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  • John Henson 1:41 pm on July 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , fooled, study   

    Don’t Be Fooled 

    A recent program on “The History Channel” highlighted something people ought to remember. Human beings are easily deceived.

    The program illustrated its point by showing a few pictures. One of those was of a picture that at first glance appeared to be a picture of former Vice President Al Gore and President Bill Clinton side-by-side. It wasn’t what it appeared to be. Instead, it was two pictures of President Clinton, one with black hair.

    The human mind is easily fooled because it basically accepts what it is given without question. Our brains are somewhat lazy. This is how magicians can easily fool audiences with their tricks. On closer examination, the pictures show how the mouths, chins and face shapes are the same. The pictures are of the same man, not of two different men.

    The same thing is true in religion. A good example of this is the escape of the prisoners in Acts 16. The Bible tells us how the prisoners were freed and how the jailer was about to kill himself. Paul called out to the jailer and told him to stop. The jailer then asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). In the following verse, Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household,” (Acts 16:31 NKJV).

    Many denominational preachers say, “See, that’s all you have to do is to be saved: only believe.”

    But a closer examination of the entire text shows baptism is necessary as well (Acts 16:32-34). According to the remainder of the passage, it is clear the jailer and his house repented of their sins, hence the washing of the apostles’ wounds. And, they were baptized.

     A continued closer examination of the New Testament teaches faith is necessary to please God (Hebrews 13:3), repentance is necessary along with confession (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-10). And baptism is included in every example of conversion given (e.g. Acts 10:48).

    Closer examination leads us to confirm the truth. If you haven’t closely examined the scriptures, why not start today by taking your Bible and start reading and studying it? Don’t be fooled by the pretense and sleight of hand being used by the religious world. Study God’s word and find out what you need to do to be saved by yourself.


  • Richard Mansel 3:34 pm on October 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , study   

    Different Way of Looking at Job 

    In the future, I plan on teaching Job in a different way. I’ve taught the book twice using a verse-by-verse study and enjoyed it both times. The book is a towering masterpiece full of deep thoughts to meditate upon. However, I just wonder if you can lose sight of some of the over-arching themes in the book with such a study.

    I have thought that another way to examine the book would be to look at the introductory passages and then look at each speech as a whole to extract the main points and lessons from each of them. Finally, we would look at the conclusion to tie it all up.

    I hope to embark on this study some day. I think it would be an edifying and fulfilling time

    Have you ever studied the book this way?



    • Jon Galloway 5:35 pm on October 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hello Richard

      Greetings from Scotland! I’ve taught Job twice and both times approached it by speeches. The over-arching themes come out well and at the end the class seemed to be able to relate well to what the book was about.

      Jon Galloway
      East Kilbride, Scotland

    • Ron Thomas 5:42 am on October 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Yes I have and I think that is the best way to approach it. If there are particulars within the chapter that needs to be addressed or that another wants to talk about, then we take time to look at it.

    • J. Randal Matheny 2:23 pm on October 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, Mike Brooks does something similar to this, treating the book thematically in his tome. http://forthrightpress.com/store/products/studies-from-job/

  • Richard Mansel 1:46 pm on June 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , study   

    Organizing my Books 

    I sit in my office working and I realize I need a certain book from my shelves. However, I cannot find it.

    I mutter to myself, “I must get this office straightened up and organized!”

    I answer back. “Yes, absolutely.”

    Then I sigh and think,  “Yeah, I’ll do that on a day when I have nothing else to do.”

    After a moment, I laughed uproariously and return to my work.

    Tomorrow isn’t the only thing that never comes. Preachers never get through with their work. They just stop at a certain point, leaving countless other things undone. It is the nature of the profession.

    When would that day come when we have nothing else to do? That would be the day we have forgotten what the ministry is all about.

  • Richard Mansel 12:36 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , study   

    Posts on Grace 

    I appreciate all the good thoughts on grace! Thanks for taking up my question and making application.

    I have always liked the following: We cannot live in such a way to put God in our debt. Therefore, we will always be lost without His generous gift of grace. We are completely at His mercy until given an opportunity to serve. Even then, we will still require grace to enter heaven. Once again, God will never be in our debt.

    There are so many nuances that exist in the doctrine and emotion NEVER understands nuance. That is why we must remain sober-minded and focused so we can grasp the real meaning of Scripture.

    We have to tune out Satan’s doctrines found in those who teach error and not spend all of our time chasing them. That is part of Satan’s plan. We cannot always be teaching against something. We need to be proactive in showing the world and the brethren what Scripture DOES teach on grace and salvation.


