Friday, July 4, 2008

10 More Great Verses of the Bible.

Happy Independence Day to everyone out there. The Fourth of July reminds me of what the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:17 – "Honor everyone. Love your brothers and sisters in the faith. Fear God. Honor the emperor." I think America has lost an important aspect of its heritage because of the disrespect shown to our elected officials.


I appreciate all of the comments everyone left with your favorite Bible verses from my last post dealing with the '10 Greatest Bible Verses'. As I thought more about the great verses in the Bible, I discovered my list was woefully incomplete. And so, with today's post I am going to add 10 more great verses that belong on the "10 Greatest Bible Verses List." Here are the additional verses I have from God's Word:


Genesis 12:1-3 – The Abrahamic Covenant. "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." The covenant of God promising Abraham innumerable offspring, a country (the Promised Land), and the ultimate fulfillment of the blessing from a Descendant of Abraham to all nations of the Earth, which is fulfilled through God's Gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.


Psalm 23 – "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…" Great writing, great poetry, and a wonderful picture of God as our Provider, Protector, and as SomeOne Who is always alongside us even though we may walk through "the valley of the shadow of death." (v. 4). And it's exciting to see Jesus showing Himself as the Great Shepherd of Psalm 23, when in John 10:14, Jesus says that 'I Am the Good Shepherd.' Our Lord is amazing!


Proverbs 3:5 – "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." God wants us to live godly, righteous lives. And He is willing to help us to do this, if we only trust in Him. A great verse of what faith means.


Micah 6:8 – This is Grandma Kay's favorite verse on what is expected of Christians in our walk with God. The verse says: "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Please pray for God's healing of Kay as she recovers in a hospital this morning, after two surgeries in the past three days. My Praise to God Who hears and answers our prayers.


Matthew 28:16-20 – The Great Commission. "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". More on our marching Orders as Christians: love and help others enough to snatch them from death and the judgment of hell.


John 1:1, :14 – "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." I am kicking myself for missing this great verse in my first list. The first chapter of the Gospel of John is perhaps the most powerful chapter in the Bible. It so clearly shows the divinity of Christ. It shows the eternal plan of God, and that the Son of God was there with God the Father from the beginning.


John 6:35 – "I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger..." We see the picture that the Apostle paints in Chapter 6. First, Jesus feeds 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish, showing His care for us in meeting our daily physical needs. But then Jesus goes on to make this remarkable claim – He is the Bread of Life. And teaches that we are not to labor for food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life (v. 27). An astonishing picture by Jesus of equating Himself with the most fundamental part of life – food.


John 10:10 – "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." The picture of Satan as a murderous thief is scary. But Jesus' promise here is what we rest upon in this verse – He came to give us life, and that we may have it more abundantly. Who doesn't want a more abundant life? And can you tell, I love the Gospel of John.


Luke 19:10 – "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Jesus' description of His mission statement is short and sweet. He came to seek and save those who are lost from God.


Acts 2:1-4 – Pentecost and the Coming of the Holy Spirit. "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." The Third Person of God came on Pentecost. And from this day on, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in the followers of Christ.


Hey, I actually hit 10 verses this time (mock surprise). My hope is that these short lists inspire you to read more of God's Word this day and this upcoming week. My prayer is that God's blessing of a growing Spirit of wisdom and revelation is given to you as you are in the Bible this next week.


Bryan & Meggan said...

Alright, school and church finally have given me a chance to breath for a moment. My favorite verses change depending on what I'm studying or preaching on. I think I can summarize my current favorites with the following:

Ps. 115:1 is a verse that I find acts as an overall theme in my life.

Jn. 6:68 is a great summary of the commitment to Jesus we are to have.

2 Cor. 5:21 summarizes the Gospel very succinctly.

I'll leave it to you to look the passages up - it will be good practice!


Edward Oleander said...

My thoughts go out to Grandma Kay.... Hope she is recovering well... I'd say it's quite a blessing (from whatever the source) to still have living grandparents at our age. Give her my best and call if I can be of any help... Geriatrics isn't my specialty, but it is for many of my nursey friends...

Edward Oleander said...

