Purpose - Malcolm
Discern God's Purpose Through the Word of God
The first path
to discern God's will is through His Word.
A great deal of God's purpose
for your life has already been revealed in the Word of God. He has given you 66
books filled with wisdom and filled with the revelation of His will in one form
Therefore, God's purpose will be shown to those who diligently
study and meditate on the Word of God.
After Romans 12:1 (surrender to
God) comes Romans 12:2.
Do not conform any longer to the
pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you
will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect
will. (Rom. 12:2)
As you are transformed through the Word
of God, you will be able to fulfill God's will for your life. This is because
you will find in the Word the specific answers and principles you need, and also
because of the spiritual life that is in the Word of God.
the word of God is living and powerful
(Heb. 4:12, NKJV)
Word of God is living and powerful. The Word of God is so powerful, that God created
the world by His Word:
By faith we understand that the universe
was formed at God's command
the entire universe out of nothing, by His Word. Since that time, God continues
to hold the whole universe together by His Word:
sustaining all things by his powerful word
word of God is powerful. Moreover, God's Word has spiritual life. Jesus said:
words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (John 6:63)
And we also thank God continually because, when you
received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the
word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who
believe. (1 Thess. 2:13)
The Word of God "is at work"
in those who believe. The Word of God has the power to change your life; it actually
possesses the power to do things in your life, as you get into the Word and the
Word gets into you.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual
milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, (1 Pet 2:2)
need the word of God to have spiritual life:
"It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that
comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matt. 4:4)
Ephesian elders, Paul said:
Now I commit you to God and to
the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among
all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32)
The word of
God is our food. The word of God is our spiritual meat. The Word is our life.
It does not merely contain a future hope, but also the power now for wisdom, strength,
joy, peace, life and victory. Through meditating in the Word, you will grow spiritually
strong, and you will be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit leading and guiding
you. You'll grow in wisdom and be more perceptive to the hand of God in your circumstances.
Overall, you will find it easier to discern and understand God's purpose for your
life. In Matthew 7:13-27, Jesus gives a series of examples, and in all of them,
the Word of God makes the difference between success and failure.
Importance of the Word of God
Our lives should revolve around
the Scriptures. We should be people who place a great priority on knowing the
Word and on obeying it.
God reveals His will and purpose to us through His
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,
a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of
truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)
The Word of God is not just academic.
It is your life. Your life, your growth as a Christian, your future, and whether
or not you fulfill your purpose revolves around your life in the Word. The Word
of God is not just for preachers to know, or for students in seminaries to study,
but it's for all of us daily to meditate in and to apply to our lives.
the Scriptures, it is said that those who attend to the Word hold fast to the
Lord and to eternal life,
Watch your life and doctrine closely.
Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
(1 Tim. 4:16)
There are many churches who are very supportive
of the Holy Spirit's work in the life of the believer, but who are unbalanced,
having come to the point where "doctrine" is looked down on. "Doctrine"
is seen as something that the "denominations" were involved in. (As
if anything that the "denominations" are involved in is to be avoided!)
many, this has become a convenient way out of a lot of work. Their belief is that
they don't need to study the Scriptures because they "hear from the Lord."
Study is just for people without the Holy Spirit!
However, God says:
your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will
save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Tim. 4:16)
(who wrote these words), of course, had the Holy Spirit, and Timothy (to whom
Paul wrote these words) did, too!
There is great deal in the New Testament
concerning the importance of knowing the Word and having correct doctrine:
brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received
and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold
firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1
Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in
it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.
Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth.
They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith
of some. (2 Tim. 2:16-18)
our dear brother Paul also wrote
you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters,
speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard
to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other
Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you already
know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of
lawless men and fall from your secure position. (2 Pet. 3:15-17)
is why teachers of the Word of God will receive a stricter judgment (Jam. 3:1).
church of God is called:
the pillar (the Greek
word means prop or support) and foundation (the Greek word means stay,
undergirding; from the verb which means to make stable, settle firmly) of the
truth. (1 Tim. 3:15)
We are commanded by God to seek doctrinal
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,
a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of
truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)
and to keep the church free from error:
urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles
in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from
them. (Rom. 16:17)
Paul took correct doctrine very seriously.
