Who's Jesus Anyway: The Door, Part 2

By Matt Rodriguez

Read the article here http://mattrodriguez.org/2012/09/26/who-is-jesus-anyway-the-door-part-2/

Who's Jesus Anyway: The Door, Part 1

By Matt Rodriguez

Read the article here: http://mattrodriguez.org/2012/09/23/who-is-jesus-anyway-the-door-part-1/

Who's Jesus Anyway: Light of the World, Part 2

By Matt Rodriguez

Read the post here: http://mattrodriguez.org/2012/09/09/who-is-jesus-anyway-the-light-of-the-world-part-2/

Who's Jesus Anyway: Light of the World, Part 1

By Matt Rodriguez

Read the post here: http://mattrodriguez.org/2012/08/25/who-is-jesus-anyway-the-light-of-the-world-part-1/

Who's Jesus Anyway: Bread of Life, Part 2

By Matt Rodriguez

Read the article here: http://mattrodriguez.org/2012/08/19/who-is-jesus-anyway-the-bread-of-life-part-2/

Who's Jesus Anyway: Bread of Life, Part 1

By Matt Rodriguez

Read the article here: http://mattrodriguez.org/2012/08/11/who-is-jesus-anyway-the-bread-of-life-part-1/

Bible Fun Toolbox Tip: Read With Open Eyes

By Matt Rodriguez

Read with open eyes!

Most of us are persons of habit. We wake at the same time, prepare our coffee the same way, and drive to work using the same route. We like regularity.

Most of us coast through life on autopilot. We don’t like change. We find a system that works and requires the least amount of thinking as possible.

Let’s think about this for a sec. The next time we drive to the grocery store, see how many different languages we can spot in the store signs we pass. We may be surprised by the amount languages represented in our neighborhood. Why haven’t we noticed these before? It’s likely because our minds have been stuck on autopilot.

Sadly, many of us coast through reading the Bible. Our minds are on autopilot. We skim over familiar passages. We browse through our favorite verses but fail to notice important details. Instead of coming to Scripture with open eyes, we routinely read verses, paragraphs, and chapters.

But let’s say we approach Scripture in a fresh new way every time we read God’s Word. What if we pretended this was the first time we ever read a particular verse? How might this attitude enhance familiar passages such as Psalm 23? Go ahead, give it a try!

Bible Fun Toolbox Tip: How Words Relate

By Matt Rodriguez

How words relate

Everyone knows relationships prove essential. Family provides encouragement. Friends, a listening ear. Foes, strengthen our character. Without relationships, life becomes meaningless.

When interpreting the meaning of Scripture, it’s important to understand the relationship between words. Adverbs strengthen verbs. Adjectives enhance nouns. Prepositions show where the actions takes place. Words, when grouped together in a sentence, are like family members…they all play an important part.

Without differentiating the role of each word in a sentence, your interpretation of Scripture may get messy. Just like a team at the office, clarification of roles between members increases accuracy and efficiency. And in Bible interpretation, understanding how words relate increases accuracy and ultimately correct application of God’s Word in your life.

Here’s a list of word relationships to identify when reading Scripture:

  • Subject: Who or what is doing the action?
  • Verb: Although there may be multiple verbs in a sentence, look for the main one. See if the action is in the past, present, or future tense.
  • Object: Find the recipient of the subject’s action. Locate who or what is receiving the force of the verb.
  • Prepositions: These words explain where the action is happening.
  • Conjunctions: Words such as “but,” “and,” and “therefore” connect or contrast words and phrases.
  • Articles: Words such as “a” or “the” explain whether an object is indefinite or definite. They are important. (e.g. Jesus is not “a” God but “the” second person of the Godhead!)
  • Conditions: Words such as “if” or “when” can portray a conditional statement.

So how does this work?

Let’s take Genesis 1:1, which says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The subject of this sentence is God, the verb is created, and the objects are the heavens and earth. Notice the order here. God is the one creating, not the other way around.

