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Christian Living

Form a Habit of Regular Bible Reading

Hide God’s Word in Your Heart

God gave us the Bible so that we might learn about him and draw closer to him. While some people think of the Bible as God’s instruction manual for right living and proper performance, I think of it more as a love letter.

Because God loves us (Romans 5:8) and wants us to be in relationship with him, he adoringly provides the Bible to us to guide us and draw us to him. The Bible, along with Holy Spirit guidance, stands as God’s greatest resource for us to live a life worth living for our Lord’s honor and glory.

All we need to do is read its words.

How’s that going for you? This isn’t a question to make you feel guilty. It’s a gentle prod to encourage you to embrace regular Bible reading. Just as we need food to sustain us physically, we need a regular helping of God’s Word to sustain us spiritually.

Read and Study Scripture

How you go about immersing yourself in God’s Word is up to you, as guided by the Holy Spirit. But don’t leave this to chance, because if you do, life’s issues will push Bible reading aside and you’ll never find time to do it. Instead be intentional.

Form a habit of daily Bible reading, study, and meditation.

Schedule time each day to read God’s Word. Commit to doing this daily until it becomes a habit, as natural as eating and sleeping.

You may want to use a daily devotional or Bible study to lead you in immersing yourself in Scripture. Or you may opt to follow a daily reading plan that will intentionally and methodically guide you into reading and ingesting large sections of Scripture over time.

This will produce a holistic understanding of its contents. The main thing is to have a plan for reading the Bible, and follow that plan.

Though I’ve used daily devotionals and Bible studies to direct my reading of God’s Word, I prefer a daily reading plan. There are several Bible reading plans to choose from, and I have four options for you to consider.

An Annual Bible Reading Plan

I like to read the entire Bible each year. This includes reading the sections I like and the sections I struggle with. This is so that in one year I’ll complete a comprehensive survey of the entire Bible.

It only takes twelve to fifteen minutes a day. But this is a small commitment to help us grow in our faith and pursue a healthy spiritual life.

A New Testament Bible Reading Plan

If reading the entire Bible in a year, carving out a quarter of an hour each day, seems like too much of a commitment, I get it. I’ve been there. How about three to four minutes each weekday? That’s how much time it will take to read the New Testament in one year.

An Old Testament Bible Reading Plan

If you’ve read the New Testament and want to expand your Bible reading, but aren’t ready to embark on reading the entire Bible, consider a thorough look at the Old Testament. By reading ten to twelve minutes a day, you can read the Old Testament in one year.

Monthly Bible Reading Plans

If none of these options feel like the right fit for you and you want to start out small—or start midyear—consider a monthly Bible reading plan. This is a great way to get started in regularly reading the Bible.

Any Bible reading is better than no Bible reading. Click To Tweet

Pick a Plan and Commit

There are a lot of options to reading the Bible. Pick one and commit to it. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Any Bible reading is better than no Bible reading. Remember, God gave us the Bible so we can learn more about him and be in relationship with him.

This is the most important relationship we’ll ever have. Don’t squander it

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Is Jesus Waiting for You?

The Son of Man Stands to Welcome Stephen Into Heaven

Stephen stands before the Sanhedrin. His testimony becomes a sermon, which smartly recaps the story arc of the Old Testament, starting with father Abraham and spilling over into the New Testament, ending with a sacrificial death of Jesus.

Though I would never suggest someone skip reading the Old Testament, if you want a quick understanding of its essential elements, study this passage.

Though Stephen’s historical recitation is accurate, it offends the Jewish leaders. They plug their ears, scream loudly, and rush toward Stephen. They drag him outside the city and begin throwing rocks at him. Stephen’s getting stoned.

As he dies, he prays. First he asks Jesus to get ready for him. Then he prays for the people pelting him with rocks, that they’ll receive forgiveness for their murderous act. Then Stephen dies.

But there’s one part of the story I left out—an important part. Between Stephen ending his overview of the Old Testament and his hearers becoming so incensed with his words, he looks up into heaven and tells the people what he sees.

He sees God in all his glory, with Jesus at his side. But Jesus isn’t sitting next to Father God, as the Bible usually describes. This time Jesus stands. It’s as though he has stood up, ready to welcome Stephen into heaven.

Even before Stephen prays for Jesus to get ready to receive his spirit when his body dies, Jesus is prepared. He rises, ready to welcome his faithful servant into eternal glory.

When our time comes to join Jesus in heaven, may we receive the same welcome as Stephen did. Click To Tweet

Though the Bible doesn’t mention it, I imagine Jesus with outstretched arms, a broad smile, and mouthing the words, “Welcome home, good and faithful servant.” When our time comes to join Jesus in heaven, may we receive the same welcome.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Acts 5-7, and today’s post is on Acts 7:56.]

Read more about the book of Acts in Tongues of Fire: 40 Devotional Insights for Today’s Church from the Book of Acts, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. [Originally published as Dear Theophilus Acts.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

How Do We React to the Glory of the Lord?

We should Fall on Our Faces in the Presence of God’s Glory

A man brings Ezekiel to the temple. The glory of the Lord fills the place. Overwhelmed, Ezekiel falls facedown, worshiping the Almighty.

How often do we encounter the glory of the Lord? How often do we fall facedown in reverent worship of our all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present creator? Not often enough, I fear.

Though some people may encounter the glory of the Lord at church on Sunday, it’s been sadly lacking from my church experiences. And I’ve visited a lot of churches: 52 Churches, More Than 52 Churches, and counting.

Yes, I’ve experienced this awe-inspiring spiritual reality at times, but it’s never happened at a Sunday service. Why?

Most of today’s scripted and timed church services leave no room for the glory of the Lord to reveal itself. We have a schedule to keep. We have expectations to leave on time so we can have time for what happens next.

Too often church attendance is something we squeeze into an already packed day. We check it off our list and go on to the next thing. In doing so, we miss the glory of the Lord. In doing so, we miss the opportunity to fall on our face in holy reverent worship.

Experience the Presence of the Glory of the Lord

Seldom have I encountered the presence of the glory of the Lord at a church service. Yet I can’t say never. I do remember one time. It was an unusual service in an atypical setting. Hardly anyone showed up.

The minister launched into her prepared message, but a few minutes later the Holy Spirit sent her in a different direction. She talked for near on an hour about a different topic—one she hadn’t expected to give, but was fully prepared to do so—engaging us in the process and teaching us what God wanted us to hear.

Thank you, Papa.

Overwhelmed by a supernatural encounter with Almighty God, my only response was to kneel and bow in worship. Click To Tweet

She wrapped up her message, gave the benediction, and we stood. I expected the service was over and prepared to leave. Not so fast. “Do you want to stay and worship God?” Most certainly.

Moving to a different space, we sang two songs, lasting forty-five minutes. The glory of the Lord filled the place. We basked in his presence. Overwhelmed by this supernatural encounter with Almighty God, my only response was to drop to my knees and bow down in worship of him.

It’s a church experience I will never forget.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Ezekiel 43-45, and today’s post is on Ezekiel 44:4.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Omission or Addition in the Bible?

After prior discussions about adding to or taking away from the Bible, it gives one pause in considering footnotes in some translations, which effectively note that a certain phrase or verse is “not found in all manuscripts.”

Consider the Lord’s Prayer. The end is one such example: “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Matthew 6:9-13).

Or when the disciples can’t cast out a demon and Jesus says, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” The footnote adds “…and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Which is it? Prayer or prayer and fasting?

The largest such passage is the conclusion to Mark’s gospel, where the last twelve (Mark 16:8–20 ) verses are not included in all manuscripts.

So is it an error to include them or an error to exclude them? In these, and all other instances, I think that it is wise to include them. Here is why.

As a writer, I often revise my own work to improve it, such as adding something that I forgot or to correct imprecise wording. Sometimes this occurs after it its initial publication. It’s likely that biblical writers did the same.