Moreover, Paul was not the only one. John, who wrote so beautifully concerning
our fellowship with Jesus through His Spirit, also wrote some very strong words
concerning true doctrine:
See that what you have heard from
the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and
in the Father. And this is what he promised us - even eternal life. (1 John 2:24-25)
who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God;
whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9)
was the very same John who wrote John 17:3. The Christian life is to know God,
but if you don't have the right doctrine, you don't have God and you don't know
God. That is what John wrote! There is no contradiction between knowing God and
having good doctrine.
Levels of Authority of
To have a proper balance, we must recognize that our
doctrines have various levels of authority.
Jesus said there are certain
doctrinal matters that are "more important" than others:
have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness
By implication, this means there are some
doctrinal matters that are "less important." We must realize that our
doctrines have varying degrees of significance and of authority. They are not
all equally important (although, of course, nothing in the Bible is unimportant).
Vital doctrines such as the deity of Christ, the substitutionary blood
atonement, Jesus' virgin birth and bodily resurrection, justification by faith
alone, the inerrancy of Scripture, the triunity of the Godhead, etc., that are
clearly taught in the Scripture must never be compromised. These are the doctrines
for which you should be prepared to die and which you should defend even if it
means causing division in the local church.
However, issues such as the
exact method of water baptism and the timing of the rapture should not be the
causes of church divisions. You should be prepared to die for the deity of Christ,
but not for someone's speculation regarding the meaning of Paul's head covering
in 1 Corinthians 11!1 You should
not divide churches over disagreements about the historical identity of the king
called "Darius the Mede" in the Old Testament book of Daniel!
following graphic shows the relationship between a particular doctrine's importance
and clarity and its subsequent authority.
the importance and clarity of the doctrine increases, its authority increases.
However, if a doctrine is relatively less important or clear, then its authority
There are five levels of authority of doctrines2:
1. Direct statements in Scripture. To the extent that our doctrines are built
on direct statements and not on interpretations of Scripture, they have the highest
level of authority. They are the direct, clear Word of God. There is no element
of human interpretation involved. For example, the fact that Jesus is God is directly
stated many times in the Bible:
In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1; cf. 20:28; Is.
9:6; Rom. 9:5; Tit. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:1; Heb. 1:8-9; etc.)
1" doctrines that are built simply on direct statements of Scripture are
doctrines for which we can, and should, be willing to die. These are the doctrines
we need to believe to be saved. If we disagree with these doctrines, we are not
Other examples of direct statements are Jesus' genuine humanity (1
Tim. 2:5), His substitutionary blood atonement (Is. 53), His bodily resurrection
(Luke 24:39), and justification by faith alone (Rom. 3:28).
Level 2. Direct
implications of Scripture. These are "close interpretations" from the
Scripture. They are interpretations, as opposed to direct statements, but they
are very "close" interpretations, as opposed to "distant."
Consequently, they are not quite as authoritative as direct statements, because
there is an additional small step of interpretation involved. These doctrines,
however, still carry a high level of authority and should be taken very seriously.
An example of this kind of doctrine is the triune nature of God. There is no verse
that explicitly says, "God is three in one," yet there is much clear
scriptural evidence for this truth.
Level 3. Probable implications of Scripture.
There is a much greater degree of interpretation involved in the formulation of
these doctrines. The authority of these doctrines increases as the number of Scriptures
used to support them increases (as long as those Scriptures are interpreted with
accuracy and integrity). Level 3 doctrines often become the particular "distinctives"
between one Christian group and the next. An example of such a doctrine would
be the relationship of divine sovereignty to human responsibility. While many
would argue this doctrine to be fairly clear from a study of the entire Bible,
this is probably not a doctrine for which you should die. Another example of this
level of doctrine is the method of water baptism that one uses or one's position
on divorce and remarriage. We all should believe, teach and practice our differing
convictions on these matters, but we should still be able to work together as
believers as long as we agree on Level 1 and 2 doctrines.