I think America has lost an important aspect of its heritage because of the disrespect shown to our elected officials.

Okay... Game on! Be it resolved: We (as a nation) have given undue disrespect to our elected leaders.

Would Mr. Wolff like to take 1st Affirmative?

Edward Oleander said...

Genesis 12:1-3 – The Abrahamic Covenant.

Remember my Hurdles? This reminds me of another. In the story of Abraham and Issac, everyone always focuses on Abraham being obedient and willing to perform God's will, but rarely is the secondary issue addressed:

God is regularly given a free pass for behavior that is heinous by today's standards. The UN Convention Against Torture would instantly condemn what God did to Abraham. After all, since He is God, He would have KNOWN that Abraham would choose to obey... He didn't have to actually go through with it... it was cruel.

And since Ben Stein made it okay, I should point out that the Nazis used extremely similar torture on the families of captured Jews and Resistance fighters.
(now you know how the Darwin/Nazi references made me feel... they have equal validity)

Edward Oleander said...

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."

This MUST be the most important and strongest messages in the entire Bible. It is this statement, more than any other, that forcibly separates the believers from us heathens. Because of the disconnect that occurs right here (well, actually the Genesis version), the rest of the problems we have with the various versions of the Desert God are really moot.

You see, to us, this has the feel of pure and classical myth. ALL the great mythologies start with a grand and mysterious Happening, be it a salt-licking cow, a world-bearing turtle, or the Hand of God... It just sounds SO MUCH like epic storytelling that we can't give it any more credibility than we do any of the rest of the creation stories you find out there...

Many Christians get grumpy when we lump their creation story in with all the others, but I'm sure that you, Tom, with your background as an Unbeliever in your youth, can at least see why we think the way we do... Yet another Hurdle, I'm afraid... (sigh)... that sigh was wistful and pensive, not sarcastic... Atheism (or skeptical agnosticism) really is a cold and dreary place... (another sigh)... Long night, no sleep... blah.

tom wolff said...

OK Mr. Oleander, on the topic of respecting our elected officials, Game on, bring it.

Our elected officials, and especially our President (yes, I am pushing your button here) are symbolic of the Country itself. You diss our elected officials, you are dissing America. Because the President holds such a unique position in our country, he is the equivalent of America. If you tear down the President, you are weakening and even tearing down the Country’s foundations (I’ll call this my ‘Animal House’ argument.) The Queen and to a lesser extent the Prime Minister hold the same position in England.

Second, by attacking elected officials, you are attacking Democracy. Democracy has been proven, and continues to prove itself as the best form of Government for most fairly educated countries. And so, by attacking elected officials you are hurting Democracy which gives roots to other forms of Government – in America’s case, you are giving assistance to rule by vocal minorities.

Finally, yes, God’s Word has something to say on the subject. In my post, I quoted 1 Peter 2:17, but let me also add Romans chapter 13. In this chapter, Christians are instructed to live orderly lives, and to obey laws set up the ruling government. “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1) And so, if you rebel against the country’s laws, you are rebelling against God (Romans 13:2). Therefore, to insult your elected officials, you are in essence, insulting your Maker.

So I hope I have given you enough to chew on. Let’s see what you’ve got!

tom wolff said...

Hey Ed, let me share with you my immediate response when you wrote that the Gospel of John chapter 1 read like it was an ancient myth – we’re friends, and so I hope you’ll understand when I say I was annoyed. The Prologue of John (John 1:1-:18) is one of the greatest pieces of philosophical writings in human history. It is one of the clearest descriptions of God putting on a human body (named Jesus). And this Word is eternal, He was there from the beginning, and the Word is through whom everyone / everything was created. And He is also the Light of the world – and the world has rejected its Creator. And so let me put aside my peevishness, and try to explain a little more about why I and many Christians believe that this is such a profound text.

This passage starts by describing the Word, “In the beginning was the Word…” I don’t think the English language does justice to what is being described here. The Apostle John borrows from the great Greek philosophers and uses the Greek word ‘Logos’. As one commentator describes this – “However, John used it in a unique way, to teach that Jesus was the embodiment or expression of all that God is (compare Col. 1:15–23; Hebrews 1:3).”