As an editor I sometimes change a writer’s words to clarify what is unclear or confusing. Scribes who made copies of the Bible may have done the same, albeit with much more care and consideration.

So I’m not concerned with minor differences between the ancient manuscripts. The overall message remains unaltered and the additional text adds clarity and fullness.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Mark 8-10, and today’s post is on Mark 9:29.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

 

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Christian Living

We Must Listen to the Holy Spirit and Obey Him

God Gives Us Holy Spirit Inspiration to Guide Us for Our Benefit and His Glory

For the last week, I had planned to write the introduction to my next book. I had the whole thing outlined, and I knew what I wanted to cover in the opening pages. Each day I asked God to give me the right words, but nothing came.

Inspiration eluded me. So instead of working on that book, I worked on another one.

Yesterday morning, during my morning exercise ritual, part of which includes praying, one of my topics for the day was to “Pray for Holy Spirit inspiration.” I prayed.

The words for my uncooperative introduction flooded into my mind. I know from experience that I must capture them immediately or they will quickly fade, eventually disappearing altogether.

I stopped exercising at that moment and sat down in front of my computer. I wrote for the next hour. With my introduction finished I resumed exercising.

I learned the hard way that when I’m inspired to write something—whether directly from the Holy Spirit or indirectly—I must write immediately. If I don’t, I will lose those words and inspiration. And they may not return.

Holy Spirit Inspiration

The Holy Spirit is my writing muse, and I must not ignore him.

Yet the Holy Spirit speaks to me at other times too. Sometimes this is insight for me or to share with another. Other times it’s something I must do.

To my discredit, I’m not always so quick to jump when the Holy Spirit gives me direction. At times I question his words because they make no sense to me, and he needs to tell me twice—sometimes three times. Then I act.

However—and I’m ashamed to admit this—sometimes I don’t act at all. Instead I debate with the Holy Spirit. Surely he didn’t mean what he said, because it makes no sense. Could it be that I heard wrong? This happens. In the end I talk myself out of following through.

May we learn to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit. Click To Tweet

When the Holy Spirit tells me to write, I learned I must do so and do so immediately. I wish I could respond just as quickly when he tells me to do other things. May I learn to do so and learn quickly.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

The Final Words from New Testament Books

What Can We Learn from the Ending Sentence or Thought in Each Book of the Bible?

As a writer I know the two most important things of anything I write are the beginning and the ending. A strong opening draws readers and keeps them interested, while a powerful close gives readers something to take with them.

Though I don’t think biblical writers focused on these two areas, it’s still interesting to look at how they wrapped up their writings. Here’s a list of the last sentence or thought from each of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament.

The Final Words in the Book of Matthew

Matthew ends by quoting Jesus, which many embrace as a personal call to action.

“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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ ” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV).

The Final Words in the Book of Mark

Mark has two endings, with the second one not found in all manuscripts. But since the first version ends abruptly and leaves us hanging. I’ll share the concluding thought in the second one.

“After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mark 16:19-20, NIV).

The Final Words in the Book of Luke

Luke ends his biography of Jesus by telling us what his followers did. This contrasts to what Jesus told his followers to do at the end of Matthew.

“When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God” (Luke 24:50-53, NIV).

The Final Words in the Book of John

As a writer I especially appreciate the end of the book of John, but from a broader perspective it makes me wish more people had written about the life of Jesus. I want to know more.

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25, NIV).

The Final Words in the Book of Acts

Luke concludes the book of Acts with what may be Paul’s last work here on earth. This should encourage us to finish strong.

“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:30-31, NIV).

The Final Words of the Letters from Paul

Paul ends most of his letters succinctly and often with a bit of encouragement. A reoccurring word in many of his parting lines is grace.

“…to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen (Romans 16:27, NIV).

“My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen” (1 Corinthians 16:24, NIV).

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14, NIV).

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen” (Galatians 6:18, NIV).

“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love” (Ephesians 6:24, NIV).

