Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 3: Lección 8 ” Los dos árboles “

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 2:8–9, 16–17, 21–23, 3:1–6; 1 Juan 2:16.

Dios creó al primer hombre y a la primera mujer: Adán y Eva. Los colocó en un hermoso jardín lleno de hermosas plantas y árboles. Dios también plantó en medio del jardín dos árboles que tenían un significado especial, y le dio a Adán instrucciones específicas sobre ellos. El primero, era el árbol de la vida y el segundo, el árbol del conocimiento del bien y del mal. Dios le dijo a Adán que podía comer del árbol de la vida, pero que no debía comer del árbol del conocimiento del bien y del mal porque el día que comiera de él, moriría. Las instrucciones sobre los árboles y las consecuencias de la desobediencia fueron claramente establecidas. Dios le dio a la humanidad libre albedrío para elegir, pero Él quiere que elijamos hacer lo que Él dice. Los dos árboles fueron utilizados para probar la obediencia de la humanidad a Dios.


  • Recuerde a sus hijos que estos eran árboles reales en un jardín real, aunque simbolizaban elegir el camino que conduce a la vida o el camino que conduce a la muerte.
  • Discuta las implicaciones del camino del “conocimiento del bien y del mal” ¿Cómo vemos que se manejan “el bien y el mal” en nuestra sociedad?
  • Examine la excusa de Eva para desobedecer a Dios. Tenga en cuenta cómo la lujuria de los ojos y el orgullo de la vida jugaron un papel en su decisión.
  • Dios a menudo prueba a su pueblo con situaciones difíciles. Pregunte a sus hijos por qué piensan que Dios hace esto. Asegúrese de enseñarles que la toma de decisiones construye el carácter.
  • Mediten sobre los dos árboles: Que siempre hay dos opciones, el camino de Dios y el camino errado. Note que ambos árboles se veían bien, pero solo uno era bueno.

Memorizar y revisar:

Deuteronomio 30:19–20 “A los cielos y a la tierra llamo por testigos hoy contra vosotros, que os he puesto delante la vida y la muerte, la bendición y la maldición; escoge, pues, la vida, para que vivas tú y tu descendencia; amando al Eterno tu Dios, atendiendo a su voz, y siguiéndole a él; porque él es vida para ti, y prolongación de tus días… “.

Living Education Weekly — October 22, 2020

Every week, we send out an email newsletter highlighting the latest Living Education posts.

Second Thoughts: On Interpretation

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Ed Charlotte 2020

Estimated reading time: 3 min.

Mr. Peter Nathan began the forum by asking, “What’s your worldview?” Inspired by Dr. Meredith’s article Satan’s Alternative Universe, Mr. Nathan created a presentation that broke down what an alternative universe is—a worldview.

Your worldview shapes your vision—like glasses. It is your perception of reality—literally, “the way you interpret the world.” Interpretation occurs every day in ways we take for granted. We interpret people’s body language. We examine our own conflicted feelings to discover why we feel so hurt or happy. If we apply meaning to anything, we’re using interpretation.

Dr. Meredith wrote about the countless alternative interpretations we encounter in the world. But these different worldviews don’t simply involve things we can see—they involve perspectives we can’t see.

A college student combats alternative worldviews regularly. We have to manage ourselves around the various filters (or lack thereof) of our peers, and we are, essentially, every professor’s captive audience in the classroom. We are solidifying our interpretations of reality while being fed the worldviews of those around us. How do students navigate tests, essays, projects, and discussions that require them to regurgitate their professors’ views? 

Interpreting the Interpretations

Before coming to Living Education, I attended a State University of New York. I had two professors who strongly contended that gender is a societal constraint. One professor insisted that the existence of hermaphroditic, intersex genetics prove, beyond a doubt, that gender is a continuous spectrum. The other professor taught literature, and she vehemently said that people who believe there are only male and female genders constantly oversimplify things into extremes and refuse to see any complexity in life.  

