by Steve McCranie | Dec 27, 2018
The following are a few 2019 Bible Reading Plans from various sources. Make a commitment today to faithfully read the Scriptures more next year than you did this last year.
After all, the mantra “no pain, no gain” also applies to spiritual disciplines.
Genesis Through Revelation Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation with daily readings of three to four chapters. From www.heartlight.org.
52 Week Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible in a year with daily readings from the Epistles, the Law, History, Psalms, Poetry (Job, Proverbs, etc.), Prophecy, and the Gospels. From www.bible-reading.com.
Chronological Bible Reading Plan
Read through the Bible in chronological order. This is one of my favorites. From www.esv.org.
Duration: One year | Download: PDF
Historical Bible Reading Plan
The Old Testament readings are much like the order found in Israel’s Hebrew Bible and the New Testament readings are in the order in which the books were written. From www.blueletterbible.org.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan
This is the classic M’Cheyne Bible reading calendar that will let you read the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once. From www.edginet.org.
5 Day Bible Reading Program
Read through the Bible in a year with readings five days a week. From www.BibleClassMaterial.com.
And a special thanks to Ligonier ministries for the reminder.
by Steve McCranie | Sep 16, 2016
Often we find ourselves focusing on the temporal things in life and not on the eternal. We seem to devote most of our time and energy on the things that pass, things that fade away, things that are transitory at best and have an expiration date, and not on what truly matters and what lasts. Why is that?
Matthew 5:18 – “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Jesus said the law, the Word of God, is something that will outlast even heaven and earth. Then, according to Psalm 138:2, God said He honors His Word above His name. So what does all of this mean? And what are the implications for each of us? To find out more, keep listening.
The following is a study on Matthew 5:18.
To download the slides for this message, click – HERE
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by Steve McCranie | Nov 4, 2015
Some of the most compelling statements from Jesus about our life in Him and His life in us are found in John 15. In this chapter He says:
John 15:4-5 – “Abide in Me (or, to remain, to rest, to dwell, to live. Also means to spend time with, to continue steadfast, to persevere, to tarry, to remain in or with someone, to remain united with someone, being of one heart, one mind, and one will. It defines something that remains where it is, continues in a fixed state, or endures), and I (abide) in you. As the branch cannot (or, no, not, ever, an impossibility) bear fruit of itself (or, on its own), unless (condition) it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much (or, many, exceeding, abundant) fruit; for without Me (or, apart, separate, by itself) you (your name) can do (or, to make, to produce, to prepare, implies action) nothing (or, no one, none at all, not even one, not in the least).”
Note the following:
(command and invitation) “Abide in Me, and I in you.
(example from nature) As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine,
(application) neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
(clarification and identification) I am the vine, you are the branches.
(promise) He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;
(warning) for without Me you can do nothing.”
But this is only the beginning. There’s so much more to learn. Are you interested? Then keep listening.
The following is a study on John 15:4-5.
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by Steve McCranie | Oct 26, 2015
To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding.
The Lord tells us in His preamble of Proverbs that one of the purposes of this great book is for us “to know wisdom and instruction” and “to perceive the words of understanding” (Prov. 1:2). And bam!— there it is again, right before our eyes— another troubling yet vital four-letter word.
But this time the word isn’t love, but know. What does it mean to know something, to know wisdom and instruction for example? What does it mean to be in the know, to have knowledge, or to acknowledge someone or something?
Our contemporary definition of know is “to be aware of something through careful observation, inquiry, or information; to develop a relationship with someone through meeting and spending time with them, to be familiar or friendly.”
“Oh, ask me, I know the answer to that question.”
“You don’t have to remind me, I know I have to pick them up at the airport at 5:00pm.”
“I know who you are, I recognized you from your Facebook profile.”
“I know all about Abraham Lincoln, I read about him in my textbook.”
But there are several different words that are translated know in the Scriptures: in the Greek, primarily edio (1492 in Strong’s) and ginosko (1097 in Strong’s) and in the Hebrew, yada (3045 in Strong’s). Plus, the Hebrew word yada is essentially the same as the Greek word ginosko. So let’s take a few minutes and dig a bit deeper into the difference between knowing something edio or knowing someone ginosko (or yada) and why that is even important.
To Know With Your Head or Your Heart
This is the question that defines these two words and describes the different aspects of what it means to know. Is it merely head knowledge, the accumulation of facts and raw data? Or can I know someone on a more personal level, with more intimacy and passion? Can I know them by my experience with them and not just know facts about them.