Level 4. Inductive
conclusions from Scripture. This is when we look at what the whole Bible says
about something, seeking to understand it in the context of history and culture,
trying to understand what the author originally intended by his words to those
people in that place at that time, and prayerfully considering how to apply it
to our lives now. There is quite a lot of interpretation entailed in these conclusions,
and the more interpretation involved, the less authoritative the doctrine becomes.
This doesn't automatically mean that such a doctrine is wrong, but it does mean
that we shouldn't burn someone at the stake simply because he disagrees with it!
4" issues are addressed in the Scriptures in some form or another, but there
is a high level of interpretation involved in these doctrines. Some examples are:
one's particular view concerning the rapture, the correct mode of women's dress,
the precise function of deacons, the role of women in the church, the meaning
of the head-covering in 1 Corinthians 11, etc.
Many of our hallowed church
traditions are actually "Level 4" doctrines. To some believers these
doctrines are absolutely clear. However, in reality, they are not so clear. Problems
arise when believers become dogmatic over "Level 4" doctrines, and many
churches have been divided or destroyed over such issues.
Level 5. Speculations
from Scripture. These doctrines are derived from a single statement or hint in
the Scripture. Frequently they come from an obscure or unclear part of the Bible.
They may also involve "spiritualization" of the Scriptures. These are
theories; in fact, they are often guesses. In spite of the fact that doctrines
of this nature frequently become very big issues in churches, nevertheless, in
reality they possess little authority.
Here are some examples of these
Some say the distance of 2000 cubits between the
Ark and the people in Joshua 3:4 represents the 2000 year period between Jesus'
resurrection and that of His people at His return. Of course, this is pure spiritualization
and speculation. The difficulty with this interpretation is further compounded
by the fact that some Hebrew texts (along with modern translations) say 1000 cubits!
Some teach that Gideon's Army in Judges 7 is a prophetic type of God's "end-time
army" that consists of an elite group of believers. One cult in China has
developed a large following with this teaching, and the leader claims to be Christ
Others combine Peter's assertion that "with
the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day"
(2 Pet. 3:8) with the six days of creation to suggest that there will be a total
of only 6000 years of human history, before Christ returns to institute the Millennium
- the "seventh day" of rest on the earth. This idea is nowhere found
in the Scripture and is contradicted by the genealogies of Genesis,3
which indicate a period of time somewhat longer than this, and also by the Early
Church's belief that Christ would return in their generation (e.g., 1 Thess. 4:17).
The "Gap theory" that says there was a "gap" between verses
1 and 2 of Genesis 1, during which time God created and then destroyed a "pre-Adamic
race," is another speculation that is nowhere taught in the Scriptures.
Certain groups handle deadly snakes and drink poison as part of their worship
times in "obedience" to Mark 16:18!
of the Antichrist.
The meaning of the "baptism for the
dead" in 1 Corinthians 15:29.
This is where things can get dangerous.
It becomes a very serious problem when speculations are presented as possessing
the same degree of authority as "Level 1" direct statements of Scripture.
Due to a lack of theological training, many church leaders and Christians do not
have a balanced view of the degrees of doctrinal authority, but they have a "flat"
theology in which everything they believe is considered to possess the same absolute
authority. In such churches, aberrant speculations are believed and held to as
zealously as direct statements of Scriptures, and sometimes even more so.
in some churches, "Level 5" speculations are stated and pursued as pure
and absolute revelations from God, whereas foundational "Level 1" doctrines
are disregarded as unimportant ("that's just 'doctrine,' and 'doctrine' is
not so important!"). Of course, the opposite is the truth: foundational doctrines
are important, speculations are not.
