Keep reading and referring.
Acts 15:15 “The words of the prophets are in agreement with this”
James is now supporting Simon Peter’s objection against circumcision as the need for the proof of salvation. How does he support it? Through Scripture.
This is a new work of God, so is there anything in the Scripture that suggests that this is indeed a work of God? That is James’ stance. He knew there was. Everyone knew the Scriptures he would quote. He doesn’t need to say who the prophets were, they knew, they had memorised the verses.
Is there anything in the prophets regarding the move of God amongst the Gentiles? Absolutely!
In the same way todays Church/Christians need to weigh up things that are attributed to God with a Bible in hand.
Over a decade ago during years of renewal in the western Church I heard a teaching from a well-known preacher which asked the question: who is higher the Bible or God? He went on to explain that not everything has to be found in the Bible because God is eternal and the Bible will pass away. It all seemed to make sense as we were caught up in a new move of the Spirit. On reflection is was a rubbish defence of what the Spirit was doing because it suggested that new moves of God would mean we would have to put our Bibles down and not pick them up. He didn’t need to use this defence and it wasn’t helpful.
For over 10 years I have written this devotional blog though in different forms simply because I want people to keep holding their Bibles and not put them down. Thank you for being one of those who are Bible readers.
The Bible is described as:
A lamp: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path”. Psalm 110:105.
Milk: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation”. 1 Peter 2:2
A sword: “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
A seed: “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:11
Over the years I have learnt the following about Bible reading:
It is a discipline. There are times when I do not want to read the Bible or I may be really busy and think I have not enough time. But I have to re-adjust my life to make sure I have the time.
I read the Bible in a language that makes sense to me. I read the Bible with three translations before me. The NIV, the Message and the Amplified. It enables me to more fully understand the text.
I read it with imagination. I put myself in the place of the characters and try to understand what is taking place for them. I keep asking questions throughout the passage and let the questions be challenging ones to yourself.
I always ask myself “how does this apply to me?” Is it helping me with the truths of my faith?
Is it teaching me? Is it asking for my obedience? Is it calling for a worshipful response? If it is symbolic language, is there an obvious meaning behind the words?
Church synods will continually meet throughout the generations till the return of Christ and hopefully they will continue to refer to the Bible and never say the Bible needs updating to fit modern times.
More importantly Christians need to continue to hold their Bibles every day of their life and let it guide and guard their lives.