In the Greek, edio (1492) is defined as “to see, to perceive with the eyes or the senses, to observe, to get or gain knowledge of something, to understand.” It’s a mental, cognitive retention of some facts. It’s head knowledge, or book learning. It’s preparing for your final exam by memorizing all the answers and then forgetting them immediately after the test is over. It’s knowing, for example, that George Washington was the first President of the United States yet that fact having absolutely no impact on your daily life. “Yeah, I know all about George Washington. I saw his picture and watched the movie. But so what? Who cares?”
But there’s another word translated know that means something altogether different. The word ginosko (1097) means “to know in a completed sense, to know everything and to know in full, to learn to know; it means to know by intimate experience or expression; to choose, to approve, to love, to embrace, to desire, to place one’s favor upon.”
One can know something by studying the facts (edio) and one can know by choosing to live the experience (ginosko) and loving every minute of it. One is dry, academic and sterile (edio) and the other is complete, life- changing and exhilarating (ginosko).
Let me give you just a few examples.
Matthew 1:25 – “And (Joseph) did not know her (ginosko – or, to know by intimate experience or expression, to choose, to love, to desire, to place one’s favor upon) till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.” This word, in both the Old and New Testament, is used as a euphemism for sexual relations between two people. “Now Adam knew (yada) Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain” (Gen. 4:1). When Adam knew Eve it was obviously more than memorizing a few facts about her, wasn’t it?
Luke 8:46 – “But Jesus said, ‘Somebody touched Me, for I perceived (ginosko – or, to know by intimate experience or expression) power going out from Me’.” Jesus knew (ginosko), not by reading a book or sitting in a classroom (edio), that something had happened to Him— He personally experienced power going out from Him to the woman with the issue of blood. He knew (ginosko), without being told, power had gone out from Him because He experienced it Himself.
“I Know My Sheep”
And then there are the incredible passages that show the choice, desire, love, approval and favor associated with Jesus knowing (ginosko) those who belong to Him. This is not cognitive or head knowledge, this is something deeper, something much more intimate. This is Jesus knowing, choosing, loving, approving, and desiring those He places His favor upon, those called the elect in Him (Rom. 8:33).
John 10:14 – “I am the good shepherd; and I know (ginosko) My sheep, and am known (ginosko) by My own.” Jesus knows (ginosko) those that belong to Him. He knows (ginosko) them intimately, He has chosen them, approved of them, embraced them, and has placed His favor upon them. And the elect, those He has chosen for His own, also know (ginosko) Him in return. They don’t just know (edio) about Jesus, they know (ginosko) Jesus by intimate experience and expression. They also choose Him, desire Him, love Him and belong to Him.
But note this: Jesus knows (edio) everything and everyone. After all, He is God and He is sovereign. But He only knows (ginosko) those who are His own, those who belong to Him, those He has chosen, His sheep.
But it gets even better.
John 10:15 – “As the Father knows (ginosko) Me, even so I know (ginosko) the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” As the Father completely and fully, with intimate experience and expression, knows (ginosko) the Son, so the Son, the third Person of the Trinity, also knows (ginosko) the Father in the same way.
“I Never Knew You”
One more before moving on.
Matthew 7:23 – “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew (ginosko) you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” This certainly doesn’t mean there was some body of knowledge in the universe or some group of people the Son of God was unaware of. It doesn’t mean there was something He had to learn, something that slipped His mind, some skill He had yet to master, or something He simply forgot. “Uh, I’m sorry. What was your name again?” No, Jesus knows (edio) all. He is God and, among other things, He is omniscient.
This use of ginosko means there are some whom He has not chosen. Some He doesn’t have an intimate, loving experience with. Some upon whom He has not placed His favor and some He does not desire or approve of. And who are these? Jesus said, “You who practice lawlessness! (Matt. 7:23). You who reject His love, mercy and sacrifice. You who are lost, unredeemed, and unrepentant of your sins.
To Know Wisdom and Instruction
So you see, when you come across the word know in the Scriptures, please understand it can have a far deeper meaning than simply being aware of something because you have carefully observed it or have memorized certain facts that pertain to it. The word you read can mean to know (edio) in a general, mental, cognitive way or it can mean something much deeper (ginosko) that involves experience, intimacy, volition, and love.
And also remember that ginosko in the Greek is essentially the same word as yada in the Hebrew. So when we read in the Proverbs: “To know (yada) wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding”— it means we are to know (yada) in a completed sense, to know everything and to know fully, to learn to know; it means to know by intimate experience or expression; to choose, to approve, to love, to embrace, to desire, to place one’s favor upon.
