The Bible is More Than Stories of Morality

It is safe to say that most churches want their kids and students to learn the Bible. But in reality it is possible to teach Bible stories without ever teaching the Bible story.

In other words, it is possible to teach the Bible in a way that is not distinctively Christian.

There are many too many approaches to teaching the Bible that teach people values, virtues, and behavior—and that’s it.

That should disturb us.

The Bible is Not a Book or Virtues, but a Gospel Book

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Prophets or Propheteers?

“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”1

A few years ago Ralph Blodgett, who has researched psychic predictions for several years, found that in a given year, out of 250 specific predictions by thirty of the nation’s leading psychics, less than three percent could be listed as “reasonably fulfilled.”

Blodgett said, “I used to think psychics had to be led either by God or the devil. Now I’m convinced that they are being led most of the time by no one at all.”

In Old Testament times it was an extremely serious offense to be a false prophet. As God’s Word says, “But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.”2 Tough words to be sure.

And in the New Testament we are warned not to believe every spirit but to put them to the test to make sure their word is from God.

I believe some people do have a gift of knowledge, but I certainly don’t. So how do I know if God is “speaking” to or leading me? Sometimes it comes from his Word, the Bible; sometimes through circumstances; and at other times through an inner conviction. To know whether it is from God or from myself all three of the above need to be in harmony. And if anything is out of harmony with God’s Word, I can be certain it is not from God. Furthermore, when I sense God is leading me, I like to put whatever it is to the test to make sure it is of God and not of me.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please give me the ability to discern your guidance and to recognize when a message or leading is from you, and also when it is not from you. And help me to discern that which is spoken by a false prophet. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. 1 John 4:1 (NIV).
2. Deuteronomy 18:20 (NIV).


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3 Scriptures That Just Keep Blowing My Mind

By Keith Giles

Over the last few months, I’ve run across 3 scripture verses that are seriously melting my brain. (In a very good way.)

The first one is this:

“15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” – Col. 1:15-20

First, we notice that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God”; something I’ve done a lot of writing and thinking about lately. But, the second part is almost unbearably amazing: “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.

Now, you need to hang on to that concept long enough to read the second verse:

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Don’t Run the Christian Race Alone

Living for Christ in a fallen world is hard.

Search the whole of Scripture for metaphors and analogies comparing the Christian life to something easy like a picnic or a leisurely stroll around the lake and you’ll come up empty-handed.

What you will find, however, are comparisons to fighting (1 Timothy 6:12), to warfare (Ephesians 6:10-20), and to running (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

The book of Hebrews was written to formerly Jewish new believers and was encouraging them to press on by faith in the Christian life, even as it became difficult. To drive this message home, the writer compares the Christian life to running a race, and he tells them how they can run this race with endurance:

In Hebrews 12:1 we read:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

This is such a great metaphor. Running a race is an active process, not a passive one. It’s challenging. There’s a reason that the Christian life isn’t compared to a summer picnic or a quick stroll around the block.

A race is hard. And when you’re in it the race becomes your chief occupation as all other concerns fade to the background.

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If You Want People to Grow Spiritually, Quit Telling Them to Study the Bible