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen” (Philippians 4:23, NIV).

“I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you” (Colossians 4:18, NIV).

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (1 Thessalonians 5:28, NIV).

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:18, NIV).

“Grace be with you all” (1 Timothy 6:21b, NIV).

“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all” (2 Timothy 4:22, NIV).

“Grace be with you all” (Titus 3:15b, NIV).

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Philemon 1:25, NIV).

The Final Words in the Book of Hebrews

Though we don’t know who wrote Hebrews, it’s interesting to see a similarity to Paul’s sign offs.

“Grace be with you all” (Hebrews 13:25, NIV).

The Final Words from James

Noted for his direct, practical writing, James ends his book the same way.

“Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:20, NIV).

The Final Words of the Letters of Peter

The ending to Peter’s two letters are much different than Paul’s.

“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ” (Peter 5:14, NIV).

“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14, NIV).

The Final Words of the Letters from John

There seems to be no similarity in how John concludes his three letters.

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21, NIV).

“The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings” (2 John 1:13, NIV).

“I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name” (3 John 1:14, NIV).

The Final Words from Jude

Over the years, I’ve heard many church services end by quoting these two verses.

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 1:24-25, NIV).

The Final Words in the Book of Revelation

And last, we have the final words of the Bible.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” (Revelation 22:21, NIV).

When we read the Bible and get to the end of a book, what do we do? Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

When we read the Bible and get to the end of a book, what do we do? Do we read fast and quickly close our Bible, glad to have finished another book, or do we let the ending sit with us a while as we contemplate its words?

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

The Prayer Tower: Thoughts about Seeking God in High Places

A Personal Essay About Encountering God, Prayer, and Hiding in a Prayer Tower

The afternoon assignment at a writers retreat is to take a walk and describe our observations. Leaving the rest of the group in search of some needed solitude, I come upon a sign that simply says, “Prayer Tower.” I can’t ignore the opportunity. Suddenly, my journey has added purpose.

I take a sharp left and begin my assent. A few steps, a landing, and then more stairs. Turn right, walk a bit, and climb some more, I wind my way up the hill.

There’s another landing and then a U-turn, followed by more walking and more stairs: fifty steps and counting; soon seventy-five gives way to one hundred.

What will I find? Am I climbing a stairway to heaven? One hundred and sixteen steps later, I reach my destination: a platform, presumably for prayer. A prayer tower. Panting, I pause to catch my breath.

The vista is grand, with the panorama of Lake Michigan, my favorite of the Great Lakes. I look west, with water as far as I can see; the far shore hides behind the horizon’s dip.

A few ships dot the distance before me. An occasional car announces its presence behind me. All around are tree-covered sand dunes, sprinkled with homes and a string of condominiums.

With winter giving way to spring, naked tree branches creak to a brisk breeze. The biting wind tightens the once warm skin of my face. Below me friends walk along the beach, next to the frigid waters with wind-swept waves.

Others, having grown tired or cold, are already retreating, seeking to recapture the warmth of inside.

The sight and sounds of birds, varieties mostly unknown to me, abound, too many to count. Gulls prevail with their plaintive caw, while a diligent woodpecker tap-tap-taps, either searching for food, forming a home, or seeking to attract a mate.

Gray skies, decorated with blustery clouds, complete the picture.

God’s nature surrounds me. His wind pushes against me. Only with commitment to my task do I stand firm against winter’s final onslaught. I stand in awe. I try to pray, but words allude me. Why do I need to climb a prayer tower to pray, anyway?

In the Bible Moses ascends Mount Sinai and God’s glory descends. There he encounters God’s power (Exodus 24:15-18).

Jacob dreams of a stairway connecting earth with heaven. Angels traverse it; God stands at the top. Jacob proclaims this awesome place as God’s house and the gate into heaven (Genesis 28:12-17).

Although encouraging, these verses, do not confirm that I need elevation to better connect with the Almighty.