I could have disproved these teachers’ incorrect perceptions—if they would have listened to God’s interpretation of reality. But I had to sit in class respectfully and swallow my frustration—and I couldn’t ignore their worldview. I really gained a better understanding of how and why they see the world as they do. 

Ignoring or avoiding the various worldviews we face is not helpful; we need to understand others’ interpretations to better serve them now and later. But with that said, I want to achieve that balance of seeing the perspectives of others and understanding where they come from while intensely analyzing their worldview for truths and flaws—interpreting their interpretation.  

Have you ever thought about the phrase, “That’s open to interpretation”? Can you imagine Christ ever saying that? Or would He respond with the right interpretation? What are our thoughts when we hear somebody use that phrase?

Is Anything in Life “Open to Interpretation”?

Mr. Nathan pointed out that God provides “a perspective for interpreting every subject matter.” 2 Peter 1:20 says that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation….” Yes, we are human, so we all see the world through different eyes, but isn’t there a correct interpretation for which we all strive? This applies not only to interpreting the Bible, but also to analyzing the worldviews of our friends, family members, and college professors.

If we don’t actively analyze the interpretations around us, and if we don’t take the time to learn God’s interpretation of things, we risk making the alternative universes of the world our own. It’s worth considering how we interpret the world—and the worldviews—around us.

Juliette McNair headshot

Juliette McNair is a student at Living Education Charlotte. She works in the Editorial Department transcribing sermons and proofreading transcripts. She also assists Living Education by writing Second Thoughts essays and Forum/Assembly Summaries for the website. Juliette recently graduated from SUNY Cobleskill in Upstate New York with an A.A.S in Horticulture, a B.T in Plant Science, and a minor in English with a writing focus. She loves playing soccer on the beach, getting up early to watch the sunrise, and playing piano with the lights out.

Second Thoughts: On Distractions and Responsibility

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education 2020

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this week’s Forum, Mr. Jonathan Bueno addressed the danger of distractions.

The relevance of this topic is self-evident—especially to students. We are constantly bombarded with competitors for our attention, energy, and time. Every Sabbath, as we sit and listen to the messages, we are inspired to dive into God’s word, proving for ourselves what He reveals. We promise ourselves that, this week, we will study the Bible more. We determine to work harder on our homework, and we commit to going to bed earlier so we can feel like normal human beings at our 8:30 a.m. class. 

And then comes Sunday morning. Our Instagram feed is exploding. We’re continuing our streak on Snapchat, and YouTube just notified us about this movie we’ve wanted to see—one three-minute trailer leads to a downward spiral into popular reactions to that trailer, a random sketch comedy, and irrelevant tutorials. Two hours later, we remember that we scheduled a coffee date with a friend. There are group messages to check, TikToks to watch and share, and social events to attend. Then, every evening, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and Netflix call to us from the living room—or any room for that matter, via the apps downloaded on our iPhones.

These are just some of the distractions competing with our goal to study the Bible, read our textbook, and finish the assignments coming due. So, we get overwhelmed. It seems like we inevitably have to stay up until all hours of the night to study for exams. Some of us manage to pull all-nighters, working on that term paper. Others just give up and give in to the many distractions, all too willing to fill that void.

The Sickness or the Symptom?

It may seem reasonable to blame our lack of time on these various distractions. But in reality, distractions are not the cause of avoiding the important things in life. More often than not, they’re the result.

Christ tells us of a man who heard the truth—perhaps he was sitting in church, completely inspired, promising himself that he would do better this week—but the thorns that are the distractions of our world caused him to stop moving forward. In Matthew 13:22-23, we read, “the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” This man understands what he is hearing; he gets it—that is, until he turns away. Those distractions only choke us after we avoid the important things. The cares of this world follow us. It is only when we turn toward them that they lead us.

Matthew 7:13-14 exhorts, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

When we avoid the hard things, the things we know we need to do, we turn from the narrow gate and allow distractions to lead us through the wide. We cannot walk through the narrow gate by accident—it takes strategizing and commitment. This was the thrust of Mr. Bueno’s message: we must combat our distractions. But perhaps we must also contend with our distractibility.