  • Richard Mansel 8:40 am on January 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , challenging, , study   

    Clever Way to Handle Revelation 

    I am currently teaching Revelation on Wednesday night. We finished our last lesson midway through chapter 16. The study is challenging but empowering as we see the clear gospel and the power of God.

    One of our men found an old Adult Bible Quarterly from 2000 on Revelation. We recently spent a good bit of time working through chapter 13 because it is such a difficult chapter. He was curious to see what this book said about that chapter.

    He soon discovered that this Quarterly had a clever way of handling Revelation — you skip all the hard chapters. Chapter 13 wasn’t even covered. They also skipped chapters 16-18 and 20-21. hmmm

    This may make it easier on the writer but it doesn’t do anything for the teacher or the student. While these chapters are difficult to understand, they are also very powerful testaments to the glory and plan of God.

    Ignoring them is an insult to the Holy Spirit’s efforts to give them to us and leaves us without the full message of judgment. How can that benefit anyone?

    • Will 9:08 am on January 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      hUM…I’m doing a Monday Night Bible study with those interested in studying the book of Revelation, and I’m using the material gathered by James M. Booth, from the web site http://www.padfield.com. I find James material refreshing and rather easy to teach and understand.

    • Eugene Adkins 9:59 pm on January 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I used the pdf class outline for Revelation from Padfield and it was very useful along with a commentary by Donald R. Taylor called “The Apocalypse: A Revelation of Jesus Christ”. I found them both to be useful when I taught through the book of Revelation in our teenage class (by request). I don’t think they thought it was as “exciting” as they “thought” is was going to be. No doubt though, there are some wonderful lessons to learn from Revelation about the work/will of God that go along with the “small” glimpses of heavenly glory that can comfort us greatly when understood properly.

      Good article Richard.

  • Richard Mansel 2:12 pm on October 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , study   

    Revelation 9 

    Reading the commentaries on Revelation chapter 9 will make you dizzy. They all feel compelled to find historical figures to plug into this chapter. Since they all have different ones, the reader finds it hopeless. I tend to think that the visions are more timeless than specific. The spiritual war with Satan and his forces will always be with us.

    The book showers comfort on the Saints of John’s day and the Christians, Jews and Romans are backdrops. Yet, the overall theme is much larger, encompassing the entire spectrum of spiritual existence. We must be careful not to become lost in the morass of imagination when we study Revelation.

    The locusts are the power of Satan and those who do his will. They bring havoc to the world but they are limited in their power and scope. Thank the Lord that He is always with us (Hebrews 13:5) and has prepared an eternal place of comfort for us (John 14:1-6)!

  • Richard Mansel 9:02 am on March 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , humans, study, , ,   

    Learn the Scriptures and the People 

    One can be a devoted student of Scripture and yet not understand the people to whom they minister. We must not be cloistered in our hole, failing to interact with others. The Bible student who is not also a student of human nature, misses the other half of the equation.

    The ultimate goal of  Bible study is two-fold.  First, we desire heaven as our own future destination. Secondly, we want to inspire others to take the same path. How do we do the latter if we know nothing of our subjects?

    We need to be very attentive to the ways and motivations of human beings. We must study how they think and react to certain ideas. Study the culture and know what turns people’s heads. In so doing, we become better armed when we reach out to people.

    There is danger in this method, of course. Nietzsche is credited with saying, “When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you.” If we will learn the culture, we must not let it drag us into its web of deceit.

    (More …)

    • J. Randal Matheny 9:13 am on March 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Spot on, Richard. Thanks for this. I’d only add that if we are alien to them — looking at it from the perspective of those we want to reach –, we will almost certainly not reach them.

    • John Henson 9:54 am on March 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent points, brother!

  • Stephen R. Bradd 8:52 pm on March 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apollos, mighty in the Scriptures, study   

    “In a day when a knowledge of the word of God had to be acquired from manuscripts, and in which the art of reading was acquired by only a few, it was no ordinary endowmnet to be familiar with the Scriptures. Such an attainment is rare, even in this day of printed Bibles, and among preachers who PROFESS to devote their lives chiefly to the study of the Bible. Indeed, the amount of clerical ignorance now extant would astonish the masses of men, if they only had the means of detecting it.”

    J. W. McGarvey (p. 231, Original Acts Commentary, writing about Apollos who was “mighty in the Scriptures”)
  • Mike Riley 10:25 am on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , study, , vogue,   

    Name An Item Or Habit 

    From a spiritual perspective, the following are some of my observations regarding items or habits no longer in use today (comparatively speaking) as they were three to four generations ago:

    1) The Bible is no longer habitually read, studied and used by members of the Lord’s church like it was in the 1940’s and 1950’s (we used to be called “walking Bibles” by those outside the church – http://cedarparkchurchofchrist.org/cpcofc/index.php?n=Articles.2010DailyBibleStudy).

    2) Looking at all of the immorality in our society today, we can plainly see that Interest in spiritual values and principles are no longer “in vogue.” If they were, children would be taught these values at home and our society today would be less immoral as a result.

    3) Hell fire and damnation sermons are today rarely heard from the pulpit (I grew up hearing these type of sermons on a regular basis back in the 1940’s). And guess what? The Lord’s church grew dramatically.

    4) Home Bible studies with others are virtually non-existent today (no time to study, folks say).

    5) Personal bible study at home is virtually non-existent today. Too many worldly influences (too many digital “toys”), thus, no time to study.

    6) In the 1940’s and 50’s, folks habitually assembled to worship the Lord – so much so, that two to three week gospel meetings were not uncommon (I attended some of them). Today, they are unheard of. If we can get members to come to a three-day gospel meeting, we count ourselves successful.

    7) Pews are not being filled today as they were three to four generations ago. The testimony of the “empty pew” is a testimony to our lack of focus on spiritual things (Colossians 3:1-2): http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2008/08/09/lessons-from-an-empty-pew/

    I could go on and on and on (like the energizer battery bunny), but the above are enough samples to let folks see the fact that spirituality has greatly waned in our country and in the Lord’s church.

    What’s the solution to all of the above? Open the Book! (read it and do what it says do – James 1:22-25): http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2008/01/08/lets-open-the-book/

    • Sid Williams 11:42 am on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      The “Second Dark Ages” was “Satan Loosed A Little” (Rev 20.3; A|D 1959-2004). But that is gone, and still, we see no one with the former good traits that you have merntioned. What is needed to make men seek God is the Fulfillment of Prophecy. It is in the secular news but not in the churches. The 2nd Dark Ages wass ushered in by denial of prophecy and Revelation.

  • John Henson 1:05 pm on March 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , study,   

    “Sound Doctrine” Best in My Book 

    The “Sound Doctrine for Everyday Living” study books by the late Bro. Wendell Winkler are the best study guides for young adult and adult classes, in my opinion.

    Two, “Studying Sin Seriously” and “The Christian and His Influence” are the best in that series. They are life-changing books that have the power of the gospel to sink deep into hearts and bear fruit. “Things That Accompany Salvation” is another great book in the series that teaches there is more to being a Christian than just wearing a name.

    Here is the link for those who are interested: http://www.winklerpublications.com/index.asp.


  • Mike Riley 10:05 am on February 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , study, woeful,   

    An Important Distinction 

    An important distinction in my life has been the distinction between good and evil. Many people in our society are woefully ignorant of that distinction (Isaiah 5:20). That distinction can only come about by a daily and habitual study of God’s word (Acts 17:11; Hebrews 5:13-14; 2 Timothy 2:15), as well as an application of it (Psalm 119:33-34).

  • Mike Riley 10:15 am on January 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , study,   

    My Favorite Place To Sit 

    My favorite place to sit is my in home library room where I study, write, and post my articles to my Bible article blog.

  • Mike Riley 7:12 am on January 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lose, , study, , track, upcoming,   

    Loosing Track Of Time 

    I lose track of time when I’m doing research for an upcoming Bible study article as well as the writing of an article. The time really does fly when you’re really involved and concentrating on getting a Bible study article posted.

  • Mike Riley 11:09 am on January 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , older, , , , , , , reclaim, study, , , , ,   

    Waste Time? Never 

    The older I get, the more I realize the less time I have on earth, and thus, the more I realize how precious time is: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2007/02/11/appreciating-the-value-of-time/. Once time is gone, it can never be reclaimed. Do I waste time? Not that I know of. I’m always busy taking care of my wife, working in the yard, paying bills, grocery shopping, preparing daily meals, studying the Bible, writing articles, reading good books and publications produced by faithful proclaimers of God’s word, preaching and teaching. Doing all of this plus working as a library substitute for our local school district, keeps me plenty busy – never have time to be bored, that’s for certain.

    I do watch the news and weather on television, plus two weekly shows, NCIS and Criminal Minds. Don’t know if that’s wasted time or not, because both shows motivate me to use my mind in figuring out the plots.

  • Laura 8:09 am on September 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , study,   

    Is Ignorance Bliss? 

    We use the saying “ignorance is bliss”. But is that really true?

