2 Corinthians Study: Boast in Weakness

What does God want me to do with my money? How should I respond to someone who has wronged me? What is the purpose of suffering and hardships? Can’t I boast a little bit? These are some of the questions you will discover as you read through 2 Corinthians.

Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church has a different flavor than the first. It is more personal and pastoral. You see Paul roll up his sleeves and wear his emotions on them. Paul loves the church and so should we. How can we love the church despite all its people problems? Paul gives us practical insights. There is something for everyone. Just take a look at this 2 Corinthians Study: Boast in Weakness

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1 Corinthians Study: making much of Christ in a messy church

Do you struggle getting along with others in church? You are not alone.

Paul’s first letter to Corinth is about dealing with relational differences, setting disputes, reinforcing God’s view of marriage and divorce, the essentials of public worship, the importance of Jesus’ resurrection, money issues, and so much more.

Are you looking for something to study from the Bible? With your family? With your small group? Click below to download a family worship guide 1 Corinthians: making much of Christ in a messy church.Click Here to Download

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study the Bible like a scribe

This week I have been trying out a new way of spending time with God in His word. It is a study process that I have often done while studying a passage to teach or preach, but it is also quite devotional. I would encourage all followers of Christ and lovers of the Scripture to try the CRA method with your family, small group, one-on-one discipleship, or within personal quiet time.

The CRA method of Bible Study [note: CRA is an acrostic for copy, rewrite, and apply] is quite simple and reproducible. It is a method similar to the scribes of the Old Testament who would copy, recopy, and hide the Word of God in their hearts. Here is the CRA method in 3-simple steps:

1) Copy the Scripture word-for-word.
2) Rewrite the Scripture in your own words [catching the main themes in context].
3) Apply the truth of Scripture to your life [using “I will…” statements].

Let me show you how I have put this to practice using Deuteronomy 6:4-9, which includes the Hebrew shema. The whole process takes about 20-30 minutes depending on the length of the passages and the quality time you take to meditate upon it. If you read more than 2-3 chapters a day take the key passage of 5-10 verses and write them out using the CRA method.

1) Copy Deuteronomy 6:4-9 word-for-word.

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. [ESV]

2) Re-write Deuteronomy 6:4-9 in your own words.

Listen up! Children of God. You know YHWH, you God. He is God, the One God. He alone must be the fire that stokes your passions. He alone must be the control center of your being. No question about it, He must be chiseled onto the walls of your heart and mind.

Pass along your God-passion to everyone you know. Start with your kids, those next to you on the bus, those you rub shoulders with everyday, dream about it, tattoo it on your brain, and raise a banner over your home that says, “I love my YHWH, and Him alone!”

3) Apply the truth of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to your life [using “I will…” statements].

•    I will cultivate a passion for God’s love through reading the Bible, applying the Bible, and letting others know what I love about my God.
•    I will place reminders around me that point me to my First Love [i.e. verses in my house, wallet, office, computer, etc.].
•    I will share with at least one person today my love for God.
•    I will read the Word to my wife and kids.
•    I will memorize at least one verse of Scripture this week and quote it with my wife.
•    I will not read the Bible as a textbook, but as truth from God Himself.
•    I will chew on the Word each day I read it.

plinko vs. the Bible

bible plinko

Who doesn’t like the Price Is Right? If you were on the game show, which game would you want to play? If I were on the Price Is Right I would love to play Plinko. You get the little puck, stand on the platform and try for $10,000. It’s a complete game of luck. It really doesn’t matter where you put the puck. It’s all in the bounce.

Sometime I treat  quiet time with God a lot like Plinko. “What should I study today?” I open the Bible and bounce from passage to passage without a plan and hopefully I will luck out and win big “truths” for the day. I admit there are times when I come to God like this!? Sure God might bless my efforts, but God wants me to approach His Book with a bit more respect and purpose than “drop the puck and hope for luck” approach.

There are some great plans out there for reading the Bible with a purpose. Even for ADHD people like me who do not have long attention spans. Here are a few for starters:

  • Study a theme. i.e. love in 1 John, one another in the letters of Paul, kingdom in Matthew, etc.
  • Look at how a particular book of the Bible describes God.
  • Discover how OT books picture Christ. Be careful not to read into the text too much.
  • Trace the hymns of Revelation and write God a new song for the day.
  • Start a quiet time journal that tracks promises, commands and truths.
  • Read the same book over and over from 5 or more translations and note similarities or differences.
  • Read a psalm a day for 5 days a week. You can go through the Psalms twice in a year this way.
  • Read a chapter of Proverbs a day for an entire month. There are 31 chapters and works perfect for some months with the same number of days.
  • For the heavy reader, read through the Bible in a year. At a pace of 4-5 chapters a day you can read through the entire book.

Be creative. There are an endless amount of ways to study the treasures of God’s Word. God wrote it for a purpose, shouldn’t we have a purpose in studying it?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”