And then there is the great truth in verse 14, this Word/Logos was with God, and the Word/Logos was God, and made His dwelling among us. Again, looking at the original language helps in drawing out what this means – The Word/Logos tabernacled with humanity. You have friends who have a Jewish background, and they may help you with understanding what this means. The Tabernacle was the tent where Israel worshipped and encountered God before the Temple was built. And so, for the Word/Logos to tabernacle with humanity, means that those alive at the time of Christ actually were encountering the Creator of the Universe. It’s an astounding thought.

But the world rejected Him. Yet to all who receive Him is given the right to be called children of God (John 1:12).

No virgin Mary, no inn, no manger, no wise men, but the great Christmas story still told, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. And so, there is nothing mythical about what John has written here. Instead, this is the highest form of reason – a description of Who the Creator is, and what He has done for the world. I hope this helps. John's Prologue is rational, clear, concise and yet filled with large philosophical truths. Nothing in ancient myths can compare to what John has written here.

tom wolff said...

BTW, thanks Bryan for adding your favorite verses. I was hoping you would find time to tell us some of verses that were meaningful to you.

Edward Oleander said...

hi Tom... sorry it took so long to answer, but I'm just coming off a couple really busy weeks... gotta get the hours when I can... Now it looks a couple weeks with no hours, so expect a few really long convoluted posts soon...

Your Bush = America will deserve a few days to track down all the quotes I need, but excuse me while I puffle and exclaim "Preposterous!" in a stuffy English accent...

As for the mythological underpinnings to Judeo/Christian (J/C) belief, I knew it would bother you, and I apologize for that, but there's no gentle way to call someone's treasured beliefs a myth.

I should have been more emphatic about referring back to Genesis. By the time time John made his contribution to the Scriptures, the Creation story was already at least 1000 years old, and probably a few thousand. I need to do more research on this point, but the basic origins that I believe sound like classic myth come very early in Scripture. For the moment, I leave you with a few thoughts:

1) If J/C Creation is not a myth, why was it geographically restricted for so long? Regionalism is one of the universal hallmarks of myth, and J/C Creation is quite regional. If all peoples radiated out from the middle East in Biblical fashion, why wasn't the Creation story carried around the world?

2) Early (Oral) versions of myths commonly have points of disagreement or contradiction. It is only after they are written down that they begin to CONverge into one final draft. The Norse Eddas and the stories of Paul Bunyan are good examples. So too, in my belief, is Genesis. Two different Creation stories, followed by centuries of trying to reconcile them.

3) Myth, upon examination AS myth, is often found to be allegorical, even though in it's early forms it is treated (and believed) as solid fact. Today, we see fewer and fewer people taking the literal Young Earth viewpoint, and more and more people seeing the Bible, especially the Creation bits, as allegory to actual events. This seems to be following the usual path toward being declared myth...

More in a few days. How is Grandma Kay doing?

edward oleander said...

We need to respect Acting President Bush, and never,ever criticize him, no matter how many laws he breaks, portions of the Constitution he suspends, powers of the other governmental branches he steals, or puppies he bayonets, because GOD personally installed him as our leader?

Oh. I see now. You're right. How silly of me... I was totally suckered in by those godless, Commie, left-wing whackos like Jefferson and Franklin, who missed the obvious truth of your statements. In fact, now that I realize how wrong our entire Revolution was, I think we should humbly petition the Queen to allow us to rejoin, if not the Empire, at least the Commonwealth... Damn those French for egging us into sinful and foul rebellion against the god-given Crown...

Since the Bush Pseudo-Presidency was officially sanctioned by God, these must really BE the end times after all... So I guess this answers the question of which version of the Second Coming is correct... Here we are, eight years into the seven years of Hell on Earth, and the Rapture hasn't happened yet...


tom wolff said...

Hey Ed,

While I would normally try and pick apart your argument, I'm not doing that today (or during the next month.) I'm in my Happy Place now with my 'Surprise Me, God' experiment. I no longer have to persuade or argue with everyone on all points where they are wrong, like this one. Whoops, there I go again. Back to my Happy Place (did you see Happy Gilmore and remember his Happy Place?)