For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. (1Thess 5:5-6)
Ignorance is an opiate that lulls many a conscience to sleep. (Robertson Whiteside, Doctrinal Discourses)
For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. (1Thess 5:5-6)
Since I have written several and published some Bible Class literature, I am in the position to hear a lot of complaining about it. That is why I have written so much of it—I wasn't happy either. While I only have a couple of published books out there, I have another half dozen in my computer file that I have taught and could print out for publication with very little more work. So, yes, I feel for you teachers who are looking for material.
Most of that was women's literature. As for children's? My biggest gripe about the genre was first, the errors. I actually grew up being taught in the Journeys Through the Bible and the like workbooks that Jacob married Leah after seven years of work, and then worked another seven years before he married Rachel. I heard more times than I can count that Bathsheba was bathing on the rooftop. I was given pictures to color that had the wise men showing up at the stable. And we won't even start with the cultural errors that showed not only in the pictures, but also the wording and assumptions.
Second, the workbooks were all too easy. You could have given the fifth grade books to second graders and the high school books to sixth graders. Do you want to know why so many of our children are bored with church? Because we are the ones boring them to death!
But that is not the point I want to make this morning. We will never find perfect Bible class literature for our children. With so many different styles of learners out there, and so many different needs in different cultures/neighborhoods, it is impossible. When people start complaining, I worry that what we have is uncreative teachers with little insight into what their students actually need. So how do we go about choosing good literature? Here are a few guidelines.
1. Carefully assess the needs of your group. And folks, that means look at the parents. The attitudes your students have come directly from their raising. If the parents are good Bible students, usually their own children will arrive with a completed workbook and answers to all your questions. If not, then you must steel yourself to go over the story in class, again and again, to get it across. If the parents are all about the facts but not about the heart, you will need to stress godly attitudes. If the parents are all about emotionalism and "God knows my heart" is supposed to excuse any misapplication of scripture, then you need to stress God's attitude to the disobedient. It may take a couple of quarters to figure all this out, but if you do not, you won't ever accomplish much that truly needs accomplishing.
2. Now that you know the needs, begin to look over the various curricula carefully in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses. It should be obvious that you need to be knowledgeable in the scriptures in order to do this. If you see that ubiquitous little boat picture of the ark with half a dozen windows and doors, and the giraffe's head sticking out of it because it's shorter than a giraffe and do not immediately see red flags, please go study Genesis again. As I said, you will not find one that's perfect, but egregious errors should be obvious to you. Then choose the one that fills the needs (#1) with the least amount of error.
3. Do not approach the curriculum you have chosen as the be-all and end-all. Instead, use it as a guide. Adapt and re-adapt as you see the need arise. One of my published classbooks has a statement pointing out that I have given the teacher too many scriptures to use on a particular point. I expect the teacher to go over those passages and choose what is relevant to her group. To my mind, that is the way to use Bible class literature. Adapt, adapt, adapt.
4. Feel free to add your own methods to the book. I do not teach like you and you do not teach like I. I have certain ways I teach memory verses and people, places, and things facts. And students do not relate to each method in the same way. My methods tend to cater to active children, helping them harness that energy in productive ways. Yours may reach a different type of child. Anyone who thinks there is only one correct way to teach a Bible narrative probably ought not be a teacher in the first place.
5. No matter what curriculum you have chosen, no matter how many times you have taught that lesson over the years, pretend you have never seen it before, and read it out of the Bible half a dozen times before you ever read it out of the workbook. The first classbook I ever wrote came as a result of me doing exactly that. I could not believe the number of errors I was taught nor the wrong ideas that had been placed in my mind by teachers who simply went over the classbook and never opened a Bible because they thought they "knew the story."
In the middle school class I taught for years, the kids had two favorite activities. One was, "How many mistakes can you find in the book?" They were to read the Bible first and then the classbook and look for them. It was the first order of business in every class. Besides becoming completely familiar with the lesson, it also taught them a pretty good principle about manmade material. The second was, "I'm going to teach you something most grownups don't know." Talk about hearing a pin drop. I had their attention in a flash, and most parents learned those things, too, when their children went home that day.
However, you choose your material, stop looking for perfection. You won't find it. Instead, look for guides. Try to find ways to help embed these truths into our children so that nowhere along the line someone will write of them: "And there arose a generation who knew not God."