“Hard choices, easy life.”

The wide gate is the easy way—yet it doesn’t lead to an easy life. Jerzy Gregorek, former Olympic champion and winner of four World Weightlifting Competitions, lives by the mantra “Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.” If we choose to make small, difficult decisions on a daily basis, if we choose to not avoid important tasks, and if we choose to handle conflict when it arises, we take responsibility for our proclivity for distraction—and our lives, while by no means easy, will be easier.

Distractions can lead us away from our opportunity to learn and become established in God’s truth. But they only lead us away after we turn toward them. The responsibility is on us to make time for the important things of life, so that distractions cannot lead us away from the narrow gate.

Juliette McNair headshot

Juliette McNair is a student at Living Education Charlotte. She works in the Editorial Department transcribing sermons and proofreading transcripts. She also assists Living Education by writing Second Thoughts essays and Forum/Assembly Summaries for the website. Juliette recently graduated from SUNY Cobleskill in Upstate New York with an A.A.S in Horticulture, a B.T in Plant Science, and a minor in English with a writing focus. She loves playing soccer on the beach, getting up early to watch the sunrise, and playing piano with the lights out.

Assembly Summary: “You Don’t Know”

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, LivingEd-Charlotte 2020

Mr. Gaylyn Bonjour opened his session with a piece of advice: “You don’t know what people need, what they require, and how to help them…You don’t know…” On our own, we struggle to perceive other people’s needs and are often blind to our responsibilities toward them. We have little control over the events that will occur in our lives—we can’t even control how they shape us. Yet, Mr. Bonjour explained, there is purpose in this reality of life: to learn and gain understanding. For young people, striving to live up to God’s standards—in times of our lives when we just don’t know—Mr. Bonjour gave several solid principles to apply. 

The first is, find an older person at your work, and take care of them—do the heavy-lifting.

While Mr. Bonjour was specifically referring to a job he had in the past, the principle carries over for young people in the church. If we can learn from the experiences of older men and women, be it in a practical working capacity or regarding spiritual issues, we save time. We fast-track ourselves in our development, and we learn the lessons without the pain that may have accompanied our teacher.  

A second principle is be a multi-purpose tool.

The speaker compared a 3 mm Allen wrench to a pocket-knife that contained several different tools. Both tools have different utility—but the Allen wrench’s usefulness is extremely narrow. It can accomplish one thing. Mr. Bonjour encouraged us to be the pocket-knife. Pick up skills, however small they are, to become valuable to employers, to our family, and to the church.  

Mr. Bonjour read Proverbs 3:5-6, “Lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Not knowing what’s going to happen or how to fulfill each other’s needs is just the way life works. God uses this reality to teach us, to challenge us, and to bring us to change. 

This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts

Digging Deeper: In Awe of Thy Word

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty of Theology, Living Education

Estimated Reading Time: 7 min., 34 sec.

Did you know that when you read the Bible with due respect and attention you will experience a sense of awe about this supernatural book?

We ended the last Digging Deeper with a verse admonishing us to love God’s word. Along with love will come a sense of awe. Many today treat the Bible like any other book. Some critics consider it merely a work of men framed by the evolution of religion. Some do not even treat their printed copy with due respect, instead, using it in a stack of books to raise something on one’s desk, or as a doorstop. Others cast it about recklessly, even laying it on the floor.

By contrast, others would not even think of doing such a thing due to their awe for the word of God. The verse we will study in this Digging Deeper may be part of the reason for such devout respect. This will be the last article of our recent trilogy including “The Book Unlike Any Other” and “Every Word of God is Pure.”

The heart that stands in awe

Our focus will be on this verse: “Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word”  (Psalm 119:161 KJV). 

In the history of Bible printing through the centuries, humorous mistakes have occurred that were later recognized and corrected. This is one of them. “Princes” was mistakenly printed as “Printers” giving us the “Printers Bible.”