And what are we to know (yada) like that? Wisdom and instruction. And what do wisdom and instruction mean and how can we choose to have an intimate experience with both and to know (yada) them completely and fully as the Scriptures command?
Stay tuned. Because that’s exactly what we’ll be examining tomorrow.
- When you read the word know, do you mentally define it as edio or ginosko? Which one do you naturally default to?
- What resource do you use to discover the deeper meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words in our Bible?
- How long have you been using that resource? What do you like about it and what are its shortcomings?
- Is taking more time to study your Bible difficult for you? And, if so, do you know why? Do you put the same effort into studying God’s Word as you would, for example, a college History exam? And again, if not, do you know why?
- On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your desire for God’s Word at this point in your life? What was it three months ago? One year ago? Are you growing in your faith or standing still? And finally, what are you prepared to do about it?
Next Step Challenge
During your personal Bible reading time, commit to make it a practice of looking up each instance of the word know and mark in your Bible if it’s ginosko or edio or maybe another Greek word. You may even choose to write above them the Strong’s reference number: 1097 for ginosko and 1492 for edio.
Then look and see if you can find any other words that translate ginosko (such as comprehend, learn, realized, notice, understood, etc.) or edio (such as see, behold, perceive, etc.) to help your further understand the meaning of the Scripture you study.
by Steve McCranie | Jan 21, 2015
Finally, it was done. He’d come clean and they had him trapped in His own words. The Pharisees accused Him of ducking the issue, of speaking in generalities, of not telling the whole truth. They said, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly (or, clearly, publicly, openly)” (John 10:24).
“No more spin. Tell us who You are.”
And He did. He, clearly and for all to hear, said: “I and my Father are one.” That’s “one” in the neuter and not in the masculine. It speaks of one in substance, one in essence, one in character, and not just as one person. Jesus, in the clearest way possible, was saying that He and the Father are of one essence, one substance, are equal, are one and the same. In other words, all that God is, Jesus is, and all that Jesus is, God is.
But this really shouldn’t have surprised the Pharisees, nor anyone else for that matter. After all, Jesus had been telling them this for quite some time.
Who Are You, Jesus?
For example, from John’s gospel:
John 5:17-18 – But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
Looks like the Jews understood exactly what Jesus was saying.
John 8:24 – “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Note, the He in your Bible is italicized. That means the He was added by our translators to make the Greek more understandable in the English. No big deal, they do it all the time and they let us know when they do by italicizing the word or word phrases they added in the English. But it actually reads, “if you do not believe that I am (the I AM of the Old Testament, the God of the burning bush), you will die in your sins.” Jesus is clearly identifying Himself with the God of the Old Testament, the “I Am that I Am” (Ex. 3:14).
Confused? Well, don’t be. There’s much less ambiguity just a few verses later when Jesus basically says the same thing. Only this time, the translators got it right.
John 8:58 – Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
That’s pretty point blank and direct, isn’t it? No confusion here. Jesus clearly and publicly states that He and the God of the burning bush are one and the same. He is, and always has been, God. But there’s more.
John 14:6-7 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known (1097, to know by experience, to be intimate with, to approve, to choose, to show favor towards, to know as in an intimate relationship ) Me, you would have known (1097) My Father also; and from now on you know (1097) Him and have seen Him.”
Wait a minute. I think I’ve got the know part down, but when have I ever seen the Father? In fact, when has anyone ever seen the Father? I thought that if we ever saw the Father we would die? Isn’t that what God told Moses? (Ex. 33:20).
That was the exact question Philip had. He said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us” (John 14:8). In other words, Philip still has some issues with God and Jesus being one and the same. I mean, God the Father is in “His heavens and He does what He pleases” (Ps. 115:3) and Jesus was standing right in front of them, alive, in the flesh, in living color, and close enough to touch. I can understand some of Philip’s frustration. Can’t you?
Seen One, Seen All
When Jesus answered Philip you can almost feel the exasperation in His words. It was like He was saying, “Really, Phillip? Are you serious? Haven’t you been listening to anything I’ve been telling you?”
