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Bible verses about God's Word
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 32:2

Speech equates to "teaching," so it includes God's Word, His commandments, His truth, and ultimately all of His instruction. Distill means to "run down," "flow," or "stream." This is a picturesque way of saying God sends His truth to cover the earth like dew!

Ronny H. Graham
The Dew of Heaven


 

Psalm 119:105

God's Word is a lamp, a light that illuminates the darkness. If a person walks through the woods at night, he is well served to have a flashlight with him to shine it on the ground in front of him so that his feet do not trip over a snag in the path, or his shins do not encounter a boulder or fallen log. That is what light does: It illuminates or reveals.

God's Word illuminates the path of our lives. If we keep God's Word shining along the way, then we will be far less likely to trip. We will not be easily deceived. Because we are following the light, we will see what the light reveals in the path ahead of us. It is only when we turn the light off (before we have actually arrived at our destination) that something could spring up in the dark and trip us. Therefore, if we keep the light of God's truth shining brightly ahead of us, then we have a greater chance of avoiding deception.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Preventing Deception


 

Proverbs 2:1-6

God's Word is like His other creations. Like air, it too has multi-faceted uses. In fact, it seems as though its uses are inexhaustible. It does not matter whether one lives in the time of Abraham, Moses, David, Ezra, Christ, or now. Its directly stated words or their spirit will apply. God's Word is so infinite and pure that it is always valid, always true, always applicable, and always an inexhaustible source of guidance. Jesus says that God's "word is truth" (John 17:17). Solomon adds, "Every word of God is pure" (Proverbs 30:5), and David writes, "The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6).

Psalm 119:17-18 states, "Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law." The author of this psalm has the right idea. Asking God for guidance into His Word should be our request each day. Understand, however, that it is one thing to deem the Bible a great book because of its reputation—it is another to study the Bible soberly, seeking for instruction in righteousness. This we must do.

Solomon instructs us in Proverbs 2:1 on the necessary attitude toward it: "My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you. . . ." We should treat God's Word like treasure, as something precious. We should not treat it merely as something expensive but personally desired and used as our guide to life. Possessing it in this manner is within reach if we stretch ourselves or make sacrificial effort to have it. It is such a powerful tool that we should approach it as if it is the pearl of great price. Yet, this treasure is not something put in a safe-deposit vault and taken out only to look at on rare occasions. We are to seek it so that it can produce success and beneficial results in us. It is the most useful tool readily available to man to guide him in the most important area of life—his relationships with God and fellow man.

Verses 2-6 add a great deal of understanding about how vigorous and persistent our efforts should be toward possessing the treasure of God's Word. The phrase "incline your ear" (verse 2) pictures a person cocking his head and cupping his ear with his hand while straining to hear—understand—more distinctly. It depicts exerting physical effort, and the word "heart" shows we must apply strenuous mental effort as well. Admittedly, God's Word is not always easy to understand. It is a tool that requires varying levels of skill to use. At times, we must research patiently and diligently in many areas of Scripture to get as comprehensive a picture of its teaching on a given subject as possible.

In verse 3, "cry out" more literally means "invite to come." It is admonishing us to be open-minded as we research its pages. Our heart easily deceives us through lifelong prejudices and biases because we have passively accepted them as true. When God's Word challenges them, we are often moved to defend them. "Lift up your voice" adds greater intensity to "cry out," showing that we should not be passive regarding these biases. We need to search into them sincerely, and if we find them to be wrong, reject them.

By reminding us that the things we consider to be valuable usually have to be laboriously dug for and brought up from the depths, verse 4 urges us to pursue the riches of God's Word seriously.

Verse 5 then introduces an exceedingly interesting and essential principle we need to know for our growth. Proverbs 1:7 informs us, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge," but Proverbs 2:5 adds that the fear of the Lord is also a goal in our search for wisdom. This is important to understanding "knowing God" because the thrust of the Bible reveals that we can only come to know Him by obeying Him, by striving to be morally perfect. The fear of the Lord is a major motivator in producing conformity to Him and His will. It helps us enormously to reverence Him deeply, and if we do, it will result in sincere obedience from the heart. In this context, the Bible essentially equates the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God.

Verse 6 confirms that God is the source of all ethical authority as well as the blessings that flow from obedience to the knowledge of Him. The preceding verses urge obedience to Him as the principle of life because it results in knowing Him. Therefore, the fear of the Lord, the knowledge of God, understanding, and wisdom are all part of the same spiritual "salad." They are inextricably linked as necessary for those who want to please God and live the abundant life He intends for His children. Though we can properly define them as technically different from one another, in reality, they cannot be separated. The glue that holds them together is obedience to what we already know while we strive to improve all of them together. Verse 9 to the end of the chapter expounds the benefits of our search for this treasure.

In Psalm 119, the author shows how many varied and distinct elements are in fact linked in order to comprise a whole generally called "the law." The same principle holds true of those elements of Proverbs 2:1-6. The psalmist asks God to deal bountifully with him (Psalm 119:17-18), so he can keep—obey—what he learned as he searched out each element. This shows that we need to consider the whole package in Proverbs 2:1-6 because each of these elements draws on the others for support while simultaneously producing fruit toward the others.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part One): Introduction


 

Proverbs 30:1-6

Agur claims no great intelligence or superior understanding. He feels his education is lacking in the more important areas of life, like the proper way to live and the knowledge of God. He is only a common man with no special abilities, powers or privileges—in fact, he would like to know the person who could do some of these things.

In verses 5 and 6 he states his conclusion: To get the most and the best from life, we should believe God, not presuming that we can comprehend the effects of our actions without advice from God in His Word. God's Word cannot be improved upon; every word of God is pure, as gold and silver are pure (Psalm 12:6). The value of God's Word cannot be increased by adding to or taking from it, anymore than gold can be increased in value by alloying it with something else. He advises that we strive to do nothing that God forbids and leave nothing undone that God commands. This is the approach of a man whose sole aim is to please God, and who does not want to do or not do anything that might strain the relationship.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christmas, Syncretism, and Presumption


 

Proverbs 30:5

The word translated as "pure" is actually more closely related to the word "refined." "Pure" is not wrong, but refined means "reduced to a pure state." Every word of God has been reduced to a pure state.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 2-3 and Works


 

Proverbs 30:5-6

The word "pure" might be better translated "refined." Its background is putting something to the test and it works. The advice has been refined; it is as pure as it can be. Then he adds, "Don't add to it, and it will be a shield to you."

Why will it protect us?

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven [similar to refined, tested, pure]; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (Psalm 18:30)

Protection from what? We need protection from all of the things that bondage and sin imply. If we lack the refined, pure, unadulterated Word of God, the only alternative is the word of men! Nowhere in God's Word does He says the word of men is pure, true, or refined. The word of men is limited to the experiences of men and by their prejudices. Even though a man may try, with all sincerity, to report something as honestly and accurately as he can, he does not have the breadth of experience or the unprejudiced mind of God.

If we trust the words of men in place of the words of God, we will not be protected from bondage. We will slide back into it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

Isaiah 40:18

From the second commandment, it is obvious that God expressly forbids the making of any representation of Him. Any such picture or statue is automatically a lie because, other than knowing that we are in His physical image as to form and shape, everything else that He is cannot be expressed in a mere physical depiction.

John 1:18 confirms this truth: "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." God is unique; nothing compares with Him. There is no point of contact, no physical reference, to which a human being can compare Him, revealing the absolute folly of image-making. Even Jesus' declarations regarding God are never about what He looks like, but are all about His authority, position, purpose, character, and attributes.

However, knowing the importance of His purpose to our lives, should we not strive to learn what He is like? God does not want us concerned about what He looks like, for that puts the emphasis in the wrong area. He gives us enough information for us to know that He looks like a man—and that is enough.

However, He greatly desires that we know what He is. The entire Bible reveals His mind, character, attributes, offices, power, will, promises, plan, and relationship to us. The third commandment deals with these areas of study and application because they deeply affect the quality of our response to Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment


 

Malachi 1:6-7

Malachi contains a powerful theme that applies to the end-time church. God charges the priests (ministry) with giving Him disrespectful service and despising His name. The priests ask, "How?" God replies that they consider His altar contemptible, as their poor quality offerings plainly show (verse 7). God calls their actions evil!

The altar represents the service they performed as ministers in behalf of God for the people, and the "food" is the Word of God. So bad is their attitude, the priests call their responsibility to offer up the best to God "a weariness" and sneer at it (verses 12-13)! In a modern context, too much time and effort are required to prepare meaty and true sermons.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Who Is Doing the Work of God?


 

Matthew 4:4

There is a dimension to life apart from food and water, and that dimension is given life by the Word of God. God's Word provides it strength and the ability to grow. The Word of God adds an absolutely vital dimension to a person's life—if he wants to live the abundant life and eventually have eternal life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

Matthew 8:3

God's Word is obvious in this miracle. If something requires cleansing, "the washing of water by the word" must be actively present (Ephesians 5:26). God does not work apart from His Word. From the creation of the world to the present, the place of God's Word in His work has been essential: "In the beginning was the Word [the One who became Jesus Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:1-3). In addition, the phrase "God said" is found ten times in the creation account (Genesis 1).

The Bible is God's written Word, as the Father had the Word (Jesus Christ, the Spokesman) inspire and reveal it. Many professing Christian churches have pushed Scripture to the back burner, into irrelevance, taking an a la carte spiritual meal from it as if they have the authority to choose which doctrines to swallow and which to refuse. If the true church is to do a work for God, it must be established and built on God's Word rather than on tradition.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Leper (Part Three)


 

Matthew 8:8

Christ compliments the centurion's faith because it is faith in His Word. When the centurion says he is unworthy of Christ's presence, he tells Him that he believed that all that He had to do was speak and the miracle would happen. To explain his understanding of the principle, the centurion says, "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, 'Go,' and he goes" (Matthew 8:9). He recognizes the power of the spoken word because he is familiar with authority, yet he also believes that Christ's word has power and authority even over disease. In asking Jesus to heal simply by speaking, the centurion shows that he accepted the authority of Christ's word. No one can have real faith if they reject the Word of God.

It is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Many people doubt whether God's Word is sufficient. If they have a problem, they run instead to hear what the world's doctors and psychiatrists have to say. Today, many professing Christian churches do not show very much confidence in God's Word either. The centurion's "only speak a word" is not an applicable command for most churches. These days, churches use a lot of entertainment to draw people into their membership, believing that it is essential to their success. Yet, "only speak a word" is the true essence of spiritual success. Without the Word of God, the church will not maintain a solid foundation of truth and grow.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Centurion's Servant (Part Three)


 

Matthew 13:4

The seed represents the Word of God communicated in various ways: in writing, preaching, and acts of divine intervention. Understanding the gospel comes only by the power of the Holy Spirit; without this spiritual power, the hearer is susceptible to having the knowledge of God stolen by Satan, the accuser and tempter.

God's Word sometimes falls on the ears of people whose heart is calloused by sin, on whom it makes no real impression. Like seed on a hard-packed road, it is consumed before it ever has a chance to develop. Such hardened people soon lose interest in Christ's good news and continue in the ways of the world.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Sower


 

John 1:1-4

What poured out of Jesus Christ while He was here? Words—God's words, which are spirit and life (John 6:63). What are God's words, in total? The truth! The truth makes us free (John 8:32). Where does the truth lead? To eternal life! Put all of those concepts together, and we come to what John says so succinctly: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." How do we get to the Kingdom of God? By following God's words—the Light (see Psalm 119:105).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Preventing Deception


 

John 5:25

Jesus Christ's declaration is interesting because the subject directly involves a resurrection, and it is also tied to a vital process that sets the elect apart. The key words in this verse are "hear" and "dead."

We need to add a thought from Ephesians 2:1: "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Before God's calling, even though we were physically alive, we were spiritually dead because of sin. However, John 5:25 says that the dead "hear" His voice. Similarly, those who are spiritually dead cannot "hear" God's Word until they are called, made part of the elect, and enabled by God to hear and thus understand His Word clearly.

Another important factor appears in Hebrews 10:38: "The just shall live by faith." Also, Ephesians 2:8 says that we are "saved by grace through faith." Romans 10:17 adds, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Finally, in John 6:63, Jesus clinches the point: "The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life."

This linkage of truths makes vitally clear the importance of the calling and election by God. His enabling of us to "hear" is what begins to sweep away the spiritual blindness that has kept us ignorant of the purpose He is working out here below. This miracle of hearing gives rise to truly effective faith. It makes God's Word truly logical and believable, making commitment in obedience to His purpose possible.

Yet, what if a person cannot "hear" what God is saying? None of these saving elements comes to pass in life because no faith is produced!

Jesus utters another awesome, humbling truth in John 10:3-4, 6, 16:

"To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." . . . Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. . . . "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd."

He describes our calling and relationship with our Shepherd—Himself—in intimate and personal terms. "He calls them by name." He personally leads them out of their pen, a symbol of the world in which we are held captive, enslaved, and spiritually dead. Conversely, verse 6 plainly depicts the spiritual condition of the uncalled: They did not understand. God had not enabled them because He was not calling them to be a part of His purpose at that time. Thus, the miracle that opens our minds so we could "hear" was not performed on them.

Romans 8:30 adds another startling truth: "Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and who He justified, these He also glorified." Only the called are justified! Justification through repentance and the atoning blood of Jesus Christ is what permits us into the presence of God, enabling further growth to glorification in God's Kingdom!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Six)


 

John 6:44

It is the work of God to open our minds to enable us to respond in a godly way - that is, by faith - to the manifestation of Himself through His Word, the manifestation of Christ through His Word, the manifestation of God's works through His Word. He does this so that we can see the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, which means that God has given to each one of us the capacity to do what Moses did (Hebrews 11:26-27). Maybe not as well, not having to trust in exactly the same way or to the same degree, but nonetheless, we can follow the same principle.

So, even though we have a spiritual capacity by nature because of the spirit in man within us - all of mankind has this spiritual capacity - a true spiritual relationship can really be made only by those whom God calls. We have been given a gift of God that enables us to have the kind of faith that Moses and the apostle Paul had.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 3)


 

John 6:63

This is a simple yet profound statement. God's Spirit is truly more than words, but to understand this point, it is enough to know that God's words—"the words I speak to you," as Jesus says—are spirit, and they play a large role in producing the abundant life God intends we live. This quality of life is not achieved through physical things. Material things can be helpful, but without the true concepts contained within God's Word, the abundant quality will be missing because true abundance ultimately depends upon spiritual things, not material ones.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Three)


 

John 6:63

"Life" implies a quality beyond what is available to mankind by nature. This verse provides a firm basis to connect God's pure Word—with its wisdom and guidance as the foundation of a sound mind—to an abundant life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Four)


 

John 6:63

Here, the difference between God's Holy Spirit and our spirit is noted. God's Spirit (His Word, His thoughts, His way) always produces life—eternal life—the way God lives. Jesus was made a life-giving Spirit, and He is the High Priest. As High Priest, He is in charge of the administration of life (see II Corinthians 3). The difference between the two covenants is that the priesthood under the Old Covenant could not administer life, but the Priesthood under the New Covenant administers life by providing the Spirit of God to the mind of man. Demons and men cannot truthfully claim what Jesus claimed here, that His Spirit is life. Man's spirit, like the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, produces death, because it produces sin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 1)


 

John 8:31

This abiding or continuing in His Word requires that the disciple be continually fed, which, according to Ephesians 4:11-16, is why Christ gave the ministry as a gift to the church. The ministry's purpose is to help perfect the saints "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Who Is Doing the Work of God?


 

Romans 10:17

What is being heard (in the phrase "faith comes by hearing") is not specified. If we lift it from its context, without considering the rest of what Paul says, we still get a truism: Faith, or belief, follows hearing (or reading). However, the rest of the verse says, ". . . and hearing by the word of God." This relates directly to faith. The faith, the belief, that God is interested in will come from a specific message—one that has its origin in God, not the world.

Therefore, it is the message of the Bible because it is the Word of God. It is not limited merely to the gospel—or even to the New Testament—but the whole Book is part of the gospel! A number of commentators say they believe that it is more understandable if the very last word of verse 17 is translated into the word "Christ." "Word of God" is not wrong, but they feel it is more specifically correct as "Christ" because He is God.

In the context of the book of Romans, the gospel is called the "gospel of Christ," because Paul says, for instance, in Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." In other words, it is the message that He brought.

It is His message that produces the faith that will save.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wisdom of Men and Faith


 

1 Corinthians 2:10-12

God had the gospel preached to us through the medium of words. We believed them, and having been freed from enslavement to deception and spiritual ignorance by God's calling and forgiveness through Christ's blood, we now have access to a new and infinitely larger dimension of life. Beyond that, we now possess the raw material for our minds to produce the fruit of Spirit of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit


 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Christians are to be in union with Christ. This explains why it is so important to study the Bible, to meditate on it, to spend time trying to understand it, to communicate with one another with the Word and with the Father. What are we doing as we absorb God's Word? God's Word is part of His mind, His personality, His character. It is the way He thinks.

We cannot be in union with someone we do not know or who we have no relationship with. We cannot be in union with someone we never think about.

The more we think about Him, the more we carry His word in our mind. The more experiences that we have with Him, the deeper, stronger, sharper, clearer, and more real the union becomes. It all pivots around the Word of God. Jesus says, "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).

They are an invisible force and power because, if we believe His words, they begin to work in our lives because we use them. They begin to produce what God intends them to produce. As we use them, we become more one with Him because we are becoming like Him. Our lives begin to be operated by His mind expressed in His Word. The more we use them, the more we become like Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 4)


 

2 Corinthians 5:21

The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, never sinned; there was never a life so completely unleavened as His. Jesus Himself says, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). What came out of Christ's mouth were words that were uncorrupted, untainted by a carnal heart in any way. They were totally and completely spiritual and eternally pure. The Word of God, in terms of His words and His example, has been given to us to be the basis of our thinking.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

Ephesians 4:14-15

Verse 14 speaks about us no longer being children, tossed to and fro. This obviously means that a purpose of the ministry is to protect the church from false doctrine. In many respects the ministry has done fairly well in this over the past several years. We have really tried to get back to basics, back to Jude 3 and "the faith once delivered," and to re-prove the doctrines so that the members will know what they should know, be assured of them, and go forward in confidence in them.

Notice in verse 15 that it seems to say that the ministry does this—that they help people no longer be children, guarding them from false doctrine—by speaking the truth in love, and that this causes maturity, moving them from being spiritual babes to taking on the character of God and Christ. When we speak the truth, we expose error, like a light shining in a dark place. The Word of God is often compared to a light. When one turns on a light, darkness is dispelled. So truth exposes error, trickery, craftiness, and deception. It calms and settles, guides and directs. Psalm 19 and Psalm 119 show what the Word of God is and does. It is a worthwhile study to read them to become re-grounded in the effective working of God's Word.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
It Takes a Church


 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is indeed inspired, but we do not necessarily find all Scripture inspiring. There are many reasons for this, but the reality is that we tend to avoid portions of it. For some it might be the long lists of "begats"; for another it might be ancient history; and for a third, prophecy. Some parts of Scripture are more valuable to us at one time than another. However, it is certainly true that all of it is valuable according to our circumstance, and God has made it available when needed if we will tap into it. As He says, we are to live by God's every word.

In an overall sense, the Bible is about government: God's, man's, and the self's. It shows how man rejects God's government through sin; how man's rule over others is abusive; and how man needs to learn to govern himself, or nothing will ever work for the good of all. Yet, it is also a book about faith, hope, love, and deliverance from our desperate circumstances, for each of these is important in how one responds to or uses government.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part One): Introduction


 

Hebrews 4:12

God's Word is alive! This means it is eternal, always current, always essential, always true, pure, and refined. Other writings fail when measured against these qualities, and they pass into oblivion. The Word of God is a discerner, a critic, of the heart's inner workings. It is penetrating, scrutinizing our desires, and we should test our thinking against what Scripture says is good.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment (1998)


 

Hebrews 4:12-13

Depending on our motivation, God's ability to "see" into our heart can be either good or bad. He will see whether our sin was one of weakness, whether we went down fighting with all our being, or whether we just casually gave in to a self-centered impulse and deliberately proceeded along the course of sin (James 1:12-16).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Innocent Victims?


 

James 1:22-27

Only by careful study of God's Word, the ultimate standard of thought, speech, and conduct, can we know what is right and wrong. We must follow our study with honest and truthful comparison of those words with our own lives. If we read the words of God and walk away, forgetting what we saw, we deceive ourselves. None of us compares favorably with what we read in Scripture, so we must make changes. James says our religion—our practice of God's way of life—is vain if we omit either the positive instructions (visiting widows and orphans) or the negative ones (removing the spots from our character).

Staff
Overcoming (Part 1): Self-Deception


 

1 Peter 1:22-25

Notice the implications for one's mental health in this passage. Today, health experts emphasize eating organic foods grown without harsh chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Non-organically grown foods are known to be deficient in nutrients and may also contaminate the body. Modern health practitioners also emphasize cleansing the body internally through certain regimens. Peter is saying a similar thing here in a spiritual, moral, and ethical context. God's pure Word can purify the mind, freeing it from the corruption of our pre-conversion experiences. This will happen, though, only if we consistently—daily—eat it and use it as we would eat and use good foods in feeding and caring for our physical bodies.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Three)


 

2 Peter 1:16-21

Peter is probably referring here to the transfiguration recorded in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9. Peter, James, and John were eyewitnesses to that event, and it confirmed to them the prophecies made of old. He then urges us to press forward in faith knowing that the guarantee of the prophecies in God's Word is that they originated in God, not in men. The prophets spoke or wrote as God motivated them by His Holy Spirit. God's very words came through them to us. The Scriptures are not the invention of creative and imaginative men. They are not fairy tales, and we can trust them right on up to the return of Christ and our resurrection because the reputation and power of God are their surety.

John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Promises Are Sure!


 

1 John 1:7

"The light" is the truth. God's Word is truth (John 17:17). We have to walk in the light "as He is in the light." He lives in us, and we in Him. We are in union with Him.

John is telling us how we become clean: We become clean as we apply God's Word. It gets in us and begins to clarify and purify our thinking. But it does not become a real cleansing until it begins to be used. Then, it begins to clean up our bad habits and thinking processes. The thinking processes change according to our action, our behavior. If we keep doing the same things all the time, nothing changes. We are resisting. "Walking" denotes living. If we live as He lived, then we become cleansed. This is what holiness is. If we do that, then we will produce fruit—it is impossible not to!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 8)


 

Revelation 2:17

The manna that fed Israel was spread on the ground for all to see and gather (Exodus 16:4, 35). Hidden manna, symbolizing God's Word, is concealed from the rest of the world; it is special insight from God that feeds the soul and sustains spiritual life. In the ancient world, a white stone was given to one under judgment as an absolution from guilt, a black stone to the condemned. A white stone signifies innocence through forgiveness and grace to enter the Kingdom of God. The new name reflects the holy character built by the repentant overcomer. These gifts, though certainly special and wonderful, are available to every true child of God.

Staff
The Seven Churches: Pergamos


 

Revelation 10:9-10

The little book was very pleasing to John's taste. Such is the way we all approach the Bible. We love to study it and find new things (Jeremiah 15:16). It is very pleasing, even thrilling, going down, but the consequences of eating it are sometimes quite unsettling once we understand what it is telling us to do. It can be even sickening in the way that it turns our world upside-down.

This "tasting good" can also be like our first love—when we are all zealous for God's truth. Then, as we come to understand what it really means and how it affects our life, it becomes less and less sweet and more and more bitter. It makes us do things that are wrenching to our lives. This is where the bitterness comes in. Our human nature often does not want to do the things that it tells us we must do, which causes upset, pain, even personal calamity. Sometimes we have to go against a family member who is perhaps staunchly religious but of a different belief, who does not like what we are doing. It might cause the disruption of a family, the loss of a job, even persecution and death. That is how bitter following the Word of God can be. How bitter is death?

It is likely that this phrase—his stomach became bitter—means that it did not just become queasy. John threw up. He fell to the ground and threw up everything he ate. A little later, it says that the angel tells him, "John, get up. Rise." It is in the record to show us the normal reaction to God's Word, especially to the prophet or apostle who is commissioned to preach it. God is working with symbols, behaviors, and starkly contrasting things. The phraseology suggest a suddenness: John loved it as it went down, but it hit his stomach and came right back up again. As in Ezekiel (there are a number of parallels between John's experience in Revelation and the prophet's in Ezekiel), God worked with a man's behavior. God wants us to see how wrenching taking God's Word into us is to a person's life. We come out of a world that is totally opposite of His way. And when these two ways of life meet—like vinegar and soda—it causes a sometimes violent reaction!

Overall, the illustration shows that there is a great deal in God's way of life that is upsetting, especially when it comes in contact with our worldly way of life before conversion.

Then the Angel tells John, "You have to speak about this." The result of what has taken place is that now he has the inspiration, the information, and the strength to prophesy, or to preach, again. Even though it caused this great queasiness, this upset, the unsettling, sickening, painful feeling, it still filled him and gave him the strength and energy to do the work that he was being given.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 1)


 

 




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