Mark Cambron, in his Mastering the Bible, lists others that have raised an eyebrow through the years: “We have the ‘Adulterous Bible’, where in the seventh commandment, the word ‘not’ is omitted…The word ‘murderers’ was printed for ‘murmurers’, causing us to have the ‘Murderers Bible’…In Luke 14:26 we have the word ‘wife’ used instead of ‘life’, thus we have the ‘Wife-Hater Bible’…There are these mistakes in printing. No one can blame God for that. God says what He means, and means what He says” (Bible Analyzer 

Our focus text records a bold statement from a true worshiper who has been persecuted for no good reason. Perhaps his tormentors attempted to pressure him to go contrary to God’s word. Instead, he stood firm because of his awe for what God has said. He could have given in to political pressure and threats to submit to the princes instead of to the word of the Almighty.

Long before the New Testament was composed, this person understood the principle of Acts 5:29: “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible elaborates this verse: “We ought to obey God rather than men, and to make sure of God’s favour, though we throw ourselves under the frowns of all the world, Luke 12:4, Luke 12:5. The heart that stands in awe of God’s word is armed against the temptations that arise from persecution” (e-Sword 12.1). 

This verse from the Book of Psalms was quoted by Jesus to explain the vitriol He experienced from some of the Jewish rulers during His trials. Notice John 15:25 (KJV) “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” This verse was one of scores of Old Testament Messianic prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming. Many were fulfilled during His last week before His death and resurrection including several on the day of His death. Many others await fulfillment at His Second Coming. 

The meaning of “awe”

To stand in awe is defined by Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 1913 as “to fear greatly; to reverence profoundly” (Bible Analyzer It also defines it as “reverential fear, or solemn wonder; profound reverence.” The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary explains this healthy respect: “Not slavish, but reverential fear. It was accompanied with faith and hope (Psalm 119:120; Psalm 119:147), such as Josiah felt, his ‘heart being tender, so that he humbled himself before the Lord,’ when the words of God’s book of promises and threatenings were read to him (2 Kings 22:10-11; 2 Kings 22:19). He who fears God’s Word need not fear the word of man (Isaiah 8:12-13; Matthew 10:28; 1 Peter 3:14-15; Luke 12:5).” 

The Pulpit Commentary edited by Joseph S. Exell and Henry Donald Maurice Spence-Jones characterizes this awe: 

Here we have THE TRUE DREAD [AWE]. (Ver. 161) 1. Not the displeasure or the opposition of man; though this may be incurred without cause, and we may feel that the suspicion, or the ill feeling, or the attack is altogether wanton and unprovoked. 2. But the displeasure of God. Undisturbed by human ill will or intrigue, we ‘stand in awe’ of Divine disapproval; we shrink from thinking the thought, cherishing the feeling, taking the course, which Christ would condemn; we are afraid of leaving undone or unattempted that to which he is calling us with his sovereign voice.  (Bible Analyzer

The word awe appears three times in our King James Version of the Bible. The two other references are below. Notice that the entire earth is admonished to stand in awe of God’s word. Doing so will keep us from sinning.

Psalm 4:4 

Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. 

Psalm 33:8 

Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 

A tool to overcome sin

The way to combat and overcome sin is to stand in awe of and meditate upon the word of God. It reveals to us the way of blessing and hope for a better world. Our present world is corrupted by sin. By and large, it does not stand in awe of God’s word. At times, its rulers try to force citizens to yield to their sinful demands. Our key verse reveals one such person who would not buckle. This is a lesson for all of us as we face increasingly dangerous conditions in these very end times. 

