Category: Bible Study


 

This article serves as the preamble to my upcoming series on Christian suffering. There has been so much written and spoken concerning suffering. There are those that believe that suffering is an indication of some existing sin in the life of the one suffering. Job’s three friends took this line of rationale as they attempted to counsel Job in the midst of his pain. There are those that believe that suffering is the Christian’s lot in life and that it somehow signifies the validity of the believer’s faith.

The truth is that suffering does have purpose in the life of the believer. In fact, there are different types of suffering. There is punitive suffering which is punishment for sin and waywardness in association to God’s plan. We see this quite often in the Bible as Israel (God’s client nation) moves contrary to his will.

There is self induced misery; this is the situation when believers and non-believers alike generate anguish within their own souls as well as the overt conditions and circumstance they create around them. Because God designed the human to have volitional freedom, coupled with a sin nature (contracted at the fall of humanity), it is inevitable that man will make decisions that negatively impact their lives. There is a divine law of volitional responsibility which indicates that as a believer exercises their volitional freedom they are directly responsible for the consequences. This keeps us from taking the stance that we are being unjustly punished by God for executing the very freedom he gave. We do have the freedom of choice, but it comes at a price.

There is collective suffering. This is when an entire group suffers because the collective failed as a whole. A good example of this would be when the Israelites tarried for forty years in the wilderness because the majority believed the negative report of the 10 spies and ignored the positive report and vote of confidence from Joshua and Caleb. Not only did the whiners and unfaithful have to languish in the wilderness, so did Joshua and Caleb. Those two did not die with the rest, but they had to suffer through 40 years of delay because of someone else.

There is suffering for blessing, which is a broad topic. In this study, suffering for blessing is assigned to the believer that has steadied himself and positioned himself in the will of God and continues to execute the protocol plan of God. Even someone who was initially suffering as a punitive measure can move from punitive suffering to suffering for blessing. What this means is that the moment a believer realizes that he has sinned and that his sin has resulting in some form of suffering, he has the opportunity to repent and move toward God. If he does this, the suffering may very well continue, it may even intensify, but it is no longer for the sake of punishment, it is now for the sake blessing.

Suffering is a great teacher. It has the exceptional power to conquer ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) of the spirit. God knows how to get the attention of His creation.

There is providential preventative suffering designed by God to keep the believer from moving off course. A good example of this would be Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Paul tells us the thorn was given to him so that he would not become exalted within himself (arrogant and filled with pride [big headed]). The thorn in the flesh was a constant reminder to Paul that God was his source of power and that in and of himself, he was feeble and week.

Suffering comes as a test. You see, adversity is an unbelievable barometer to test the authenticity of one’s faith and their true commitment to God’s plan. I was once posed the following question: Can God trust you with trouble? Could God give the testimony he gave for Job concerning you?

In this study we will explore the importance of doctrinal thinking in the midst of heartache and struggles. So often, Christians take on a victim’s mentality and totally miss the opportunity to advance. There is no greater platform of advancement than suffering. Allow me to elucidate the previous statement. This does not mean that the Christian should look to live in a perpetual state of suffering. The true Christian’s life is characterized by victory and triumph. There will always be resistance and the enemy will always be present, but we are more than conquers (Rom. 8:37). What this means is that when you find yourself in the midst of the storm, you don’t crumble, you don’t cower, you don’t acquiesce to the pressure, you don’t point the finger of blame, you don’t whine and complain. What you do is gird up yourself with faith in your God and His purpose for your life. You allow God to use the storm to elevate you. Ask Joseph and he will tell you that a 13 year storm elevated him to the second highest position in all of the land of Egypt. Ask Job and he will tell you that a whirlwind entered his life, but it resulted in an undying legacy of faith and perseverance.

