Tom’s Midweek Greeting
Dear Crossroads Family,
I’m looking forward to worshiping with you this Sunday morning, 10:00, at the Osage Prairie Y. We’re going to have a good time, and, if you’re like me, by Sunday you’ll be in need of meeting again with the Lord and His people!
We’ll begin a series of sermons in the book of Genesis this Sunday. It’s the book of beginnings! One way to find out where we are at in life — and also how things are going to finish — is to look back and see how it all started … and why. We’ll get re-oriented and refreshed as we get back to the basics of Genesis this Sunday. I hope you’ll join us! (As always, the sermon will be posted by Saturday evening on Facebook if you’re unable to be with us Sunday.)
Going on at Crossroads
Elders Meeting, April 25
The church elders will meet following worship on Sunday, April 25. If you have a need for the elders at their meeting, please contact one of us before the 25th. Thank you for praying for the elders as they seek to provide leadership at Crossroads.
Youth Group, April 28
The next Youth Group, for those age 16+, is Wednesday, April 28, 6:30 pm, at the Rodriguez home, *contact us for location*.
Women of Joy Conference registrations due by July 7
The next Women of Joy conference, “Embrace Joy,” is scheduled for October 1-3 in Branson. Tickets and lodging for this conference go quickly, so if you’re interested in a weekend of deepening your faith, and strengthening relationships with other Christian women, please contact Heather (417-321-0303) to reserve a spot. Tickets are $109 if purchased before July 7. Lodging costs will be in addition to the conference cost.
We’re thankful to learn that Judi Edwards had successful gallbladder surgery this past week in Jefferson City. Please pray for Judi’s recovery and for Phill and Judi in their new stage of life at the Lake of the Ozarks.
More on Studying and Reading the Bible
Thank you for your interest in last Sunday’s sermon on “The Bible: God’s Plan for Life.” Below are answers to a couple of frequently asked questions on the Bible:
Q: Is the Bible without error?
A: If the Bible is the work of the Holy Spirit of God – which we believe it is – it cannot contain errors. Jesus said, “The Scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35) and, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law until all is accomplished (Matthew 5:18).
Are the copies of the Bible we have today without error? Almost!
The variants in the multitudes of handwritten copies of the New Testament (actually, there are over 5000 handwritten copies that exist) are between 3000 – 4000. That may sound like a lot, but the vast majority of those differences (variants) are meaningless. About two-thirds involve spelling differences (for example, whether John’s name in Greek has one “n” or two); and another 25% involve changes in word order (like “Jesus Christ” vs. “Christ Jesus”). Fewer than 1% of variants affect the meaning in any significant way.
Q: What does it mean to believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible? For example, consider the miracles of the Bible: Did Jesus really feed 5000 people from a few loaves of bread? Or was this just symbolic language meant to picture some other reality? Did Jesus really walk on water? Did the Red Sea really open up for the Israelites so that they crossed over on dry land?
A: Here’s what I think is a good answer to the question of a literal interpretation of the Bible. I found this in my files and can’t remember where, or who, it’s from.
We hold to a literal method of Bible interpretation. That is to say that the Scriptures should be understood…
… in the context in which they were written,
… according to the literal meaning of the text, within the normal usage of the words and phrases in the culture and time in which they were written.
So, we accept that figures of speech are used in the Bible, just as we use them today. For example, when Jesus called the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27), we understand that to be a figure of speech. When David prays in Psalm 17 that God would “hide me under the shadow of Your wings,” we understand that to be a figure of speech. God is not literally a bird.
We hold that Scripture should be understood as literal using ordinary rules of literature unless the passage clearly discloses that the information is symbolic, allegorical, or is a parable.
Generally, when the Bible uses symbolic language, it will explain what the symbol is. For example, if you’re reading the book of Revelation, pay close attention: much (most?) of the symbolism is explained. Keep this in mind, too, as you read a book like Revelation: If the Apostle John is seeing visions of future activities on earth (including, possibly, modern-day warfare), he would not have the vocabulary we use today to describe what he was seeing. He would have described those events using language available to him in his day.
What a wonderful and trustworthy book is the Bible! “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (Psalm 119:72).
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!