And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 21, Number
In this issue:
A friend asked me recently if I thought Bathsheba had some scheme in mind to entice King David (2 Sam. 11:2). We would note that nothing in the text explicitly says so, or necessarily implies it. One commentator observed, “The woman that David saw was in the act of bathing (the Heb. uses the participle) in the uncovered court of her house, where, in accordance with general Eastern custom, there was a well. [Or, in her chamber, the casements being open (Patrick). In either case, the place was private, visible only from a neighboring roof; and in the East people refrain from looking down from a roof into neighbors’ courts (Philippson); so that it is on this ground an unfounded suggestion that Bathsheba was purposely bathing in an exposed place in order to attract the king’s gaze.—TR.]” (Lange, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 1 & 2 Samuel, 465, Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software).
God knows Bathsheba’s part in this – and David’s part. David was responsible for his lust that led to adultery, lying, and murder (2 Sam. 11). Three things are recorded in 2 Samuel 11:1 that serve as warnings to protect us against yielding to sin’s temptations.
1) David was not where he should have been. He should have been east of Jerusalem, across the Jordan, besieging the Ammonite stronghold of Rabbah (2 Sam. 11:1). Instead, David was on his roof inspecting, considering, and giving attention to the beauty of Bathsheba. We expose ourselves to spiritual dangers when we are not where we should be. “Be careful little feet, where you go” (Eph. 5:15).
2) David was not at Rabbah when he should have been there. It was “the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle,” but David sent Joab and his army to fight the Ammonites without him. Now is the time to watch and be sober, and to fight the battle against Satan and his cohorts (Eph. 6:10-13). We expose ourselves to spiritual danger when we are not engaged in our own spiritual duties.
3) David was doing what he should not have been doing. Instead of leading his army against the enemy, he was taking another man’s wife, then planning and executing a cover up of deception and murder. Sin does not stop where it begins. It continues to take us down the road of spiritual destruction as long as we do not set our hearts and lives on doing God’s work (see 1 Thess. 5:5-9; Col. 3:1-11; Phil. 2:11-12).
Continuing with our analysis of Bible study, it is right that we give attention to our motives before discussing the methods to use when we study the word of God. Why I study the Bible is important. Is it to attain knowledge? If so, what will I do with what I learn? Is it to win an argument, or to win a soul? Is it to make myself feel better about myself, or to improve my relation and standing with God? Is it to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord,” or to grow in prestige before men (2 Pet. 3:18; Matt. 23:5)?
Acquiring knowledge tempts us with pride, while believing and obeying what we learn from God’s word results from an open heart that hears and obeys God (1 Cor. 8:1-2; Lk. 8:8, 15; Acts 17:11-12). We must take heed how we hear the word of God (Lk. 8:18). Let us take stock of how our motives affect our study of the Bible.
1) Do I study the Bible to win an argument? There is a vast difference between “contending for the faith” and being contentious. One grows out of an abiding respect for revealed truth, while the other promotes self (Jude 3; 1 Cor. 3:1-4). The power of truth is such that when an honest heart begins to study the Scriptures and discovers the truth, that person will repent of his sin and obey the truth. On the other hand, our Bible study will be in vain when we study to vindicate ourselves. We will not “understand what the will of the Lord is” if we are not thoroughly committed to listening to and following God’s word (Eph. 5:17). Sadly, as Jesus said, “Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word” (Jno. 8:43).
2) Do I study the Bible with a debater mentality? The debater mentality approaches Bible study looking for “sides” with which to line up, arguments to win, and scores to settle. It hinders thorough, effective Bible study because it has already decided what to look for instead of letting the word of God speak the “whole counsel of God” on the topic under consideration. It is prone to insert human will and wisdom into the divine text. Please listen carefully: This is not an indictment against debate. Honest, earnest debate from the Scriptures can root out error while unfurling the banner of truth for us to see and follow (Acts 15:6-7, 22; 17:2-4). What we must cautiously avoid is turning Bible study into trying to win an argument, instead of understanding the text to help win souls (our own, and others). When we accurately understand the Scriptures we will have a winning argument against error without needing to rely on the wisdom, traditions, and opinions of men (Matt. 15:1-9).
