in my heart

If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
(Jeremiah 20:9 ESV)

I wish, I hope, like Jeremiah, I would be given such a deep and unstoppable passion for preaching of His Word. Perhaps, then, I won't be so timid.