Due to the huge number of college football games seen in my home lately, that commercial in which cows turn on lights, parachute onto a football field, and stand on top of a car pestering the little boy in the back seat has evidently made an impression on me. A survey company called the other day. A long time ago I made a few dollars doing phone surveys and appreciated anyone who did not slam the phone down, so I answered their questions. “Which fast food chain comes to mind first?” I answered immediately, not with any of the hamburger, pizza, sandwich, or taco joints; but the chicken place with the name I never knew how to pronounce until I was grown.
Those commercials stand out to me for a reason—those are dairy cows! They don’t need to worry about becoming someone’s hamburger.
Does it make a difference? Only to purists, I suppose. The commercials certainly do what they are designed to do as evidenced by my quick answer to the survey question.
But for some things it does make a difference. Jesus warned that blind leaders will cause others to fall into the ditch too; God wasn’t going to save them because someone led them the wrong way. John tells us in the fourth chapter of his first epistle that God expects us to “prove the spirits” because many false ones have gone out into the world. Paul marveled in chapter one that the Galatians had been fooled so soon after their conversion. None of them told us not to worry, that God would save us if we were tricked into believing something that wasn’t so.
A long time ago, a prophet was sent to warn King Jeroboam about his sinful ways. God told that prophet not to stop anywhere on his way home. An older prophet sent word for him to come by for dinner. When the younger prophet told him he could not, the older prophet lied, saying, “God said it was all right for you to eat with me.” Instead of checking with God first, the younger prophet stopped by the older prophet’s home. Before they had finished their meal God came to him and told him he would be punished for his disobedience, and, sure enough, on the way home he was killed by a lion (1 Kings 13).
Not knowing the difference between what God said and what this man had said, even a prophet of God, cut his life short. God expected that young man to check with Him when he heard a command other than the original. God expects the same of you and me. And even though this young prophet probably thought he could rely on one of his own, one older and supposedly wiser as well, that didn’t mean the message was correct.
One cow is not the same as the other, no matter what it looks like, or what we think about it. Believe me, you could tell the difference between steaks cut from dairy cattle and those cut from beef cattle. And the first time you tried to milk a steer would definitely be the last. Believing a false message, no matter who tells you and no matter what you want to believe, will not make that message true, and the results will be much more serious than a tough steak or even a kick in the head. .
But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you abide in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them, 2 Tim 3:13,14.
The first publication of Fahrenheit 451 occurred on October 19, 1953. In this picture of a dystopian society (one that is unpleasant and dehumanizing, according to one definition I found), books are banned. All books. Firemen do not put out fires—they start them, burning down houses and buildings that contain books. The title comes, not from the burning point of paper, but from the auto-ignition point—the temperature at which paper will catch fire without being exposed to an external flame, and even that varies according to circumstances. Still, it makes for a catchy title.
One fireman gradually becomes disenchanted with his job. He begins to see that his society is obsessed with frantic consumption and shallow entertainment. If all books are subversive, why is it that the secret book readers he comes across are the only people who can carry on intelligent and profound conversations? Eventually he flees his life and becomes part of a group that preserves books by memorizing them.
How many ways can we go with this? Far too many for one short post, so let's just keep it to a couple of obvious ones.
First, I checked to see how many places ban the Bible. The answer is complex because there are exceptions to the laws, but the Gideons, the group known for handing out free Bibles, says they are not allowed to operate in Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Comoros, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. In some of those places churches can order Bibles but not individuals. In some they can be printed but only in certain languages. In some places you can import but not publish. So the answer is not short and easy. Still, it proves that ready access to the Word of God should not be taken for granted.
Let's take a moment to caution everyone about articles on Facebook. Many people jump the gun before they read the fine print and assume things that are false. Evidently that happened with a proposed bill in California. Someone posted that the bill would ban the Bible. From my research, that does not seem to be the case. However, there have been instances where students in various parts of the country were told they could not read their Bibles at school. In some cases, the outrage brought an apology, but the Devil starts small until he weasels his way into our culture. Look at the things that are now accepted that at one time everyone disapproved of. When I was a child, I heard someone on television say that one day it would be a crime in this country to read your Bibles, but it would be legal in Russia. At the height of the Cold War that seemed preposterous. Now I am not so sure.
Let's also consider this: if it were to suddenly become illegal to own and read a Bible, if "firemen" did make their living burning the Word of God, how much difference would it make in your life? If you don't read it now, why should you even be upset about it? Seems a little hypocritical to me.
And if you were to run away to find a group of Bible readers who had memorized the Scriptures so they would not be lost forever, how much could you offer them? Yes, I know memorization is more difficult as you grow older—I forget words I have known for decades. But I know my address, my phone number, my passwords, my social security number, and the last four digits of three or four credit cards. Don't you? It all boils down to what is important to us, doesn't it? I have no right to become outraged with the premise of Bradbury's novel as it relates to the Bible, when the Bible doesn't mean enough to me to read it, to know it, or to live it.