In a less reassuring instance, Moses—denied entry into the Promised Land because of one act of disobedience—is told to climb mount Nebo. From there he sees in the distance what God is withholding from him. Then he dies (Deuteronomy 32:48-52 and Deuteronomy 34:1-6).

His mountain vantage doesn’t symbolize connection with God as much as punishment for sin and a lost reward.

Other biblical accounts point to elevation as a place of temptation.

From Leviticus to Amos, the “high places” (mentioned 59 times in the NIV) are usually a site for idol worship and heathen practices, providing an ongoing snare to God’s people, repeatedly distracting them from him.

Some kings remove the high places or at least try to diminish their use, only to have a future generation restore them.

The tower of Babel, intended as a monument that reaches up to the heavens isn’t an attempt to connect with God as much as an arrogant tribute to aggrandizement. God quickly ends their brash scheme (Genesis 11:3-9).

I can pray anytime, anywhere, and God hears me just fine. Click To Tweet

Balaam has his issues with altitude, as well. Although God prevents him from cursing Israel when atop various mountain vistas and thereby keeping him from earning the rich rewards he desires (Numbers 22-24), things don’t go well for Balaam.

A sword later ends his life, exacting God’s final punishment (Numbers 31:8). Jude labels this profit motive as the error of Balaam (Jude 1:11).

Jesus likewise encounters temptation in high places, with Satan twice attempting to use an elevated vantage to derail Jesus from his mission. Fortunately for us, Jesus prevails, and the enemy retreats (Luke 4:1-13).

Based on my quick review of what the Bible records about elevated places, it seems a prayer tower may not be the ideal place to connect with God. Yet here it is, and I stand atop it, seeking to do just that.

From my hilltop perspective, I don’t just see nature and friends. I also spot remnants of other activities. Bottles, mostly broken, suggest this place of prayer gives way to revelry in the nighttime hours.

Other trash is more disparaging. I see that SB climbed a tree to carve his “forever” love to ND. I try to not consider the ramifications any further. Suddenly I don’t feel quite so close to God. This prayer tower, this high place is as much hideout as haven.

Although I encounter God in the prayer tower, I pray little. But that’s okay. I can pray anytime, anywhere, and God hears me just fine. After all, he’s always with me (Psalm 73:23).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Don’t Be Alarmed: Supernatural Encounters May Be Scary

Angels often start by telling the people they visit to not be afraid

The Book of Mark wraps up with three women going to the tomb of Jesus to anoint his body. They are Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. They approach the tomb preoccupied, wondering how they will roll the stone away to gain access. As it turns out, this won’t be a problem.

When they arrive at the tomb the stone has already been rolled away. They see a young man sitting there. He’s wearing a white robe. He’s like an angel, but there’s no indication if they realize this or not. But his presence does surprise them.

The first thing he says is, “Don’t be alarmed!” (Mark 16:6, CEB).

Throughout the Bible, whenever anyone has a supernatural encounter with angels, one of the first things these heavenly beings say is usually, “Don’t be afraid!”

I get this.

Should someone not from this world appear before us, our first reaction would certainly be fright. Without assurance, our first response would likely be flight. It would be hard for us to hear their heavenly message if we were running away from them.

I’d like to think my reaction would be different. I’d like to think I wouldn’t be afraid of an angel that God sent to me. I’d like to think I would confidently hear everything they would say, though in awe over their presence.

But I know me. I know better. Though I might be brave in my spirit, in my mind I would fear, just like everyone else.

What will our reaction be when we see God for the first time? Click To Tweet

If a typical reaction to an angelic encounter is fear, what will our reaction be when we see God for the first time?

I’d like to think I’d feel peace. I’d like to think I would approach him with confidence and embrace him. I’d like to think I would remain calm.

But I know me. I know better. I’m sure I would tremble in his presence. Fear and excitement would surge through me in anticipation and apprehension, quaking in fear over the unknown.

I suspect the first words God will say to me will be, “Don’t be alarmed. Do not fear.”