Obviously, you should not give your
life for someone's speculation. Unfortunately, however, in small, "cultic"
churches, many believers have done just that.
We need to know the Word of
God, and we need to know it in a balanced manner:
As I urged
you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command
certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to
myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work
- which is by faith. (1 Tim. 1:3-4)
In essence, Paul says
to avoid speculation and focus on sound doctrine that is solidly based on the
Scriptures. Stop worrying about peripheral issues and get into the Word - into
matters that count, matters that will build you up and help you fulfill God's
He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as
it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute
those who oppose it. For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers,
especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they
are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach - and
that for the sake of dishonest gain. (Tit. 1:9-11)
although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt
I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted
to the saints. (Jude 3)
Jude says to contend for "the
faith." He is speaking of foundational doctrine. We should not contend for
someone's theory, however attractive it may seem.
For us to discern and
fulfill the purpose of God for our lives, we need to know the Word, and to know
the Word in a balanced way. We need to know the difference between a direct authoritative
statement of Scripture on the one end of the scale, and a speculation from human
reasoning on the other end. We need to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim.
People waste years and sometimes their whole lives, never coming
close to their purpose in God, because they get caught up in their own or someone
else's religious speculations. This frequently happens in churches.
when a believer has a "flat" theology and he embraces all doctrines
as "Level 1" for which he should die, then he will be in trouble when
someone points out the error of one of his (in reality Level 5) beliefs. This
will frequently happen because Level 5 doctrines do not have scriptural integrity
and can be disproved easily. Since everything he believes forms the bedrock foundation
of his Christian life - instead of only the top level beliefs forming his foundation
- he will suffer a spiritual crisis and will not know what to believe anymore.
His entire belief system will unravel. On the other hand, a believer who has a
clear understanding of the different levels of authority of what he believes will
be able to examine, adjust and occasionally reject, his lower level beliefs, while
safely holding to the doctrines that matter the most.
Concerning the many
minor issues about which Christians differ, you should:
1. Learn to distinguish
between major issues and minor ones (Matt. 23:23). Build your life on the major
2. Learn to distinguish between matters of command and matters of
freedom (Rom. 14:14, 20).
3. On debatable issues, cultivate your own convictions
4. Allow your brother the freedom to determine his own convictions
- even when they differ from yours (Rom. 14:1-2).
5. Let your liberty be
limited, when necessary, by love (Rom. 14:13 - 15:2).
6. Follow Christ as
the Model and Motivator of servanthood (Rom. 15:1-3).
7. Pursue unity among
the brethren (Rom. 15:5-7). This appeal for unity is a direct statement of Scripture!
God Himself is more important than splitting hairs about fine points of peripheral
issues. Nevertheless, there is no contradiction between knowing God and knowing
You Must Know the Word of God
attention to the Word of God will probably determine whether you find and fulfill
God's purpose for your life. Consequently, if you are seeking the true purpose
of God in your life, then you will take the Word off the bookshelf, dust it off
and get into it, and get it into you.
Many Christians ask others what they
think God wants them to do, when they should instead spend their time in God's
Word. That is where the answers are! Instead of asking someone else for their
opinion, or trying to get a prophetic word from someone, get into the Word. It
will help you. The more you know the Word of God, the more you will understand
His will for your life.
You need to diligently study the Word. Moreover,
you need to do it as a habit, as a discipline; not just when the mood strikes
you or the wind blows you. Some people will tell you that God hasn't "led"
them to study the Bible recently. Yet, it seems that He apparently did lead them
to get up every morning and go to work, to eat and to sleep! Of course God doesn't
need to "lead" someone to do those things; and neither does He need
to "lead" you to study His Word! You should be in the Word of God every
day, whether you feel "led" or not.
Spending time in the Word
of God should be one of the normal habits of your life. But remember: the only
habits you develop are the habits that you develop!
To put it another way:
you will start getting into the Word when you start getting into the Word. It
is that simple. When you deliberately set yourself to be diligent and consistent
in the Word of God, you will become spiritually strong.
Your Bible is not
going to suddenly come before you and open itself before your eyes and speak to
you and say, "Read me." You need to do it. The only habits you develop
are the habits that you develop!
Furthermore, if you have time for breakfast,
then you have time for the Word of God. If you have time for , then you
have time for the Word of God. If you have time to start a business, then you
have time for the Word of God. The Word of God is your life. You need the Word
of God for life, for strength, and for direction in your life.
will help you understand your purpose. The Word of God will help you make sense
of your life. It will help you understand your past. It will help you plan for
the future. It will help you to know and do God's will and purpose.
of the Word of God
Many Christians who would never have anything
to do with the , nevertheless seek divine guidance in ways that are either
directly or dangerously close to divination.
Some believers play "Bible
roulette" to seek God's direction for their lives. They let their fingers
walk through the Bible's pages, seeking some kind of guidance as they scan the
words. If a verse pops out at them while they're scanning, they believe that is
what God is saying to them.
Others let their Bible flop open at a particular
passage or verse and accept that as the voice of God. There's a well-known fable
of the man who was trying to find God's will for his life. He shut his eyes, opened
up his Bible at random, and put his finger on a passage. Opening his eyes, he
read the passage from Matthew 27:5, "Then he went away and hanged himself."
Feeling the need for better direction than this, he closed his eyes again and
opened his Bible to another passage. He looked and read Jesus' statement in Luke
10:37, "Go and do likewise." That wasn't quite what he was looking for
either, so he tried one more time. He shut his eyes, opened his Bible, and read
Jesus' words in John 13:27, "What you are about to do, do quickly"!
believers misuse the biblical account of Gideon's fleece in Judges 6:36-40. When
trying to determine God's will, they "put out a fleece." Usually, however,
the fleeces they put out require nothing like the supernatural intervention that
Gideon's fleece required. Gideon's fleece was not merely a circumstantial sign.
If your fleece does not require intervention that is absolutely supernatural -
not just unlikely, or abnormal, but absolutely impossible except for a bona-fide
supernatural intervention from God - then you have not followed the biblical example.
In other words, if you are going to lay out a fleece, then lay out a good one!
Gideon asked for two miracles from God. His odds were not 80 to 20 or even 99
to 1. What Gideon asked for was utterly impossible. He asked for two miracles,
and he received them both. If you will lay out fleeces that are of truly biblical
proportions, you may find that they are not answered anywhere near as often!
although God gave Gideon the miracles he asked for, that does not mean He approved
of such a method of determining His will. The use of fleeces is not repeated elsewhere
in the Scriptures.
How the Word of God Helps
Us Know God's Will
The answers for many of the questions of your
life and purpose will be in God's Word in either one of two ways: specifically
or in principle.
The issue you are interested in
may be directly addressed in the Bible and God's will clearly revealed. For example,
immorality is specifically dealt with many times in the Bible:
is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid immorality;
that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and
honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; (1 Thess.
There is no doubt about whether or not fornication
is permissible for a Christian!
Likewise, there are many specific questions
that are easily answered by the Word. For example, does God want a Christian to
marry an unbeliever? Many women have married an unbelieving man, thinking and
hoping that God would change his heart, or that they would change his heart, after
marriage. It rarely happens. The Word would have answered this question for them
and spared them much grief (1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14-15). You don't need someone
to prophesy over you about issues like this since God has already told you what
Does God want a Christian doctor to perform abortions? Does God want
a Christian businessman to take on a new account if he would have to bend the
rules of ethical conduct just a little to keep that account? The answers to these
and many other questions are plainly revealed in the Bible. Consider the following
Scriptures, all of which clearly address specific situations in our lives:
if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example,
that you should follow in his steps. (1 Pet. 2:20-21)
submissive to your husbands
(1 Pet. 3:1)
Husbands, love your
wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph. 5:25)
not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing
All these passages, and hundreds of others like them,
give us clear biblical direction for specific situations in our lives. As the
following table4 demonstrates, God
has laid out very clear revelations of His will concerning even our inner attitudes.