One of these days, Fahrenheit 451 may indeed come to pass for Christians. Let's make sure there are enough people around who still care.
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts ,knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2Pet 1:19-21
Several years back we camped at Cloudland Canyon one autumn week, enjoying the new varieties of bird, the mountains carpeted with fall colors, and the spectacle every morning of clouds wafting through the campground from the cliffs just beyond it, cliffs high enough to look down on hawks as they soared by.
The neighbors twenty yards away were a small family, a man, his wife, and two little boys, the older about 7 or 8, and the younger just barely past the toddler years. This was obviously a planned family outing, one that probably didn’t happen very often but that the parents were determined to make a good experience. They did everything in a planned and almost regimented fashion. “It’s time to light the fire.” “Now it’s time to tell ghost stories.” “Now it’s time to roast marshmallows.” In between all this, the mother was on her cell phone every hour or so, sometimes for as long as a half hour, seeing to her business.
And both parents became impatient at the drop of a hat. If the boys didn’t react to every activity as they thought they should, they became frustrated and almost angry. (Who should be surprised if a ghost story terrified a four year old?) They had mistaken the stereotype of a camping trip for the spontaneous fun of the real thing. They had probably fallen for that “quality time” myth.
And because we can’t seem to stop helping out, we offered them a few things, like some lighter wood to help get those campfires going more easily, and we occasionally stopped by on the way back and forth from the bathhouse, to talk and reminisce with them about the times when our two boys were that age. They seemed appreciative, especially the father, who, we discovered when we got closer, was about 20 years older than the usual father of boys that age, and quite a few years older than the mother.
As we talked we noticed that the older boy always wore Baylor tee shirts and sweat shirts and had a Baylor hat, so Keith talked to him some about football and asked how Baylor was doing. The father sighed and said, “He doesn’t know anything about Baylor football. He just likes the color green.”
They left after just a weekend, and it sounded like they were leaving one night early, perhaps disappointed that this hadn’t turned out quite like they had expected.
You can learn a lot yourselves, just considering this family. It’s always easier to judge from a distance. But that little boy can teach us all something today. Why is it that you assemble where you do? Why did you choose that place?
We would all understand the fallacy of going to the handiest place, regardless what they taught. But how about this: Do you go where you are needed, or to the place considered the most popular in the area, the most sociable, the one where you wouldn’t mind having people see you standing outside hobnobbing? Do you go where the work is hard or where the singing is good? Do you go where the preaching is entertaining or where the teaching is scriptural and plain? Do you go expecting the church to do for you, or because you want to do for them?
Too many Christians look upon a church in a proprietary way, as if they had the right to judge everything about it and everyone in it, especially the superficial things—the singing, the preaching, the way the people dress and their occupations and connections in the world. The way some people choose congregations, they might as well go because they like the color green.
The church belongs to Christ, that’s what “church of Christ” means. It belongs to God, that’s what “church of God” means. Christ’s church is there to give me an outlet for my service and a source of encouragement toward doing that service. It is not there to serve me and my preferences.
Someday that little boy will grow up and learn to examine the football programs he roots for, choosing them for their character and integrity instead of their colors. Maybe it’s time we grew up with him.
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Pet 4:9-13
I could hardly believe it when Silas reached kindergarten age. How in the world had that happened so quickly? When he found out he had to go back the second week, he said, “You mean I have to go again?!”
“Yes,” his mother told him, “there is a lot to learn.”
“But I already learned,” he said, sure that now he would get to stay home with her and his little brother. Of course, he found out otherwise quickly.
I know that no one would say it out loud, but sometimes I get the feeling some of my brothers and sisters have the same attitude. “I already learned!” which is supposed to justify their never studying for a Bible class, never attending an extra Bible study, never darkening the meetinghouse doors for anything but the Lord’s Supper, as if it were a magic potion that would save them that week regardless of anything else they did. What they have “learned” are usually the pet scriptures, the catchphrases, the simplistic theories that try to explain away the profound depth of the Scriptures—all those things that smack so much of a denominational mindset.
I have amazing women in my Bible classes, and let me tell you, most of them are neither young nor new Christians. These are women of a certain age, as we often say, who have sat on pews for longer than many others have been alive, yet they see the value in learning still more.