Pantheism, however, claims God is in everything. But how can God be in everything if He was the one who created everything? Pantheism does not work! So when you read God’s Word, take time to identify the subject, verb, and object, which will help you accurately interpret Scripture.

Bible Fun Toolbox Tip: Identify Timeless Truth

By Matt Rodriguez

Identify timeless truth!

At my mom’s home in Gardena, California, hangs a valuable wall clock. It’s the kind with fancy wood and a real wind-up spring. And every hour it ding-dongs to remind us of its presence. And with time its value has increased.

This wall clock, although important, often gets overlooked. It just hangs out, keeping quiet for the better part of each hour of the day. It is one of those furnishings we rush by without paying any attention to. That is until…

We need to be somewhere and are running late. During these fiascos, we jerk our head toward the clock to gauge the time, calculate how late we’re running, and then we rush out the back door.

Now suppose we open our Bible and rush through reading a chapter without stopping to see what its timeless truth is? What if we fail to grab the author’s main point? What if we miss that advice which works well in all generations and proves worthy in all of life’s circumstances?

Identifying the timeless truth proves crucial. It gives us greater perspective on life. It teaches us about God’s character. It guards us from misinterpreting His Word by giving us an eternal perspective.

So how do you find the timeless truth in a Bible passage?

First, start with a paragraph of Scripture, which is the basic building block of Bible fun. Read a paragraph and ask yourself, “What does this say about the character of God?” And “How does this fit with other Bible verses?” Asking these questions will prompt you to view this text from a larger vantage point.

Next, ask yourself how this paragraph fits within the book’s chapter? At this point, you can compare your proposed interpretation to see if it meshes with what the whole chapter says. Your timeless truth statement should fit within what the chapter argues or states. If not, you may need to revisit that paragraph in light of the chapter.

For example, take the challenging verse in Philippians 2:7 where Paul says Christ emptied Himself. By reading the verse alone, one can misinterpret that Paul is claiming the timeless truth is that Jesus was not divine since He emptied Himself of divine privileges. But this interpretation misses Paul’s point.

So we read verse seven in light of the paragraph, which begins with verse one and ends with eleven. This paragraph argues for unity. That we should look out for others’ interests. And then Paul gives us the example of Christ who exampled how to sacrificially serve others. And in serving, Christ united Himself to His Father’s will. Jesus and the Father were united just as we are to be united with other Christians.

From this, we learn the timeless truth that Jesus is united with the Father’s will. We also learn Jesus is humble and a servant. But lest we minimize Jesus to a non-divine man, we learn He will receive our confession of His Lordship to His Father’s glory.

Bible Fun Toolbox Tip: Reflect On Words Repeated

By Matt Rodriguez

Reflect on words repeated!

Biblical authors use repeated terms or phrases like strategically placed signposts on a curved mountain road. They point us in the right direction. They warn us from dangers ahead. They remind us about which way we need to turn ahead.

But if you’re like me, you speed through reading your Bible verses for the day and often fail to recognize repeated terms and phrases. You overlook important signs the author posted to make his point. Whizzing by, you don’t identify these special markers and road signs in the biblical text.

Take Hebrews 11, how many times is the word faith mentioned? Twenty-five! You’d think the author was trying to grab our attention with all these references to faith.

Imagine driving on a highway and seeing twenty-five road signs for a rest stop a few miles down the road. Twenty-five of them. I’d bet you’d at least think, “What’s the big deal about this place?” And some of us might even exit the highway to see what’s so special about this rest stop. Perhaps they have a Dairy Queen or In N Out or something else fun.

So the next time you are having some Bible fun in the Scriptures, look for repeated words and phrases. These are like road signs along a highway. They point you in the direction the author wants you to go.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1 NET). May you, as readers of God’s Word, be encouraged in your faith as you reflect upon repeated words and phrases that you do see.

Scripture and/or notes quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org All rights reserved.