And then everything will be okay, because I will be home, basking in the glory of his presence.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Mark 14-16, and today’s post is on Mark 16:5-6.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

The Light of the World and the Light of Heaven

God will shine so brightly that we won’t need the sun to see

As the epic battle in Revelation continues, just before Babylon—the symbol of all that’s evil—is about to receive her final punishment, an angel comes from heaven.

John writes that this angel has great authority, and his splendor illuminates the earth (Revelation 18:1). I don’t know if this angel’s great authority makes him an archangel or not, but it does make him a very special angel. This may be why he shines so brightly.

Imagine that. An angel who shines bright enough to light up the whole earth. This is not a searchlight that illuminates one spot at a time, but a floodlight that lights up everything.

But this angel isn’t the only one who shines brightly. Later on in Revelation, John writes that in the future, there will be no need to light a lamp or for the sun to shine, because God will be our light, the only light we need to see (Revelation 22:5). 

In our future home, God’s splendor will shine so brightly that we won’t need the sun. Click To Tweet

Isaiah says the same thing. In the glory of the future city there’s no need for sun or moon to shine, for the brilliance of God will provide all the light we need (Isaiah 60:19). God will be our everlasting light. He will surround us with his splendor.

When we think of an angel lighting up the world by the glory of his authority, that’s an amazing image. I don’t know if he’ll shine as brightly as the sun, but I do know that in our future home, God’s splendor will shine so brightly that we won’t need the sun to be able to see.

The light of God will be the only light we need. And that’s more than enough.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Revelation 17-19, and today’s post is on Revelation 18:1.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

John Calls Jesus the Word; Does that Make Him the Word of God?

Considering Jesus as the Word of God Shines New Light on Some Verses in the Bible

The book of John, which is a biography of Jesus, opens with a most poetic passage. It calls Jesus the Word. It confirms Jesus’s presence at creation and that he took part in it. In fact without Jesus creation wouldn’t have happened.

Life came through Jesus. His life gives us light, a light that shines for us in darkness. And, best of all, the light of Jesus overcomes the darkness (John 1:5).

While you may think I’m taking liberties with the text by claiming the Word refers to Jesus, keep reading the passage. Later on John writes that this Word became human and joined us on earth. The Word showed us his glory as the one and only son from Father God (John 1:14).

It’s easy to see from the above passage that Jesus is the Word, life, and light, as well as creator. But what if Jesus is the Word of God?

We commonly think of the word of God as the Bible, but remember that the New Testament of the Bible didn’t exist until several centuries after Jesus’s death and resurrection. In light of this, I prefer to think of the word of God as the spoken word of God, more so than the written word.

But let’s take this one additional step. What if Jesus is more than the Word? What if he’s actually the Word of God?

What if Jesus is actually the Word of God? Click To Tweet

This thought isn’t mine alone. John thought it too. In another of his writings he, in fact, calls Jesus the Word of God (Revelation 20:4). Curious.

The Bible contains 39 mentions of the word of God. Though it doesn’t flow smoothly in all cases, as a thought-provoking exercise, let’s reword some of these verses to say Jesus instead of word of God.

Here we go:

  • “You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition” (Matthew 15:6) becomes “You nullify Jesus for the sake of your tradition.”
  • “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11) becomes “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is Jesus.”
  • “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28) becomes “Blessed rather are those who hear Jesus and obey him.”
  • “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables” (Acts 6:2) becomes “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of Jesus in order to wait on tables.”
  • “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John” (Acts 8:14) becomes “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted Jesus, they sent Peter and John.”
  • “The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God” (Acts 11:1) becomes “The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received Jesus.”
  • “So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God” (Acts 18:11) becomes “So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them Jesus.”
  • “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit” (2 Corinthians 2:17) becomes “Unlike so many, we do not peddle Jesus for profit.”

There are many more interesting examples, but you get the point. Considering Jesus as the word of God and inserting his name into these verses elevates their impact for me. I hope it does for you, too.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is John 1-2, and today’s post is on John 1:1-5, 14.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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