And that does not necessarily mean learning something new. Sometimes the learning has more to do with a deeper comprehension, uncovering another level of wisdom, or an additional way of applying a fact to one’s life, leading to a changed behavior or attitude. When I see someone in their later years actually change their lives because of a discovery made in Bible class, I am reminded yet again of the power of the Word. The most amazing thing about this living and active Word, is that if you are not blinded by self-satisfaction, every time you study it you can see something new. It’s like peeling an onion—you keep finding another layer underneath.
You may have “already learned” a great many things, but if that is your attitude, you will never grow beyond the boundaries you have placed upon yourself with that notion. Like a kindergartner who has learned his letters and numbers, you will be stuck in the basics, the “first principles,” and never come to a fuller comprehension of the magnitude of God’s wisdom and His plan for you. If you are still deciding how long to keep a preacher based upon how much you “enjoy” his preaching and how many times he visited you in the hospital, if you are mouthing things like “I never heard of such a thing” or “I am (or am not) comfortable with that,” with not a scripture reference in sight, you still have a long way to go.
God wants meat-eaters at His banquet. That means you need to chew a little harder and longer. Yes, it takes time away from recess to sit in class and learn some more. Yes, you have to process some new information which may not be as comfortable as you are used to. Your brain may even ache a little, but that is how you learn, by stretching those mental muscles instead of vegetating on the pew.
You may think you have “already learned,” but I bet you even my kindergartner grandson figured out very shortly that there was a whole lot more he needed to know. He’s a pretty smart kid. How about you?
Whom will he teach knowledge? and whom will he make to understand the message? them that are weaned from the milk…Isa 28:9.
Wherefore leaving the doctrine of the first principles of Christ, let us press on unto perfection…Heb 6:1.
What you don’t know won’t hurt you.
I didn’t know that Keith had taken Chloe’s food pan and set it in my chair on the carport when he blew the dust off a few Saturdays ago. He didn’t notice that she had left a few kibbles. Neither one of us knew that a few fire ants had gotten in there and they had migrated out to my chair when he disturbed them. I didn’t know they had started crawling into my clothes when I sat down there until a few minutes after we walked back into the house. Suddenly I was ripping off my clothes and slapping myself. I wound up with bites on my chest, back, arms, and legs, and a ring of them around my neck. I felt lousy for a day or two, not to mention the aggravating itch. What I didn’t know did in fact hurt me quite a bit.
That seems obvious, but sometimes we act like ignorance is a viable excuse for most anything. And indeed, sometimes it is. A new Christian has a lot to learn. As long as he is studying and praying and trying as hard as he can to learn what he needs to be and do, his prayer for the grace of God will keep him safe. I believe that with all my heart.
But when I have been a Christian for years and years and have done nothing to learn and grow, or have simply stopped, that is inexcusable.
Learning new facts can be difficult, especially as I grow older. Trying to see past the superficial to the amazing depth of God’s word can mean I must try to comprehend things I have never even thought of before. Yet how many times have I heard “I never heard of such a thing” as the instant dismissal of a new thought in a Bible class? How many times have I heard people complain because a class was “too deep?” What a shameful thing for a Christian to say.
Then we get to the crux of the matter, for applying principles to my life can be as painful as a shirt full of fire ants. Who in the world actually wants to know what they are doing wrong? Why, I’ve been a Christian forty years; I’m not about to admit I still have weaknesses I need to confront in anything but a general way.
That is, however, exactly what God expects of us. The shame is that usually the babes in the Word are hungrier to learn and grow than we old-timers. But we had better shape up, sooner rather than later, or ant bites will be the least of our problems.
Hear the word of Jehovah you children of Israel, for Jehovah has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth or goodness or knowledge of God in the land. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you…Hosea 4:1,6.
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5:11-14)
I'm going to step out on a limb here and say this about that: The Hebrew writer does not mean that everyone should reach the point that he should be a teacher in a formal classroom setting. If he did mean that, then why did James write: Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (Jas 3:1)?
What I believe the Hebrews passage means is that sooner or later we ought to have the knowledge to be able to teach. Whether we should stand up in front of a class is another question entirely.
BUT—the New Testament does teach that we should be able to do things that fall somewhere in the "teaching" area.
We should all reach the point that we can handle the problems life throws our way. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Heb 10:36-39)
By learning to persevere in this way, we become good examples to others. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8)
We should be able to give good advice. Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. (Prov 11:14) Let the older teach the younger, Titus adds in chapter 2.
