Bible Love Notes – Natural, Unnatural, & Supernatural

The most popular teachings among Christians: 

  • Appeal to felt needs, not actual needs. 
  • Tell us we’re victims, not sinners. 
  • Tell us we’re wonderful just the way we are. 
  • Use only Bible verses that make us feel good about ourselves. 
  • Exclude verses that talk about holiness, dying to self, or obeying God’s commands.

But God’s love isn’t like that. It’s life-changing and full-bodied, including teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God is holy and He expects holiness from His beloved children (2 John 1:61 Peter 1:15-16). 

Our old self is impure, ungodly, “corrupted by its deceitful desires.” Our new self is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  But we are in process. We must daily “put off” our old self and “put on” our new self (Ephesians 4:17-24).

That which was natural for our old self is unnatural for our new self. And the only way we can change is through the supernatural indwelling of God’s Spirit. We need His strength and guidance (Philippians 4:13). 

We have an important part to play in this process of sanctification, so let’s get serious about “putting off” and “putting on” so God can change us from the inside out (Philippians 2:12-13).

Bible Love Notes – 4 Things Promoted in False Teachings

Even though most of us don’t use words like eisegesis and exegesis, we approach Scripture one of two ways:

⮞ We start with a belief and try to manipulate Scripture to fit our belief (eisegesis).

⮞ We start with Scripture and base our beliefs on what it teaches (exegesis).

False teachings are always based on eisegesis, and they often fit into one of these categories:

1. Teachings that promote selfishness.

See We Need It: Self-Denial.

The gospel is about self-denial and putting others first. Selfish teachings include avoiding difficult relationships and focusing on wealth, health, and the easy life. We need to remember Matthew 10:38.

2. Teachings that deny God’s justice.

See God Punishes.

When human beings believe they are too good to be punished, they claim that only an evil God would punish evil men. This leads to the false belief of  universal salvation. We need to remember Romans 3:12.

3. Misunderstandings about proverbs and figurative language.

See A Proverbial Mistake and Recognizing Figurative Language in Scripture.

A number of false teachings are based on taking proverbs or other figurative language out of context. We need to remember 2 Timothy 2:15.

4. Teachings that de-emphasize sin.

See Cheap Grace and Rejecting Cheap Grace.

Jesus doesn’t forgive His followers so we can sin freely. He forgives us because salvation enables us to live godly lives. We need to remember Romans 6:1-2 and Titus 1:1.   

Bible Love Notes – Difficult Languages

When we lived in Budapest (2005), I tried learning Hungarian. One afternoon, I decided to test my skills on our landlady. So I looked at her sleeping dog in the stairwell and in a sympathetic voice told her that her dog was tired.  

When she quit laughing, she said, “Your Hungarian pronunciation was perfect. What were you trying to say?” 

Then she explained that instead of saying her dog was tired, I’d said that her dog was a chicken butt. ?  

The U.S. Foreign Service Institute considers Hungarian one of the more difficult level-two languages. And I must admit that I never got beyond the basics, even though we lived in Hungary for five years. I can baby-talk a bit, but I can’t carry on a conversation.

If I had to depend on my Hungarian skills, I would often be confused, misled, and misunderstood. And that’s a great analogy for navigating life without knowing God’s Word. 

If we want to live for the Lord, discerning false teachings and correctly speaking God’s truth, we must carefully study the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Fortunately, God’s Word is translated into English, so I’ve found it easier to learn than Hungarian. ? And I have an excellent teacher—God’s Spirit, my Divine Translator.

Note for Hungarian speakers: I meant to say fáradt but I said far-hát.

Bible Love Notes – Hard Teachings of Scripture

Many believe God’s commands against premarital sex and homosexuality are “hard” teachings. 

They disagree with Bible passages that define homosexuality as “unnatural” and sinful (Romans 1:26-271 Corinthians 6:9-13). They disagree that sexual intimacy should be confined to marriage (Hebrews 13:41 Corinthians 6:9-13).