Actually suffering can be broken down into five major categories and we will become acquainted with them. We will learn how position ourselves in the storm. Remember, God is sovereign and nothing happens without Him allowing it, and if God allows it then it has a positive purpose in your life. So prepare to engage this study with an intensity that will help you grow closer to Christ as you grow thereby in the knowledge and grace of our Savior (2 Pet. 3:18) ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

You are invited to visit me at my Christian Impact site as well!

Advertisements

The 400 years of Sojourn for the Israelites.

13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. (Genesis 15:13, NIV)

The aforementioned scripture is the subject of much debate. Some believe that the Bible contradicts itself in ascribing the number of years of sojourn for Abraham and his descendents. I will endeavor to succinctly shed light on the matter.

Genesis 15:13 God tells Abram (who would eventually become Abraham) that his seed would be sojourners or strangers in a foreign land for 400 years; that Egypt would be punished for enslaving Israel; that Israel would become rich; that Abraham would live long; and that his seed would come out of Egypt in the 4th generation to defeat the Amorites. All of these prophesies were fulfilled in the Exodus and the settlement of Canaan under Moses and Joshua (EX. 7:1-14; 31; Num. 21:21-25; Josh. 12).

The actual sojourn of Abraham’s seed in Egypt was only 215 years. There were other countries which made of the land of sojourn (12:1-20; 13:1-18; 15:13-14; 20:1-18; 21:22-34;23:4; 26:3-35; 28:10; 29:1; 31:13-55; 35:6; 37:1; 46:1-7; 47:27; 50:22-26; Ex.1-12; Heb. 11:8-10). The 400 years of Gen. 15:13 and Act 7:6 date back to the time when Isaac was weaned and confirmed as the seed (heir) and Ishmael was cast out of the home (Gen. 21:12; Gal. 4:30). At that time Isaac was 5 years old.

Other scriptures speak of the period as being 430 years (Ex. 12:40; Gal. 3:14-17), and that places the date of original reference further back, to take into consideration the the  first 5 years of Isaac’s life and the 25 years previous to his birth, when Abraham went to Canaan to sojourn.

Below you will see a brief time bulletin which how the 430 years are accounted for:

How the 430 years are determined                                                                   Years

  • From the 75th year of Abraham’s life to the birth of Isaac            25
  • From Isaac’s birth to that of Jacob (Gen. 12:4, 21:5)                       60
  • From Jacob’s birth to his death                                                                147
  • From Jacob’s death to that of Joseph (Gen. 37:2; 41:46;
  • 47:28;   50:22                                                                                                    54
  • From Joseph’s death to the Exodus from Egypt (Ex. 12:40;
  •              Gal: 3:14-17                                                                                         144
  •                                                                         Total                                            430

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

http://rickwallaceministries.com

 

FOR SERIOUS BIBLE STUDENTS

I am going spend a brief moment sharing with you the importance of every Bible student building and adequate and effective Bible Research Library. It does not take one very long upon engaging the infallible Word of God to discover that God values His Word immensely and expects us to the same.

I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. (Ps. 138:2, NKJV)

David tells us that God has magnified His Word above His name. The gravity of this statement is not easily apprehended. There is no mandate within the borders of the Bible that is more incessantly imposed upon its readers than the command to give ourselves wholly to the study, understanding, and execution of the Word of God.

The Apostle Paul adds another dynamic to the function of the Word in the believer’s life and the believer’s responsibility toward the Word.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15, NASB)

Paul informs us that it is not simply enough to engage the Word, but we must take care to rightfully “handle” the Word. In the Greek the word that is translated “handle” is “ὀρθοτομέω, orthotomeō, or-thot-om-eh’-o; From a compound of G3717 and the base of G5114; to make a straight cut, that is, (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message): – rightly divide. (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries G3718). This calls for more than a superficial approach to the study of the Bible it calls for intense anatomization of scripture.

Paul goes further with Timothy to reveal the vast effect of scripture which further illuminates the massive importance of proper interpretation.

16Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),
17So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17, AMP)

This passage elucidates the fact that scripture must be properly dissected and disseminated in order for the equipping of the saints to be fully manifested.