We should be able to correct the wayward. Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Gal 6:1)
We should be able to answer the unbeliever. …but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (1Pet 3:15)
Not all of us will have the ability to organize a good lesson, the materials on hand to do the research that formal teaching may require, or the talent to keep an audience interested for long periods. But all of us are commanded to reach the point that we can teach in some capacity, whether over a backyard fence, across a coffee table, or perhaps just by being what we ought to be every minute of every day. When our "practice" has not been "constant" enough to enable us to even "discern good from evil," something is dreadfully wrong, and it's no one's fault but our own.
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity… (Heb 6:1)
Not so very long ago, someone made a not-so-vague reference to this blog as being "cute stories about dogs" instead of spiritual lessons. Well, I cannot deny that I occasionally tell cute stories about my dog, but sometimes I tell funny stories about my dog, or sad stories about my dog, or poignant stories about my dog, too. And sometimes I tell stories about the birds at my feeders or the garden or the camping trips or the doctor appointments or a host of other everyday things.
So yes, I do tell a lot of stories, but if people do not think I teach a spiritual lesson, they obviously quit reading before the end of each post. If I cannot make a spiritual lesson, or at least a life lesson, I don't put it on this blog. Anything else goes on my personal page, which might be every other week, counting blog links.
But let's look for a minute at the teaching style of the greatest teacher who ever lived—Jesus.
"A sower went forth to sow…"
"A man planted a fig tree…"
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed…"
"There was a man who had two sons…"
"But that's in the Bible," you say. Of course it is—now. It was not a part of the scriptures Jesus and the people had when he spoke it. I can just imagine someone saying about the parable of the sower, "What does that even mean? Why doesn't that so-called rabbi use a story from the scriptures?" especially since the only people who ever got the interpretation were his disciples, later, when they were alone.
And Jesus himself was just copying the prophets of the Old Testament. He told a vineyard parable in Mark 12:1-12. It was a little different from but closely akin to Isaiah's vineyard parable in Isa 5:1-7. Close enough, in fact, that the priests, scribes and elders (Mark 11:27) realized he was comparing them to those faithless people God had sent into captivity. And they were seeking to arrest him…for they perceived that he had told the parable against them (12:12). Even those people, who eventually murdered our Lord, knew that parable from Isaiah, and recognized the power of stories in teaching.
"But you aren't Jesus." Of course not, but Peter tells us to follow in his footsteps, just as his disciples did. The writers of the epistles may not have used full-blown stories but their writings are full of analogies from everyday life—about buildings, about boats, about athletes and soldiers, and a host of other things.
And so, to be a disciple, too—to imitate Jesus--I tell stories about my garden ("A man planted a vineyard…").
I tell stories about the birds outside my window ("Are not two sparrows sold for a penny").
I tell stories about my children and grandchildren ("A man had two sons…").
I tell stories about my doctor ("Those who are well have no need of a physician…").
I tell stories about my flower beds ("Consider the lilies of the field…").
I tell stories about cooking ("It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour").
I do all those things--just like he did.
And I do my best to never tell a story on this blog that I cannot make a spiritual lesson about. You may not think it is much of a lesson, and indeed, sometimes it is small. But you might be surprised how many times the lessons I thought the least valuable caused someone to write and tell me, "That is exactly what I needed today." I'm so glad I was not too proud to post it when that happens.
So let's be careful about our complaints, and a bit more tolerant when the preacher tells a story. Or when the Bible class teacher begins class with an incident from his own life. And let's be aware of the spiritual analogies we ourselves can make from our own lives, using them to learn and grow, thinking in an eternal way rather than a temporal, carnal manner. I don't know about you, but I need all the lessons I can get to live as I should in a world full of sin.
The scriptures show us time and again teachers using everyday events to teach profound concepts. Let's follow those "approved examples," as we tend to call them. Above all, let us follow our Lord.
Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them. ’But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (Matt 13:10-17)
"It is an unfortunate fact that many today, some of whom are completely sincere, are seriously hindered in their study of the Scriptures through their failure to suppress preconceptions. At best, such can be done only imperfectly; and it is true for all of us that, subjectively, the meaning of what we read and hear is conditioned to some extent by our preconceptions, from which it is impossible to be wholly free. It is therefore helpful in our study of any passage of Scripture to consult the original text and as many good translations as possible. Too many preconceptions can lodge undisturbed among the old familiar words of our favorite translation…" Life in the Son by Robert Shank.
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold Wondrous things out of thy law. (Ps 119:18)
Dene Ward has taught the Bible for more than forty years, spoken at women’s retreats and lectureships, and has written both devotional books and class materials. She lives in Lake Butler, Florida, with her husband Keith.