The book Handfuls On Purpose, Vol. 7 by James Smith and Robert Lee gives this commentary on our key verse: “Stop, before you go any further in sinful unbelief, and consider where, and what you are. Stand in awe at the thought of disobeying God’s Word (Psalm 119:161). Stand in awe at the thought of the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). Stand in awe at the thought of opportunities lost, the uncertainty of life, and the certainty of judgment. Stand in awe as you think of the infinite love and mercy of God towards sinners, in the sufferings and death of His Son. Stand in awe, lest ye should resist the gracious stirrings of His Holy Spirit and die in your sin” (Bible Analyzer 

Psalm 119 provides us much understanding about the different terms for God’s word and what should be our approach to it. Joseph S. Exell’s Biblical Illustrator explains how our primary verse reveals a rare experience as amplified by nearby verses: 

  1. Reverence for God’s Word. The meaning of this, perhaps, is, I have a greater dread of violating Thy law than I have of all the persecuting powers of princes or potentates. This is right, this is sublimely noble.
  2. Delight in God’s Word (verse 162).
  3. Loyalty to God’s Word (verse 163).
  4. Gratitude for God’s Word (verse 164). (Homilist.) (e-Sword 12.1)

It must be genuine

Reverence for God’s word will naturally produce delight, loyalty, and gratitude that God has preserved His Holy Bible for us – therefore, do we love it (Psalm 119:140). One of the outstanding cross-references for our focus text is “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word”  (Isaiah 66:2KJV). 

Godly awe moves one to tremble at God’s word. How many are so moved by God’s Holy Bible today that they tremble at it? This feeling cannot be contrived but must be a genuine sense of the seriousness of our charge to serve God and Him alone. Standing in awe of His word will guide us to do just that. 

Kenneth Frank headshot

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA, and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Digging Deeper: Every Word of God is Pure

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education

Estimated Reading Time: 7 min., 41 sec.

Did you know that God says every one of His words is pure?

Some question the Bible today, considering it only another one of many religious books that humans have produced over the millennia. They say it may have some truths in it but it also contains much to be discarded as unscientific, antiquated, or irrelevant. Critics and doubters assert that various myths and inaccuracies have crept into it. What is a Christian to make of all of this? Does the Bible attest to its purity? What internal evidence affirms the accuracy and dependability of God’s word? We tackle this fundamental issue in this edition of Digging Deeper.

Our main text is: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him”  (Proverbs 30:5 KJV). God affirms that every word of His is pure. At this point, we will zoom in on the original word translated here as “pure.” The Hebrew word is tsawraf. This word relates to the smelting of precious metals. It occurs 33 times in the Hebrew Bible and is translated by different words depending on the context. The NET Bible explains its use in this verse: “The text here uses an implied comparison (a figure of speech known as hypocatastasis): It compares the perfection of every word from God with some precious metal that has been refined and purified (e.g., Psalm 12:6). The point is that God’s word is trustworthy; it has no defects and flaws, nothing false or misleading. The second half of the verse explains the significance of this point – it is safe to trust the LORD” (e-Sword 12.1). God’s words have passed through a spiritual furnace to remove all impurities, leaving behind only the purest elements.

The ESV Study Bible elaborates on this verse: “…the implication is that God’s words are a proven foundation for one’s life. The proverb’s emphasis on every ‘word’ (Hb. ’imrah) underscores the truthfulness, trustworthiness, and reliability of the Bible, not just in its overall message but also of every detail. This verse supplies support for the doctrine of the ‘plenary’ (full, complete) inspiration of Scripture, extending even to ‘every word'” (Tecarta Bible App). Ethelbert Bullinger in his Companion Bible informs us that the Hebrew for “word” (imrah) occurs only here in the Book of Proverbs; additionally, the Hebrew word for “God” (Eloah) as a title for God is used only here in Proverbs (e-Sword 12.1). Standing alone in the entire Book of Proverbs, these words stress the importance of this admonition. 