3) Do I study the Bible to receive the word of God with reverent humility? When we study the Bible with pure motives we are prepared to engage in “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15, ESV). Conversely, Bible study that amounts to defending a person, a party, or ourselves fails to grasp a fundamental element of successful Bible study. The goal of Bible study is to know the truth so we may implant it in our hearts, to live by it to be saved from our sins, and to serve Christ faithfully (Jno. 8:31-32; Jas. 1:21-25). Pride prevents successful Bible study. Humility to accept God’s word as complete, final, and sufficient, will lead to understanding the will of the Lord.
-Reprint (revised) The Spirit’s Sword (May 2, 2010, 13:13)
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:14–17, NKJV)
Nothing in the context of this text demands the conclusion that Jesus was instituting a foot-washing ceremony for today (John 13:1-17). Far from it. He was, however, setting an example of humble service that every disciple must follow in our treatment of each other. At this Passover meal, none of His apostles lowered themselves to the menial task of washing the dirty feet of their companions (or even to wash their Master’s feet). In fact, there had been an ongoing squabble among them about who would be greatest in the kingdom (Mk. 9:34-37; 10:35-45). Earlier, Jesus had taught them, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). Jesus is great because Jesus served. The Son of God sees greatness when we humbly serve each other (Matt. 20:27). Practicing humble service toward others is crucial. Jesus said the blessing comes when we actually follow His example and serve others. We cannot say but not do, and expect to be blessed. By serving others we remove self-interest and give ourselves over to the welfare of others. That’s the example of Jesus we are called to follow.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 8:18-22
1. The Bible
contains many sad and sorrowful (Eccl. 3:4).
I. SAD WORDS ABOUT DEATH.
Grief over the Supposed Death of Joseph, Gen. 37:34-35. (Eccl. 7:2)
II. SAD WORDS ABOUT SUFFERING.
A. Hopelessness: “Curse God and die!” Job 2:9, 10; 1:21-22; Jas. 1:2-4.
III. SAD WORDS OF SPIRITUAL SORROW.
A. Due to
Sinful Choices, Mark 10:21-22.
1. By God’s grace we can replace sadness with joy, Matt. 25:21, 23; Acts 8:39; Matt. 11:28-30.
2. Sin angers and grieves God. But: “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
A summit of Roman Catholic bishops from the Pan-Amazonian region of South America is preparing a document that “will include recommendations about the ordination of women to the diaconate” (“Final synod document expected to mention female deacons,” Claire Giangrave, religiousnews.com). The Amazon synod of bishops has been meeting in Rome most of October. This week, members of “Women’s Ordination Worldwide” marched near the Vatican chanting, “Empowered women will save the Earth; Empowered women will save the church” (Ibid). “We are the church and we make the church,” said Brazilian Sister Roselei Bertoldo, an activist in the fight against human trafficking. “The fact that we were called to the synod not only to attend, but to be an active part of the synodal process, is the fruit of our asking to become protagonists. “We ask to participate more efficiently at the decision-making level,” she added. “We are starting this journey. We won’t be quiet, we want space and we are starting to build that space” (Ibid).
My attention was drawn to the statement that Roman Catholic women are asking and protesting to take part in the “decision-making” of the Church. That is beyond making recommendations, giving valuable input, etc. Making decisions is an element of leadership. Make no mistake, Catholic women want leadership roles in the RCC.
That “ask” (sometimes stated in the form of a demand) is not limited to Catholic women. The role of women in some churches of Christ has already changed. Women teaching over men and preaching from pulpits is gradually making inroads (1 Tim. 2:11-12).
The Bible is clear that leadership roles in the churches are assigned to men, not women (1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:2, 11-12; 1 Cor. 14:34-35). Men need to step up and fulfill these roles. Women have vital roles of service in churches, but not leadership (Acts 9:36; Rom. 16:1; 1 Tim. 5:10 Titus 2:3-5).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 10/29/2019
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA