1 Peter 5:8-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself will restore, support, strengthen and establish you.
How do we protect ourselves from fear and doubt? The answer is very simple. First, we need to keep our mind and heart on the Father and the Son. (Matthew 7:21-23) Second, we need to resolutely reject satanic propaganda and fully avail ourselves of God’s provisions to make us “firm in the faith.” What does that mean? “Deep study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees that immaturity continues.” (Dr. Lee M. Field) Let us take just one subject matter to demonstrate how one can end up on the path of fear and doubt as it pertains to the New Testament text that makes up our English translations, that is, the foundation of our faith.
Many Bible scholars boldly answer the challenges Bart D. Ehrman alleges against the fully inerrant, Spirit-inspired, authoritative Word of God. By glimpsing into the life of Bart D. Ehrman and following along his course of academic studies, Andrews helps the reader to understand the biases, assumptions, and shortcomings supporting Ehrman’s arguments. Using sound reason, scholarly exegesis, and the Historical-Grammatical method of interpretation, as well as New Testament textual criticism, these scholars help both churchgoer/Bible students, as well as scholars, overcome the teachings of biblical errancy that Ehrman propagates. All of this is done in many easy-to-read and understand publications, several of which are mentioned here in this book.
Therefore, third, it is absolutely essential that we feed ourselves with God’s Word regularly. Without regular spiritual feeding, our faith, like a body that is deprived of food, will be gradually damaged and will eventually crash. Jesus Christ emphasized this when he said: “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) Think through this. How do we build a strong faith in the beginning? The moment we were introduced to the Gospel of Christ, we did not in that very moment have faith. Moreover, we did not just blindly believe either. Hopefully, we were like the Bereans. Of them. Paul said, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, who received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) Paul also said to the Christians in Rome, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) Paul told the Christians in Thessalonica, “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Hopefully, since the beginning, we have continuously been growing our faith. The Following three are needed, and none of the three can be missing.
To become a well-grounded Christian, one must
- obtain a real, broad knowledge of Bible truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4),
- put faith in the things we have learned (Hebrews 11:6),
- repent of our sins (Acts 17:30-31), and
- turn around in our course of life. (Acts 3:19);
- Then our love for God should move us to dedicate ourselves to Christ. (Matthew 16:24; 22:37)
- Finally, baptism (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-10; Acts 8:36)
Sadly, the common saying today by the pastors and many Bible scholars is “head knowledge vs heart knowledge,” which has been taken to mean and propagated strongly that head knowledge is not important, Christians only need heart knowledge. Jonathan Edwards from his sermon Divine and Supernatural Light has given us an illustration to make this point by using honey. He says, “your mind can know honey is sweet, people can tell you it’s sweet, you’ve read books about it, etc. but if you haven’t actually tasted it, you know with your head, but not with your heart. When you actually taste it, you experience it for yourself, you know it in a full way, and you can know it in your heart.”
Many Christians now neglect deeper studies because they believe it is unimportant. They believe that all you need is Jesus in your heart, not your head. If we are missing the knowledge of God, we cannot believe in something we have no real in-depth knowledge of, as Paul told the Christians in Rome, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how will they hear without someone to preach?” Paul tells us, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some [who may initially seem to have a strong faith] will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1) When we lack an accurate, deeper knowledge of God’s Word, these misleading words and teachings create doubts in the minds of some and distance them from God. How can we be protected? Paul answers a few verses later, “In pointing out these things to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed closely.” – 1 Timothy 4:6.
Sadly, today, most Christians choose not to be “nourished on the words of the faith,” even when such nourishment is plentiful and available. Today, many conservative Bible scholars have penned hundreds of books that are easy to understand, which is a spiritual banquet that surrounds the Christians, and they have neglected to eat. – Proverbs 19:24; 26:15.
Hebrews 5:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
For in view of the time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things of the sayings of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
The apostle Paul explained the danger,
Hebrews 2:1, 3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to the things that have been heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard
Many healthy-looking people that we see are suffering from the right foods or a lack of the right foods. They do not look sickly or thin. We can have the appearance of looking healthy spiritually, but this is a bomb waiting to go off. It is only a matter of time before something or someone causes us to become weakened spiritually, vulnerable to unfounded doubts, and unable to “contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to” them. (Jude 1:3) We know, deep inside of ourselves, even if others are unaware, the degree to which our faith can be sustained in the wake of a storm from Satan’s world.
Hence, we need to have a regular and constant personal Bible study. We need to be regular at the Christian meetings. More than that, if our church makes available of what is coming up to be studied, we need to prepare that material beforehand. We also need to be active in sharing our faith with others. In addition, we need to study deeper things to prepare our faith before the tsunami storm comes ashore. We need to fight doubts with biblical truths. Some have ignored doubts that we can liken to trivial infections, to do nothing about doubts that have nagged at them, which have led to disastrous consequences. (2 Corinthians 11:3) ‘why has a just, righteous, all-powerful, loving God allowed wickedness, suffering, disease, old age, and death?’ Why would a loving God order an Israelite army to kill villages of women and babies?’ ‘How can we know that we have the truth if Christianity is so divided into 41,000 different denominations that all believe differently?’ ‘If we do not have the original New Testament manuscripts and all of the copies contain scribal errors, how can we know that what we have is the Word of God?’ There are thousands of questions like these. We need to follow the advice that Paul gave Timothy, “continue in the things you have learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from infancy you have known the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through trust in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Timothy 3:13-15.
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 Sober Minded: (Gr. nepho) This denotes being sound in mind, to be in control of one’s thought processes and thus not be in danger of irrational thinking, ‘to be sober-minded, to be well composed in mind.’–1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8
 A quotation from Deut. 8:3
 Or with all readiness of mind. The Greek word prothumias means that one is eager, ready, mentally prepared to engage in some activity.
 Or well-pleasing
 Making the Resurrection Personal – Fred Ayers Sermon – (March 29, 2018)
 Sayings: (Gr. logia, on [only in the plural]) A saying or message, usually short, especially divine, gathered into a collection. – Acts 7:38; Romans 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11.
 Pay Attention: (Gr. prosechō) The sense of prosechō is to give heed or the need to pay attention. One must hold more firmly to what they believe, or what they have known to be true. Paul is telling these Hebrew Christians, who no longer have the visual aids like the temple or the Jewish high priest, you need to hold more firmly to the things that you have heard.
 Drift Away: (Gr. pararreō) The sense of pararreō is to disbelieve or drift away gradually or slowly from what one had formerly known to be true. It is like being carried away by water current. These Hebrew Christians because of their daily harassment from the Jews in and around Jerusalem, living in the place where they can see what we now call the eighth wonder of the world, the Jewish temple, were gradually giving up their belief in the truth. – Heb. 2:1.
 Pisteuo is “to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance, ‘to believe in, to have confidence in, to have faith in, to trust, faith, trust.’