John 14:9-11 – Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known (1097 – to know by experience, to be intimate with, to approve, to choose, to show favor towards, to know as in an intimate relationship) Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”
Jesus was affirming for Philip, and for you and me, that when we see Jesus we have seen the Father. That’s right. Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30). So what’s the Father like? He’s like His Son. And what’s Jesus like? He’s just like His Father. He’s the exact representation, the imprint, the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). What Philip didn’t realize when He looked into eyes the of Jesus was that he was also beholding the Father, the infinite God, the Creator of the Universe, the Great “I Am” (Ex. 3:14). The God who no one could see and live (Ex. 33:20) has made Himself known to us. Why? So we can behold His glory, the “glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). I know it’s hard to understand, this idea of the Trinity, but it’s glorious to believe. Why? Because Jesus reveals to us, to fallen man, to you and me, who the Father is and what the Father’s like. And the Father’s like His Son and His Son is like His Father. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Isn’t that wonderful? Doesn’t that fill your heart with peace?
“Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9).
Three True Statements
To understand, somewhat, this idea of the Trinity, we must recognize that the following three statements that summarize what the Scriptures teach about God are all true— even if they seem illogical or contradictory to us. It’s a glorious mystery that we will never fully understand. And that’s ok. After all, God is God and we’re not. And He says “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). In other words, it’s sheer foolishness for the creation, that which was created from nothing, you and me, to try to understand all there is about the Creator. Why? Because we can’t. We don’t have the capacity to fully grasp God and everything about Him. No created thing can ever know all there is to know about the Person who created them. It’s impossible and ridiculous to even try. Why? Because the Creator creates something, by definition, less than Himself. The One creating doesn’t duplicate Himself and create another Creator. No, He simply creates something less than Himself— you and me and the universe we live in. And we cannot fully grasp all there is to know about God the Creator because we are, by our very creation, less than God. The best we can hope for, as creations, is for God, our Creator, to choose to reveal some of what He is like to us. And He has. And when we struggle to make sense of what He has revealed to us about Himself, we must simply believe what our great God and Creator reveals to us about Himself as truth. We must accept what He says by faith. I mean, to not believe what the Creator reveals about Himself is to think we know more about the Creator than the Creator knows about Himself. And how stupid is that?
So here are the three seemingly contradictory, yet absolutely true, statements about God as revealed in the Scriptures. Your task is to either believe them or not. It’s your call, your choice. Your future.
God is three persons.
Each person is fully God.
There is one God.
Now read that again slowly and let the magnitude of this Biblical teaching sink in.
God is revealed to us in Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We’ve got that and we see it confirmed all through Scripture such as at the baptisms of Jesus when all Three Persons of the Godhead, the Trinity, made an appearance.
We also know the Bible teaches us there is only one God. Just one. Not many, not multiple, not a handful, not even three— just one. After all, the most familiar passage of the Old Testament is Deuteronomy 6:4-5 which states: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Got it? There is one God, and only one.
But some struggle with the second statement: Each person is fully God, and I’m not sure why. Over and over again the Bible confirms for us, by their attributes, characteristics and deeds, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are indeed God. The attributes of God: omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, eternal, infinitely wise, perfectly holy, infinitely loving, pure, etc. are all true of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. After all, only God can do the things God can do.
Which brings us back to the last comment Jesus spoke to Philip. Remember? He said, if you can’t believe My words, then “believe me for the sake of the works themselves” (John 14:11). In effect, let My works point to Who I really am. Let what I do speak louder than what I say. If I do only what God can do then draw the logical conclusion about who I am and Who sent Me. Think. After all, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and looks like a duck… well, it’s no great leap of faith to believe it is a duck.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Of course. But the Jews in Jesus’ day didn’t. In fact, they rejected the proof He offered and condemned themselves by doing so— just like so many do today, both in and out of the church. When Jesus boldly and confidently asserted that “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30)— well, the war started. And it still rages today.
Let me give you some homework before we tackle the claim of Jesus to believe in His works. It’s found in Colossians 1:15-17 and gives the clearest statement in all Scripture, at least for me, that Jesus is God.
He (Jesus) is the image (or, exact representation, the imprint, likeness, icon) of the invisible God (or, that which cannot be seen by the physical eye), the firstborn (or, preeminent) over all creation (or, that which is formed, created). For by (or, through) Him (Jesus) all things (or, the whole, in totality, all without exception, the entire, absolutely all, each and every one) were created (or, to produce from nothing) that are in (or, at, with the primary idea of rest) heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Couple of Questions
What does it mean that Jesus is the image of the invisible God?
What does it mean to be firstborn?
Does this mean Jesus was the One who created all things in Genesis?
What are “thrones or dominions or principalities or powers”?
What does it mean “all things were created for Him”?
What is this verse actually saying?
Chew on these for a couple of days and we’ll pick up here next time.