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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Study of the Scriptures - Session 11: Wednesday, 8 July 2015 at Faith Baptist Fellowship Church Lake Ariel, PA

The Study of the Scriptures
Session 11, Wednesday 8 July 2015
Faith Baptist Fellowship Church
Lake Ariel, PA

Review Sessions 1-10

The notes from the previous sessions have been posted to the Wayside Gospel Chapel blog at

The Means God Uses: The Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the Church

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

1. Placing trust in God: The ability of God and the sufficiency of the Scriptures — Coming to the Scriptures with Faith

2. Putting man in his place: The inability of fallen man and an understanding of the responses of the creature to the revelation of God — Coming to the Scriptures with Humility

3. The Unity of the Word of God: the First, Progressive, and Full Mention Principles of Interpretation — Coming to the Scriptures with Hope

4. The Diversity of the Contexts within the Canon of Scripture — Coming to the Scriptures with Respect

5. The Humiliation of Incarnational Hermeneutics — Coming to the Scriptures with Caution

6. Putting the Scriptures in their Place: The Historical Perspective in Bible Study — Coming to the Scriptures with Perspective

7. Familiarity Breeds Contempt — Coming to the Scriptures without Presumption

8. Texts and Translations — Coming to the Scriptures with Thanksgiving

9. Three Issues With Unfulfilled Prophecies — Coming to the Scriptures with Consistency

10. Lex Rex: or Slow Down, Simplify, and Separate — Coming to the Scriptures with Simplicity

B.L.U.F. — “An acronym for "Bottom Line Up Front" that is frequently used in informal military correspondence and internal/informal corporate e-mails to cover the main points of an e-mail so the reader can quickly understand what the e-mail is saying before reading the whole, lengthy e-mail.” Source: Urban Dictionary at [accessed 8 JUL 2015].

The End Game right out of the Huddle

The Last Thing is the First Thing

Philippians 2:9-11 — 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

There is more about this in the book of Revelation, but that will be considered later.

I. Prayer — Praying the Scriptures

Learning a simple lesson the hard way —

Matthew 10:28-31 — 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (pp. Luke 12:4-7)

“Let the words of Scripture become the words of our prayers.”
“You can use any passage of Scripture to pray through.”
Donald S. Whitney, Praying the Bible (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015).

Some passages are easy. Don Whitney focuses on the Psalms.

1. Consider the Psalms, especially when they are written in the first person. You don’t have to change a word. Or do you?

What about Psalm 1? Psalm 23? Psalm 32? Psalm 51?

Let’s also consider the opposite. What would be the most difficult passages to turn into prayers?
Where would we struggle at translating the Scriptures into personal prayers?

“Let the words of Scripture become the words of our prayers.”
“You can use any passage of Scripture to pray through.”
Donald S. Whitney, Praying the Bible (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015).

What about other passages of Scripture besides the Psalms?

2. Consider Praying the Reproofs and Chastenings — 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 12:5-11

Is praying, “Lord, reprove me” something like asking Him for patience (James 1:2-7)?

Who has prayed, “Lord, chasten me, prove me?”

3. Consider Turning the Curses into Prayers — Isaiah 6:9-10 and Acts 28:26-27; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16; Romans 11:7-10

Isaiah 6:8-13 — 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. 11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, 12 And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. 13 But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.

Matthew 13:10-17 (and parallels in Mk. 4:12; Lk. 8:10; Jn. 12:39-40) — 10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Acts 28:25-28 — 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

2 Cor. 3:13-15 — 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

Romans 11:7-10 — 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. 9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: 10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

How can such curses be turned into prayers? Take it personally. Personalize it. Do what C. S. Lewis did in The Screwtape Letters. Turn it around.

By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand;
Lord, may I not just hear, but give me understanding of what I hear!
and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Lord, may I not just see, but enable me to perceive what I see!
For this people's heart is waxed gross,
Lord, may my heart be responsive to you and your Word!
and their ears are dull of hearing,
Dear Lord, keep me from ever becoming dull of hearing!
and their eyes they have closed;
Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes! Lord, may I never close them to You and your truth!
lest at any time they should see with their eyes,
Keep me ever seeing with my eyes, Lord, and deliver me from the spiritual blindness of sin!
and hear with their ears,
Keep me ever hearing, Lord, and deliver me from spiritual deafness!
and should understand with their heart,
Lord, continue enabling my heart to understand Your Word and your will for me!
and should be converted,
Lord, may conversion be a way of life for me until glory. Please keep turning me and conforming me to the image of Your Son!
and I should heal them.
Lord, heal me, and I shall be healed. May your healing of me never stop until I am in glory with you! Heal me Lord!

4. Consider Praying the Warning passages in Hebrews

How shall we escape? (2:3)

Harden not your hearts! (3:8, 15)

Ye are dull of hearing! (5:11)

It is impossible…to renew them again unto repentance! (6:4-6)

There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins…It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! (10:26-31)

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person…(12:15-16)

Take it personally. Personalize it. Don’t turn it around. Turn yourself around.