Not only are we assured God’s word is refined and purified, but it also asserts that it has been purified numerous times: “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6 KJV). The number seven symbolizes completion, perfection, and frequency. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains its meaning: “The idea here would seem to be that the process was repeated until the silver became entirely pure. The sense is, that the words of the Lord are ‘perfectly pure.’ There is no admixture of falsehood in his statements; there is no deception in his promises; there is no flattery in what he says. This was the ground of confidence on the part of the psalmist – that while men (even those who professed to be good men) so failed that no reliance could be placed on their statements, the most perfect trust could be reposed on all the statements of God” (e-Sword 12.1). As a result, we can fully rely on them as John Gill explains in his Exposition of the Bible: “The Scriptures are the words of God; and they are pure and holy, free from all human mixtures, and from all fraud and deceit; they are the Scriptures of truth. The promises are the words of God, and they are firm and stable, and always to be depended on, and are ever fulfilled, being yea and amen in Christ Jesus” (Ibid.).

Various explanations have been offered through the years about these seven stages of purification. The Common Man’s Reference Bible has one such explanation: “The earthly purification process of the words of God involved seven languages: Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Old Syriac, Old Latin, Old German, and the King’s English”. Other authors have suggested seven historic stages of the English Bible leading to the King James Version. Whichever it was, we can be sure God has safely guarded His word through the centuries. Let’s notice these cross-references, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him”  (2 Samuel  22:31 KJV). Not only is it tried (tested, proven), it is also settled: “Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven”  (Psalm 119:89 KJV). We do not have to be concerned about whether the Bible contains all that God intended us to have. Additionally, notice that “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:160 KJV). Some of the greatest attacks today are leveled against the first 11 chapters of Genesis. This verse tells us that everything in it, starting with Genesis, is trustworthy.   

Not only are we assured God has purified his word, but notice this promise: “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” (Psalm 12:7 KJV). Timothy Morton in his book Which Translation Should You Trust? provides this conclusion: “That God has promised to preserve His word should be obvious to the most casual reader of the Bible. He not only loved man enough to give him His word in the first place, but He also promised to keep it pure, somewhere, for every generation” (Bible Analyzer Not only did God originally inspire the very words of Scripture but then He preserved this word through the millennia so that we have a trustworthy Holy Book today even though we depend on translations. The very Bibles we hold and read are God’s witness to us. We stake our eternal lives on this Book. Do you know where that preserved word is? Have you demonstrated to your satisfaction that the Holy Bible is His word? If you haven’t already done so, you need to do the work to settle this in your mind once and for all.

Bible scholars and commentators through the centuries have realized their limitations in attempting to expound the pure word of God. We can admire their devotion and diligent effort working many years to provide Bible study resources. They share with us many things that the average Bible reader might miss. We learn from them as did the Ethiopian Eunuch from Philip. Nonetheless, those who have studied it over many years recognize that there is so much more they cannot fully fathom. There are limitless levels of understanding of the richness of Scripture. Notice this comment from Joseph Benson in his Commentary on the Old and New Testaments: “You must not expect the full knowledge of divine mysteries from me, nor from any man, but from the word of God, which is a certain rule, both for your faith and practice, because every part of it is holy, and true, and good, and there is not the least mixture of falsehood or folly in it, as there is in all the words and writings of men” (e-Sword 12.1). 

Purifying God’s word seven times has produced a perfect witness. Notice: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple”  (Psalm 19:7 KJV). Lest we should be tempted to think that His word may have disappeared, notice: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8 KJV). Verses like those we have read should assure us that we can depend on this Book and live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4). Notice these words from our Savior: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35 KJV). We need to know where these words are. Once we do, we are thus admonished: “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it” (Psalm 119:140 KJV). 

Kenneth Frank headshot

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA, and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Student Answers – Why do you Pray?

We asked students the question “Why do you pray?” in our course Tools for Christian Growth: Prayer. Here are the a few of their reasons:

“To keep my mind on the things of God:  praising, praying, and thanking Him throughout the day (Col. 3:1-4; I Thess. 5:16-18).  These passages and a few others help me to have a good mindset and attitude throughout the day.” –SK

“I pray 3 times a day and I used to wonder if prayer worked. Then one day it dawned on me that my life was changing for the better. All the things, well most, had happened already. It just proved to me that God is listening and in His time, not mine, He answered my prayers. I feel Father is working in my life day by day. I am a much better person today than I was a few years ago, and I feel God is working on preparing me for His family.” –CVB

“We are in great times of stress and pain, yet the promises of God’s intervention of peace are clearly in His Bible and are stated over and over. Christ is returning and He has shown His saints those who know Him the clear picture we will be a part of a great work/Government coming to this earth…

– A.S.W.

