18 “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. — Deut. 17:18 NLT
God knew that once the Israelis had settled in the land and become comfortable, that they would look around and desire what the other nations had. They would grow tired of the judges and desire a king so they could be like the nations around them. God had given Moses several guidelines for the king once he had been anointed. Most of those were what not to do and had to do with position and possessions. But the positive thing he was required to do was to copy the whole body of the instructions on a scroll. To be sure, he did this himself, he had to do it in the presence of the priests. Then he must keep it with him and read it every day. One would think that this would have been sufficient to keep the kings in line with what God expected. But that was not the case. The majority of the kings were not godly and worshiped other gods. The lesson that we can learn from this is that head knowledge is useless unless it affects the heart. The devil knows the Bible but it doesn’t keep him from being the devil. Just reading the Bible on a daily basis will not change us. A heart change only takes place when we fully believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins. Just saying the words does not make it happen. We need confession and we need believing.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. 10 We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved — Romans 9-10 NCV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1: 8-9 NLT
In verse one of this chapter, we read “the Lord spoke to Joshua”. So the instructions for Joshua to study the Books of the Old Testament that Moses had written came straight from the mouth of the Lord. The Lord says that “only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do”. God gives us the same instructions about studying the whole Bible.
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.. — 2 Timothy 2:15 NLT
The King James version says “study to show yourself approved unto God”. How much time do we spend meditating on God’s Word? How often do we go out into the world unprepared because of a lack of studying the Book of Instruction that God has given to us? Is it any wonder that we are so often defeated when we haven’t given God time to speak to us before we enter the fray? How often do we go naked into the battle instead of being dressed in the whole armor of God? Is it any wonder that we walk so timidly when God has commanded us to be “strong and courageous”? Our courage and our successes come after we have read and meditated on His Word, not before or in the absence of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us and to explain God’s word to us. God has not changed, so, yes, He still speaks to us today. He speaks to us through His Word, through His people and yes, He speaks to us directly if we will be still and listen. Jesus said “my sheep know my voice” (John 10:25-30). To know someone’s voice, it would be necessary, at some point, to have actually heard that voice speak.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.—Gal. 6:4-6 (NIV)
Every word we speak and every action that we commit should be tested. Do the words and/or the action(s) align with the Scriptures? It is a good idea to find more than one passage of Scripture to test our thoughts and actions. If we don’t have peace about it after that, then we either need to discard the idea or ask someone that we trust spiritually for their opinion of what we are about to say or do. We should ask them to pray with us about it. If we still don’t have peace about it, we should either delay the action until we do have peace or completely discard it. There is only one standard to use for comparison of our words and actions, That is Jesus Christ. Don’t try to be anyone or anything more than what you can determine that Jesus wants you to be. We should always do our part of the labor and the praying. We should support those that God has placed over us and from whom we derive a benefit because of their instructions. Not just with our finances but also with our time and our prayers.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
4 Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. — 1 Timothy 1:4 NLT
Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus to continue teaching and mentoring the new converts there. Paul did not want the new converts to be swayed by those who taught false doctrines. These were the people who based their standing on religious traditions and their heritage. As Paul tells Timothy, we are to edify one another in our new faith. We do this by showing love, and having a pure heart that keeps us from straying from our belief in Jesus Christ. People desire to be teachers when they have need of instruction themselves. They become jealous of new leaders and try to sway people from the truth with their false doctrines. Be sure to check everything that you are taught and be sure it aligns with Scripture. Test every spirit to be sure it is coming from God and not satan.
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work-2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NLT)
God has given us the Bible, His Holy Scriptures, for instruction and guidance. They are the inerrant, immutable, eternal Word of God. They are His love letters to us. The scriptures are His letters to us, much like a wise earthly father would write in His will (testament) to his children. Only they are much better because they come from an omnipotent, omniscient Father, our God. They are also better because He sent His Holy Spirit to explain those letters to us. We can read the letters and if we have questions, we can ask the Author directly for the answer. All Scripture is inspired by God. It teaches us about salvation, truth, and how to live holy lives. If we “talk with God” and not just “to God”, His Word will correct us, teach us what is right, and prepare us to do every good work that God planned for each of us to do before the foundations of the earth were laid. Our part is “to seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteousness”. If we are faithful in doing our part, God will add “all these things to us”. Things like, knowledge, wisdom, righteousness, holiness and everything that we need for living a holy lifestyle.
1 Finally, we couldn’t stand it any longer. We decided to stay in Athens by ourselves 2 and send our friend Timothy to you. He works with us as God’s servant and preaches the good news about Christ. We wanted him to make you strong in your faith and to encourage you. 3 We didn’t want any of you to be discouraged by all these troubles. You knew we would have to suffer, 4 because when we were with you, we told you this would happen. And we did suffer, as you well know. 5 At last, when I could not wait any longer, I sent Timothy to find out about your faith. I hoped that Satan had not tempted you and made all our work useless-1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (CEV)
As Paul shows us here, it is our responsibility to encourage new converts. Their hearts are tender toward God and ready to receive instruction in His Word. We must be consistent in mentoring new converts. They are eager to learn more and if we leave them in a vacuum, satan will step in and use the persecution to discourage them from God’s work. While we want them to know about God’s love, we must also be sure they understand that offenses will come. God allows those things to happen in our lives for our benefit. He already knows what our response will be, but He allows them so that we know how much we have grown spiritually. We must pray and study so that we, like Paul, can learn to be content in all situations. In good times and bad times, we must never allow our faith to waver.