    Recently I made a statement that I was disappointed in the ungodly stand that a particular organization has taken. One young college-aged lady responded by saying, “Why exactly is it disappointing? We as Christians are supposed to be a non-judgmental people. We welcome anyone with open arms and an open heart.” She went on to incorrectly quote Jesus’ saying regarding the woman caught in adultery: ‘He who cast the first stone, let he be stoned.’ That is not not what Jesus said. Clearly, this young woman has a gross lack of knowledge of God’s word.

    Sadly, this woman is not alone. The attitude she portrayed here has permeated our society because it is ignorant of what God’s word teaches, not only regarding right and wrong, but also in how Christians are to react to and behave toward sin.

    “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Hosea 4:6

    Lack of knowledge (or ignorance) comes from *rejection* of knowledge. Is rejection of knowledge bliss? Rejection is a willful act. I pray we all be mindful that we not be guilty of being ignorant.

    • Sandra Moore 8:37 am on September 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Your post reminded me of an article in the religion section of our Huntsville Times this morning. It was about the community church in Memphis that is allowing muslims to use their building while their own building is being constructed next door. The “pastor” said he asked himself, “What would Jesus do if He were us? He would welcome the neighbor.” This man obviously is woefully ignorant of scripture, particularly 2 John 10.

    • Ron 8:43 am on September 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Good words, Laura.

  • Mike Riley 7:45 am on July 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , study,   

    Saturdays are like any other day for me. Whatever needs to be done is done. This morning, I’ll go grocery shopping, get my song list ready for the song service tomorrow, write and post another article to my blog, study my adult Bible class lesson to present tomorrow morning, and walk my dog (or rather she walks me!) :).

  • Mike Riley 9:12 am on June 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , study,   

    1st semester accomplishments are:

    1) Posted 248 Bible study articles to my blog (wrote most of them).
    2) Presented 13 Bible-based sermons before the Montana St. congregation.
    3) Presented 23 Bible study lessons before the Montana St. adult Bible class.
    4) From Jan – June, 2010, I’ve had 13,295 folks from 128 countries hit on my blog site. There were 61,543 page views during this period. Of these visitors, 67 percent were new visitors to my blog.
    5) Presented 6 Bible-based lessons to the residents of our local Veterans Home.

    • J. Randal Matheny 9:22 am on June 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I like seeing these numbers, Mike. I should do better at keeping up with things like this. God be praised through your work.

      • Mike Riley 9:59 am on June 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks a lot, Randal! Yes, statistics are good for gauging progress or the lack thereof in anything we do. However, only the Lord really knows the impact we are having on people in preaching and teaching the gospel. We plant and water – but God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).

    • Barbara Ann Oliver 9:13 am on June 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      WOW! I can tell you have your eyes on the Prize. Keep running, brother!

      • Mike Riley 11:14 am on June 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Appreciate the encouragement, Barbara! We pray for the success of the work that you do for the Lord as well.

  • Mike Riley 12:51 pm on March 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apply, bible topics, curriculum, , , study   

    The adult class at Montana Street does not follow a set curriculum. We study a variety of Bible topics, showing how the Bible can be applied to everyday living. On Wednesday night, we are studying Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

  • John Henson 1:43 pm on February 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , study   

    I agree heartily with Ron. It is impossible to give people meaningful lessons unless I fill up my mind and heart first. The principle method is reading. If we preach from the overflow, then we’ve got to overfill the mind with good, profitable reading materials. Lately, I’ve been reading the two books on Psalms written by the Truth-For-Today writer Eddie Cloer. I’m also reading the Jewish history volumes by Schurer and I’m still getting a great deal from Rex Turner Sr.’s book on Systematic Theology. Got to fill up the old tank if you want to go anywhere.

  • John Henson 5:58 pm on February 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , study   

    The last advice I gave a Christian was in reponse to a question about how to improve zeal. I told the person to buy their own Bible, read and study it each day and come to understand the reason why they decided to become a member of Christ’s body and what that meant. When one understands the price the Lord Jesus paid, what he went through to pay it and how little I deserve it, they’ll understand why they should have zeal.

  • Mike Riley 1:38 am on January 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , study,   

    Who taught me the gospel? My grandmother was my primary example of teaching me the value of Bible study – she faithfully read and studied her Bible every day. She told me one day, “Mike, the Bible has the answer to every problem we face in life” – And so it does.

    And after reading and studying the Bible for myself all these years, I realize how correct she was in her assessment of how the Bible does indeed provide us with an answer to every problem we face in life. “If” we will only “hear” what God is saying to us through His inspired writings, and then take His prescription which contains the solution to our problems.

  • Richard Mansel 6:09 pm on December 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , study   

    I do not teach the adult class. One of our men has been teaching through the Old Testament for many years. We are up to Ezekiel 38. I will be preaching on Clapping in worship and Bibliolatry tomorrow.

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