Preacher, now you have left off preaching, and strayed into meddling!

“Where are the Warning Passages?
First we must determine which passages from Hebrews may rightly be termed “warning passages.” Below is a comparison of five scholars’ definitions of the limits of the “warning passages”:[1]
Bruce [2]
Lane [3]
Mugridge [4]
Grudem [5]
McKnight [6]
3:12-4:2, 11-13
12:13b-17, 25-29


[1] Examples of disagreement could be multiplied.  No two scholars appear to agree exactly on this issue.

[2] See the his list of “admonitions” in F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews: Revised (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990), pages vii - x.  There is no explicit “admonition” in chapter 12.

[3] From the analysis of W. L. Lane, Hebrews 1-8 (Dallas: Word, 1991).

[4] See A. Mugridge, “Warnings in the Epistle to the Hebrews” in RTR 46 (1987), page 74.

[5] Cf. W. Grudem, “Perseverance of the Saints: A Case Study from Hebrews 6:4-6 and the Other Warning Passages in Hebrews” in T. Schreiner and B. Ware (eds.), The Grace of God, The Bondage of the Will Volume 1 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), especially page 134.

[6] From S. McKnight, “The Warning Passages of Hebrews: A Formal Analysis and Theological Conclusions” in Trinity Journal 13ns (1992), especially page 22.

Source: Lee Gatiss, “The Function of the Warning Passages in the Structure and Argument of Hebrews,” on The Theologian at [accessed 8 JUL 2015].”

II. Song — Singing the Scriptures

Ephesians 5:17-21 — 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Colossians 3:12-17 — 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Now, I am neither a mystic, nor the son of a mystic, but that does not rule out experiences with God of intense and personal worship, nor should it. After all, people sing in the shower don’t they, and how many of them can carry a tune in a bushel basket? Where do you think that the great hymn writers to whom we owe so much got started?

Jeremiah 15:16 — Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

What about when you do not feel at all like singing?

Revelation 10:8-10 — 8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

Open your hymnals a find a hymn that would be appropriate when you have been devastated by loss — when you have lost a loved one, a child, a spouse? Are there any there? I know that there is at least one. But you would have to know the story, and there won’t be many more at all.

Psalm 73:15-16 — 15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. 16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;

Psalm 78:64 — Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.

Ezekiel 26:13 — And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.

Psalm 137 — 1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4 How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land? 5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Can God give you songs in the night? In the valleys of life? In the valley of the shadow of death?

Psalm 130:1 - Out of the depths (de profundis) have I cried unto thee, O LORD.

Westminster Speaks: “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” by Carl R. Trueman

“Some years ago I wrote a little article, `What Can Miserable Christians Sing?'  I dashed it off in about 30 minutes one afternoon, and yet I have received more positive letters and emails about that one little piece than anything else I have ever written.  It seemed to strike a chord.

My thesis was very simple: there is nothing in the typical book of hymns or praise songs that a woman who has miscarried a baby, or a parent who has just lost a child to cancer, can sing with honesty and integrity on a Sunday.
The desperation and heartache of such moments are things which we instinctively feel have no place in a religion where we are called on to rejoice in the Lord always.  Yet there is a praise book which taps such emotions and gives the broken-hearted honest words with which to express their deepest sorrows to God.
It's called the book of Psalms; and its recovery as a source of public praise in the Christian church can only help the church overcome its innate triumphalism and make room for the poor and the weak; that is the very people that Paul alludes to in 1 Corinthians which are the normal kind of church member.

And today I find the article has once again returned to my inbox; this time cited by my friend, the well-known British journalist, John Macleod.  Who would have thought that a 30 minute editorial would have such an apparently long life?”

Carl R. Trueman, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” (25 MAY 2010), on Westminster Theology Seminary at [accessed 8 JUL 2015]. This was originally published as a London Times article at [accessed 8 JUL 2015].
Note: Subscription required. This has since been reprinted in Carl R. Trueman, The Wages of Spin: Critical Writings on Historical and Contemporary Evangelicalism (Christian Focus: 2004) pp. 158-160; and is available online: Carl Trueman, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” (13 AUG 2007), on Tolle Lege at [accessed 8 JUL 2015].

III. Worship — Trembling at the Scriptures

You are not done yet.

This is not an academic exercise.

Can we truly say that we “get it” or that we understand it, if we are not caused to tremble at it?

Isaiah 66:1-5 — 1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. 3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. 5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

What is the “bottom line?”
What is the “end game?”
Is it not worship?

Revelation 4:10-11 — 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Revelation 5:8-14 — 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

That is the “bottom line,” the “end game.” Does it not solicit prayer, inspire songs in the heart, and leave us trembling?

Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria,

John T. “Jack” Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA

8 JUL 2015

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