When people think God’s teachings are “hard,” it’s because they don’t understand the wisdom, goodness, love, and purpose of God (Psalm 33:4).

In John 6:25-70, Christ talked symbolically about His death, and many of His followers said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 

They didn’t trust Christ’s love or purposes, so they left Him.

Afterwards, Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Do you also wish to leave me?”

Our country has approved sexual immorality and our courts have protected it (Romans 1:16-32).  

And we must make a choice: to be ashamed of God’s words (Luke 9:26), or to lovingly defend truth and expose darkness (Ephesians 5:11).

Christ is asking, “Do you also wish to leave me?”

How will you answer?

Bible Love Notes – 12 Reasons Jesus Came to Earth

Why did Jesus come? 

1. He came to fulfill the Law. (Matthew 5:17-18). 

2. He came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:101 Timothy 1:15). 

3. He came to serve. (Mark 10:45). 

4. He came to give His life in payment for our sins. (Matthew 20:281 John 3:5). 

5. He came that we might have abundant life. (John 10:10). 

6. He came to reveal the Father. (Matthew 11:27 ; John 14:9). 

7. He came to separate believers from non-believers. (Matthew 10:34-36). 

8. He came to proclaim truth. (John 18:37).

9. He came to give us a pattern of holy living.  (1 Peter 2:21). 

10. He came to ignite a spiritual fire. (Luke 12:49).(1)

11. He came to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8Hebrews 2:14-15).(2)

12. He did not come to judge, but He came to bring judgment. (John 3:179:3912:47). 

#12 might appear to be a contradiction, but it’s not. Today’s Bite Size Bible Study explains.
(1) Opinions of Bible Scholars vary on the exact meaning of fire in this passage, but all agree it is a strong statement from the One Who truly set the world ablaze with His words and work here on earth. I would draw from all of the proposed meanings to say that Christ brought the world a fire of truth, the Spirit, reward and punishment, burning away the lies, igniting the truth in men’s hearts.

(2) Scripture explains that while this has been done in the spiritual realm, we still will endure the works of the devil (sickness, suffering, evil) while on earth. The full realization of the devil’s defeat will be at Christ’s Second Coming. See Hebrews 2:5-8.

Bible Study 

The three passages below seem to be contradictions, but only at first glance. Read through them carefully and ask God to give you wisdom about their meaning.

John 3:17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

John 9:39: Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 

John 12:47: If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 

What John 3:17 and 12:47 do NOT teach:
1. They don’t teach that Jesus didn’t judge sin and sinners. 

In fact, we find such judgments recorded in Scripture. For example, read Matthew 23. This entire chapter tells of Jesus judging and rebuking the Pharisees. 

2. They don’t teach that Jesus has no expectations of His followers.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23

3. They don’t teach that Jesus is soft on sin.

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8

It’s important to understand that Christ’s mission in coming to earth, first and foremost, was to save mankind, not to judge us. We were already judged at the fall. We fell short of God’s standards for eternal life. Jesus didn’t come simply to remind us of that fact. He came to save us from it.

Judge is used interchangeably with condemn in Scripture, but the most accurate way to understand the meaning of these seemingly contradictory passages is this way: Jesus came into the world to save us from the punishment we deserve. He will condemn all those who reject Him (i.e. pass a final judgment on each man) at His Second Coming, but this was not the purpose of His first coming. He did, however, address sin and rebuke sinners at His First Coming because that is part of His nature as a holy God.

copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath,

The Bible in a Year – Day 155 – Jesus is Lord

The Bible in a Year with Fr. Mike Schmitz – Day 155: Jesus is Lord Today we read about Jesus’ teachings and miracles that confirm his identity as Lord. Fr. Mike emphasizes the divinity of Jesus revealed in his actions, and clarifies historical facts about his life. The readings are Mark 3-4 and Psalm 20. Please note: The Bible contains adult themes that may not be suitable for children – parental discretion is advised.