Voices of Faith: Instead of assuming, go straight to the source

  • By Rev. Stephen Brown
  • Thursday, December 29, 2016 4:59pm
  • LifeCommunity

Who among us readers has not been caught in an assumption? We might use a word we think is right but really don’t know the meaning of and someone calls us on it. It’s rather embarrassing when we get caught but often we don’t so we assume we were right and move on none the wiser but again, none the wiser.

As a minister I hear a lot of assumptions spoken about the Bible. “God helps those who help themselves”, or “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, are things I hear fairly often by people who are well meaning and assume it is a phrase lifted from the Bible. It is spoken so often without challenge that most assume it is holy writ. Another common phrase equally unchallenged as a quote from the Bible is, “God buries your sins in the sea of His forgetfulness.” Again, well meaning but not included in any Bible I have ever read.

Lest I sound too judgmental, I too have been caught speaking a phrase I was certain was a Bible quote. “A fool and his money are soon parted” assuming this was a quote from the Book of Proverbs. Alas, it is lifted from Ben Franklin’s Poor Richards Almanac. My bad.

My point? There is no substitute for knowing the real deal. Yes, this is a plug for all of you wonderful readers to take up your own Bible and read it, yes, all the way through, cover to cover. It is possible. I am not a voracious reader myself but I do manage to read the Bible from cover to cover every year. I have read my Bible(s) 34 times cover to cover and am in my 35th reading as of this writing.

I don’t know if it is true or not, but one critic of the Bible was scoffing at the fact that the Bible is the number one best seller of any book virtually every year. He said if the Bible is the best selling book in the world, it is the most unread best seller in the world. Hmm. I can’t comment on that statement for anyone else, but I can make sure that isn’t true about me. How about you? Would you care to make the Bible the most read best seller for you? I hope you will consider it. There are so many benefits to reading the Bible that you will discover. Hopefully among the benefits will be the ability to discern what is and isn’t actually scripture.

Consider some other benefits of reading the Bible this year. Here is an actual Bible quote that describes the valuable benefits of scripture reading:

You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;

For they are ever with me.

I have more understanding than all my teachers,

For Your testimonies are my meditation.

— Psalm 119:98, 99 (NKJV)

Wisdom and understanding are something we could all use more of. Peace, truth, and encouragement are other benefits the Bible tells us accompany those who spend time reading its pages. I find reading the Bible helps me focus for the day and gives me something good think about or ponder. Perhaps the greatest benefit I feel is that I just enjoy reading the Bible every year. I never cease to find something new, understand something better, and review some of the familiar stories, characters and truths that speak volumes about our lives.

On a personal note, I find it is an excellent way to begin my day. To read through the Bible each year, I take about thirty minutes each morning to read a portion of the Bible. This actually is more than I need to read to get through in a year, but it helps when life gets interrupted so I don’t fall behind. The use of a Bible reading guide is very valuable not only to track your progress, but to keep your place when you can’t get to your Bible for a few days.

For those with smartphones, tablets or computers, the You Version, online Bible App has many reading plans, versions of the Bible, notes, searches, etc. Just go to: www.YouVersion.com for a free download and have a take anywhere Bible with you all the time.

So, I hope you consider going to the source for your inspirations. Find what really is among the pages of the Bible. Pull yours out, dust if off and find out what is inside. Make it the most read bestseller of all time for you.

Rev. Stephen Brown is the pastor of Kenai New Life Assembly of God. He has pastored New Life for the past 28 years.

More in Life

These festive gingerbread cookies are topped with royal icing and sprinkles. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Rolling out the gingerbread

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time for the holiday classic

Paper chains made of gratitude strips adorn a Christmas tree at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna. (Photo courtesy Meredith Harber)
Minister’s Message: Grateful and kind

What if, instead of gathering around tables and talking about what has already happened TO us, we challenge ourselves to return kindness to the world around us

Roasted broccoli Caesar salad provides some much-needed greens and fiber to balance out the rolls and gravy. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A toasty, warm salad for a cozy Thanksgiving

This warm side dish provides some much-needed greens and fiber to balance out the rolls and gravy

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Some things never change. Nor should they

In the dawdling days prior to Thanksgiving, things are usually as serene as a gentle snowfall within our modest piece of nirvana

This photo from the early 1960s shows Jackson Ball enjoying the Christmas holidays with his eldest three daughters. His fourth and youngest daughter was born less than a year and a half before Ball’s death in 1968. (Photo from Ball Family memorial slideshow, 2022)
Human Complexity: The Story of Jackson Ball — Part 3

Misfortune was written across the recent history of the Arlon Elwood “Jackson” Ball family

Minister’s Message: Reflect upon our daily joys and blessings this Thanksgiving

There is nothing like missing something like your health to make you grateful for having good health.

Marvel Studios
On the Screen: ‘Marvels’ messy but very fun

Where the film shines is in the stellar performances of its three leads

Forever Dance performs “Snow” during “Forever Christmas 2022.” (Photo courtesy Forever Dance)
Forever Dance ushers in Christmas season with annual variety show

“Forever Christmas” will bring the sounds and movements of the season to the Kenai Central High School auditorium

These snowballs are made of chocolate cupcakes are surrounded with sugary meringue and coconut flakes. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Snowballs for a snow day

Winter-themed cupcakes celebrate a day at home

Minister’s Message: God’s selfie

I can think of no one word that encapsulates our age, that defines our collective priorities and focus better than that innocuous little term

This is an early photo of U.S. Army soldier Arlon Elwood “Jackson” Ball in uniform. The patches, ribbons and medals on this uniform demonstrate that he had not yet served overseas or been involved in any combat. (Photo from Ball Family memorial slideshow, 2022)
Human Complexity: The Story of Jackson Ball — Part 2

Perhaps going to Alaska was the fresh start he needed at this time in his life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Noise

The first 10 years we were in Alaska we lived remotely