Some of us have had the privilege of obtaining a formal academic education in the way of Systematic Theology, Textual Criticism, Covenantal Theology, and a number of other disciplines that have equipped us to engage the Word of God through a different spiritual and intellectual lens. Although this is truly a blessing in itself, not everyone will take the path of a formal education in theology, yet we are all called to rightly divide, dissect, anatomize, and analyze doctrine in a manner in which it remains pure and unadulterated.

How can those who choose to bypass a formal education approach this challenge? First, and foremost, by believing in the revelatory ministry of the Holy Spirit, and secondly, by taking advantage of the wealth of extra-biblical resources that are at your disposal. Every serious Bible student should build a library filled with study resources to aid in the matter of exegesis, contextual analysis, historical reference, and cultural influence, just to name a few. All of these variables have an influence on the interpretation of scripture.

Though this may seem quite daunting at first, it can be accomplished by taking one step at a time. With patience and deliberation you can build a powerful and effective Bible research library of your own. With the era of digital technology in full swing, this task has not only been simplified, but has become quite a bit more affordable.

Some of us have had the privilege of obtaining a formal academic education in the way of Systematic Theology, Textual Criticism, Covenantal Theology, and a number of other disciplines that have equipped us to engage the Word of God through a different spiritual and intellectual lens. Although this is truly a blessing in itself, not everyone will take the path of a formal education in theology, yet we are all called to rightly divide, dissect, anatomize, and analyze doctrine in a manner to which it remains pure and unadulterated.

How can those who choose to bypass a formal education approach this challenge? First, and foremost, by believing in the revelatory ministry of the Holy Spirit, and secondly, by taking advantage of the wealth of extra-biblical resources that are at your disposal. Every serious Bible student should build a library filled with study resources to aid in the matter of exegesis, contextual analysis, historical reference, and cultural influence, just to name a few. All of these variables have an influence on the interpretation of scripture.

Whether you are wrestling with the concept of justification and sanctification, or struggling with the doctrine of the Trinitarian existence of the Godhead, an adequately developed Bible research library will bring lucidity and confidence to your Bible Study endeavors.

Remember, we are talking about one of the most important life investments you will ever make, bar none. Through researching material for my ministry website I stumbled upon one of the most awesome finds in a long time. Only If I could have discovered this 20 years ago; before I begin building my research library, it would have saved me loads of money and time. I found an entire 20 volume set or resources, with over 14,000 pages of valuable information to aid the serious student of the Word; everything from Nave’s Topical Bible and Easton’s Bible Dictionary to The History of the Church, Volumes 1-8. Get this; all for less than the price of one movie ticket. This blew my mind.

It is needless to say that this beautiful set will be offered on my ministry website with great pomp and circumstance. Anyone that has approached the study of God’s Word with the true intent of adequately and accurately dissecting it will testify to the immensity in value this set of resources will provide. This is a digital product which means that if you have a laptop, Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, EVO, Galaxy, or any other kind of smart device, you can carry this information with you wherever you go. You can, of course download it to your desktop as well. With the emergence of the Cloud and other online servers, you can now save this and pull it up on devices on which it is not even downloaded.

This is one of the greatest values that I have ever stumbled upon, and I had to share with you. May you be blessed in your studies, and may your studies thoroughly equip you for every good work.
If you are serious about your Bible Study and you are ready to take it to the next level, click on the following link and get you Bible Research Library. Please visit the Official Rick Wallace Ministries website and click the Bookstore/Resource tab, then go to the resources box and clink the link that says Bible Research Library. “20 VOLUMES, Over 14,000 Pages, Covering Contextual and Categorical References.

Once you have you have your set, you can contact me directly to discuss how to customize your library and the proper approach to studying the Word.

Click the link below to visit the Official Rick Wallace Ministries website:
http://rickwallaceministries.com/ 

Home Page
rickwallaceministries.com
%d bloggers like this: