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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Colossians 3:16 - How to use the Bible

We saw yesterday how important it is to know what the Bible says about Jesus. This does not mean that we should not pay attention to other details it contains. But having discovered that the Bible belongs to Jesus and is mainly about him, what are we then to do? Paul answers this question for us.

The apostle states that believers are responsible for teaching and admonishing  one another. Often we assume that teaching and admonishing should be left to ministers and elders, but here Paul makes it very clear that it is an activity that all Christians must take part in on a regular basis. His requirement makes us see why we should have the word of Christ dwelling in us in order to have something to say.

In what manner are we to teach one another? Paul says here we are to teach appropriately, in all wisdom. For example, we have to apply the Bible accurately to a situation. Further, such teaching should be automatic in the sense of being ready to say truth in a spontaneous and suitable manner – we will always know what to say to one another if the word is dwelling within us richly. Mutual teaching will also be done affectionately because it is an expression of brotherly love and not a mere display of knowledge.

Paul is aware that there will be occasions when admonishment is necessary. Obviously there are degrees of rebuke and sometimes it is necessary for the elders as rulers of the church to give a reprimand. But the usual method of correction is described by Paul here – it happens through mutual admonishing of one another. In what ways should it be done? It should be done humbly, it should be done as soon as possible, it should be done sensitively, and it should be done prayerfully. If such admonishing took place when needed, it would prevent many troubles from breaking out in churches.

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