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Sunday, November 26, 2017

How to Handle Offenses

Dear Bite Size Bible Study subscribers: My responsibilities with Bible Love Notes have been increasing the last few years, and I've felt the Lord telling me to cut back. 

Because of that, the study below will be my last "regular" Bite Size study. I may still publish from time to time, but without a set schedule. 

If any of you are not subscribers on Bible Love Notes, I encourage you to sign up for a subscription and receive a 1-minute devotion each weekday. (Sign up HERE).

If that sounds like more than you want, just remember that you can read only those you want to read and they only take a minute! 

Also, I will be using extensive footnotes on some Bible Love Notes devotions that can serve as a short Bible study, if you like.  

You can also access 300 past studies on Bite Size through these archives: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017. Thanks and God bless you. ~ Gail

How to Handle Offenses Biblically

A relative recently told me I'd offended her. I sincerely asked forgiveness. Afterward, I thought of the many ways that situation could have gone wrong if Biblical principles weren’t followed. 

It’s appropriate to tell someone they’ve offended us (Matthew 18:15) with these cautions:

1. Are we being petty? Some things should be overlooked. Proverbs 19:11 

2. Have we first tried to see things from their perspective? Matthew 7:1-4; Philippians 2:3-4 

3. Are we interested in helping them or just criticizing them? Romans 12:9

4. Are we prepared to forgive them as Jesus forgives us (Ephesians 4:32)? It's ungodly to ignore an apology or delay our response (Proverbs 3:27).

When we're the one apologizing, we should ask ourselves:

1. Are we apologizing or un-apologizing? 
See Self-Defense, How to Say “I’m Sorry.” 

2. Are we demanding or asking for forgiveness? 
See He Apologized for an Affair.


 Bible Study 

How to Handle Offenses Biblically
1. What type of offenses should be overlooked?

Proverbs 19:11: A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense. 

Is the offense part of an ongoing problem or simply a one-time mistake? Does the person need some extra grace because they're going through a difficult time in their life? 

2. What does it mean to forgive others as God forgives us?
 
Ephesians 4:29-32: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:13: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 

Mark 11:25: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Did God Really Say He Creates Evil?


Some folks are eager to find things that make God look bad. Recently, someone brought Isaiah 45:7 to my attention for this purpose:  “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” KJV(1) 

By ignoring the rest of Scripture, they concluded that God is responsible for evil. 

However:

1. Scripture explains that God created a perfect world and when mankind sinned, evil entered the world.(2) 

2. Scripture describes God as pure goodness, love and light.(3) 

3. The Hebrew word ra' in this passage is best translated “adversity,” not evil.(4) 

4. The context of the passage is reward and punishment, not the origin of good and evil.(5) 

God does create justice through adversity: He punishes unrepentant sinners and refines the faith of His children through adversity. 

But He doesn’t create sin, encourage sin, or cause sin.(6) 

Many verses in Scripture, when pulled out of context or read in a single translation can appear to say something they don’t.(7) 
-------------------------  
(1) The King James is a good translation, but just like other good translations, it has passages that don't best reflect the original Greek and Hebrew. That's one reason it's good to study several good translations. The original Hebrew and Greek are the most accurate forms of Scripture, but God intended for all languages to enjoy His Word, so we shouldn't get too hyper about translation differences. Many of the Hebrew and Greek words have no equivalent in other languages, so we do the best we can.

No translation is "perfect" but all of the major translations are good for reading and study. The King James Version was written before the oldest manuscripts of Scripture were discovered (the Dead Sea Scrolls), so it contains passages not included in the original manuscripts but added later by scribes. These added passages do not contradict Scripture, but the newer translations omit them because they were not part of the original manuscripts. Some people claim that newer translations are less accurate than the KJV due to these missing passages. That's not true. 

See Isaiah 45:7 in the NIV, ESV, NASB, NLT HERE and GNT, AMP, and NKJV HERE

For more on translations, see: Why Are the Newer Translations Missing Verses?, Missing Bible Verses, Is the King James the Only Reliable Bible?

(2)  Genesis 1:31; Genesis 3 
(3)  Punishing evil is a good thing and God promises to do so: Isaiah 13:11, Revelation 21:5-8. God also uses adversity to discipline His children so they will turn from sin: Hebrews 12:1-12. And He uses adversity to refine our faith: 1 Peter 1:6-7
(4)  Strong’s Concordance 
(5)  Isaiah 45
(6)  There is no darkness in God: 1 John 1:5. God never causes sin: James 1:13. Everything coming from God’s hand is good: James 1:17.  
(7)  See Pieces Parts, Prayer in Context, 3 Ways to Discern Spiritual Truths.  

Bible Study

1. Punishment and justice are not highly valued in our modern culture, but they are part of goodness. Situations need not be pleasant to be good. All God does is good, but not all He does is pleasant.

Hebrews 12:7-11: Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 

See Discipline, Punishment, Condemnation and God Punishes

2. God is perfectly good, pure, just, righteous, loving. He is never evil, never tempts people with evil and certainly does not create evil.

1 John 1:5: This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 

James 1:13: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone… 

James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 

See Good Things Can Sometimes Be Unpleasant


copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Plank-Eye Epidemic

Plank-Eye Disease: Cause and Cure - Matthew 7:1-5

It has troubled the planet from the beginning of time, but it seems to be more epidemic of late. It’s a terrible vision problem that damages the mind and eventually affects the heart. 

Unfortunately, most folks who have it are in denial and never get the help they need. 

What is it? 

It’s plank-eye disease described in Matthew 7:3-4: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”  

It comes from overlooking our own sins and concentrating hypocritically on the sins of others. It causes us to lose perspective of the truth.

The cure: 
Listen for God's conviction and genuinely repent of our sins. Only then will we “see clearly” enough to deal with our own sins and help others deal with theirs (Matthew 7:5; Galatians 6:1). 

Bible Study 

1. The passage below describes the Pharisees' hypocrisy using a different analogy.

Plank-Eye Disease: Cause and Cure - Matthew 7:1-5
Matthew 23:25-26: “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. 

The Pharisees thought themselves “clean” because they looked good on the outside, but their hearts were filled with hypocritical judgment and sin. 

2. We can avoid self-righteousness and hypocrisy by viewing ourselves honestly. 

Romans 12:3: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

3. Like King David, we must understand how much God values genuine repentance.

This is part of the psalm David wrote after God punished him for his sins with Bathsheba and Uriah:

Psalm 51:16-17: You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 

The root word for the Hebrew word "contrite" (dakah) means "crushed." David understood the crushing blow his sins had on his well-being and how they hurt the heart of God.

copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com