God's Will for Our Attitudes
Not... ||Key Passages|
12:28-31; Rom. 14:13-19; 1 Cor. 13:1-3; Rom. 13:14|
3:5-6; Gal. 5:16|
4:6; Phil. 2:5-8|
16:33; Matt. 10:26-28|
13:5; Phil. 4:11|
The Bible gives us extensive
guidance on everything from A to Z, a fact graphically illustrated by Psalm 119
which contains 22 sections beginning with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
These sections show us the place of the Word of God in the Christian's life.
how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser
than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for
I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might
obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught
me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain
understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. (Ps. 119:97-104)
gave us His Word to reveal His will for us. The Bible is so comprehensive that
many times people who are trying to excuse their sin will claim that the issue
is not mentioned specifically in the Bible. For example, someone may ask, "Where
does the Bible say you can't take recreational drugs?" However, neither does
the Bible say you shouldn't jump out of an airplane without a parachute. Look
it up in your concordance and you will see that such a commandment is nowhere
found - in any of the translations!
Thus, while there are many specific
questions we can find answered, there are also clear principles in the Word that
will help you discern God's will and purpose for your life concerning issues that
aren't specifically addressed.
2. In principle.
Dr. Erich Klinger
at the University of Minnesota conducted a study and found that each of us face
between 300 and 17,000 decisions every day! Certainly, the exact answers to each
of these questions are not all found in the Bible.
Since the Scriptures
do not directly address many issues that we face, in prayer we should take the
principles that are taught in the whole counsel of God and apply them to our specific
situation. In this regard, there are certain passages that apply very well to
a whole range of questions.
For example, Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians
6:19-20 would keep a Christian from taking recreational drugs (including nicotine),
even though their use is not specifically prohibited in the Bible:
you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom
you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
we should dress in a manner that glorifies God in our bodies. That also is applying
this Scripture in a practical manner in our lives.
Thus, there are many
Scriptures that we can apply to our lives, even though they don't directly address
our specific questions. There are also broad principles taught in the Bible which
can be applied to a large range of situations. For example:
whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all
in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col.
Take these principles, bathe them in prayer, and
you will many times have a clear understanding of what God's will is concerning
many issues that are not otherwise dealt with in the Scriptures.
one reason why you must study the Word of God. If you were given a book that had
your name written on the front, and the title of that book was, "God's will
for Bill," and the will of God for you was clearly set out inside, would
you read that book? You would devour it!
Of course, the Scriptures do not
read like a grocery list for your life. They aren't quite that clear. There are
at least three reasons why they aren't:
1. The Scriptures are written for
many other people, places, times and cultures as well as you.
2. With increased
revelation comes increased responsibility. This means that if His will were crystal
clear on every issue and you did not do it, your judgment would be stricter.
God does not want merely to tell you what to do; He also wants to deal with your
heart and life along the way. Consequently, it is a journey, a journey of discovery.
the Bible is not written as a grocery list or a road map, if you will study it
and learn it, as the Holy Spirit helps you and illuminates His Word to you, then
you will have a much clearer knowledge of His purpose for your life.
In some of our Hispanic churches, the women sincerely believe they should wear
the head covering during public meetings. We respect that genuine conviction on
To say there are exactly "five" levels of authority is arbitrary and
has no biblical basis. The general idea of differing levels of authority of doctrines
is, however, biblical. The designation of five levels used here helps us to grasp
this valuable principle. For the sake of simplicity, it may sometimes be better
to reduce the five levels to three: Dogma (my Levels 1 & 2), Doctrine (my
Level 3), and Tradition or Speculation (my Levels 4 & 5).
The difficulty of determining the exact time periods indicated by the genealogies
in Genesis is compounded by the omission of links in them.
Adapted from Garry Friesen & J. Robin Maxson, Decision Making and the Will
of God (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1980), 156.
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