Friday, May 20, 2016
Read Your Letters
1 THESSALONIANS 5:27 HCSB 27 I charge you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the brothers.
The Bible contains both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The New Testament contains the four Gospels (Matthew through John), the book of Acts, the Letters to the Church (Romans through Jude) and the book of Revelation.
All the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and as such is an important message to us today. However, not until the resurrection of Jesus Christ did the New Covenant start, which changed everything.
God never changes, but His covenants (and thus His way of dealing with people) did change. There was an Old Covenant God had with the people of Israel. Now there is a New Covenant. And the New is not just a continuation or amplification of the Old, but is radically different.
The New Covenant did not begin until after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So everything said and done before the resurrection of Jesus was before the New Covenant started. (Even the four Gospels, although placed in the New Testament section of the Bible, are primarily a record of Jesus' ministry before His death, which means they mostly happened before the New Covenant started.)
God is now dealing with people based on the New Covenant. If we go back and read God's message to people who lived under the Old Covenant we cannot expect all that was said to them to apply exactly to us today.
You can learn something reading a letter written to someone else, but it is not nearly as instructive as reading a letter written directly to you.
So my top recommendation for Bible reading, especially for new believers, is to read the Letters to the Church. (Epistles is another word for Letters.) There are 21 Letters with 121 chapters. So by reading just one chapter each day, you can read all the New Testament Letters three times in a year.
If you are considering reading the Bible, this is an excellent way to start. If you are a new Christian, I strongly recommend that you start reading the Bible using this plan.
Although everyone should read the entire Bible, it is not best for you to do that until you are solidly grounded in the truths of the New Covenant, which are revealed in the Letters to the Church.
When a new Christian starts reading the whole Bible from the beginning by starting with the Old Testament, without having a clear understanding of what Jesus has provided for us with the New Covenant, confusion is likely to result.
2 CORINTHIANS 3:14-15 HCSB 14 But their minds were closed. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ. 15 However, to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts,
Reading the Old Covenant, also called the books of Moses -- without the knowledge of the New Covenant -- is like trying to see something with a veil over your eyes. You see glimpses of truth, but you can't clearly see the whole picture.
JOHN 1:17 HCSB 17 for although the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Once a believer has a clear understanding of God's message to the Body of Christ, the Church, then we can read the rest of the Bible without as much chance of getting confused.
Some people recommend that a new Christian start their Bible reading with the Gospel of John. That is a good way to get acquainted with Jesus. But it still can cause confusion for someone who does not clearly understand what Jesus accomplished for them through His death and resurrection.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:14,17 HCSB 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no New Covenant, and we are all still lost in sin.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ, and thus the start of the New Covenant is a great dividing line in history. What Jesus accomplished for us changed everything.
So read your letters and find out what Jesus accomplished and what God has said directly to you!
SAY THIS: I will spend more time reading the Letters God sent to me.
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