“We are in great times of stress and pain, yet the promises of God’s intervention of peace are clearly in His Bible and are stated over and over. Christ is returning and He has shown His saints those who know Him the clear picture we will be a part of a great work/Government coming to this earth.  

How do we know someone? We call them, we talk, we share our experiences, our dreams and pain. Christ commissioned men to pass on His thoughts to those who would carry on this end time work.  Now He has asked us to share our thoughts and plans with Him. To be in His family. So many don’t have a good example of a good Father figure. They could have never really known them. Or had an abusive Dad.That can be a stumbling block to some. We are asked to get to know and be in the presence of Our Dear Father through prayer. The God family doesn’t ask much of us. This time on our knees is such a precious tool/gift that He has given us. When we have a bible study and read His words it is easier to carry on the conversation. Put your name in the verses. This is written to us.    

There is a time we are looking forward to. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there:They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:3-5  The simple answer of why I pray, is to be in His marvelous Kingdom that He has promised is coming Soon.” –ASW

“One major reason I pray to God is for His divine protection; not only for myself, but for my husband, son and others. Because our world is so violent and there are people who love to take advantage of others, and accidents do happen, I pray and rely on God’s protection. And, He has! (Psalm 91)” –LRM

“Strength to do God’s will when it humanly feels impossible to do – Matthew 17:20” – J. W.

“We pray to God to develop a relationship with Him. God already knows what we need before we ask Him (Matt 6:8). So He wants us to tell Him our needs because that is part of how we build a relationship with Him. He describes Himself as our Father. As most human fathers want a relationship with their children beyond merely transacting physical needs, so God wants a relationship with us. And that relationship provides us with a lot of emotional comfort as well– His special peace is accessible as we seek Him in prayer (Phil 4:6-7).” -SRS

“I pray to draw closer to God for a deeper, more personal relationship with Him because as I do so, He seems more real to me (James 4:8). My daily contact with God through prayer is the most honest relationship in my life because He already knows the thoughts and intents of my heart and my mind, for I am laid bare to Him (Hebrews 4:12-13). There is so much comfort in knowing that nothing can be hidden from Him and so I willingly and gratefully confess and repent of my sins, share my victories and thank Him for all of my many daily blessings.” -JS

Let us know your reasons by visiting our latest course “Tools for Christian Growth: Prayer” 

Digging Deeper: The Book Unlike Any Other

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education

Estimated Reading Time: 7 min., 44 sec.

Did you know that there is one book in human history that is unlike any other?

Innumerable books have been written through the millennia of humankind’s existence. Solomon commented on this even in his time of the 900s B.C.: “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end“(Ecclesiastes 12:12 KJV). It is impossible to imagine how many more books have been written since his time. I remember hearing years ago that another book about the American Civil War is released every day! These volumes describe only one event of U.S. history. Uncountable books have been written on all aspects of human knowledge. However, this Digging Deeper will reveal the book unlike any other.

That incomparable book is the Holy Bible. You may own one or several copies of this volume. To this day, it still is one of the most purchased books every year. What is it about this book that draws people to it, even if they don’t read it? Many think of owning one as a kind of good luck charm. People know there is something special about it, even if they do not know much about what is inside. Look on the spine of your Bible. Commonly, it is called the Holy Bible (at least on older Bibles). What does the word bible mean in common usage? Additionally, why is this particular book called holy? There is good reason why it is thus entitled. 

The word bible simply means “book.” In common usage, the word bible is used in titles of handbooks or manuals, such as for hunters or fishermen. However, the word bible in the titles of these books is not preceded by the word holy. We need to explore these two words in greater depth to understand why the Scriptures are called the Holy Bible. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) in its article “The Bible” provides us the derivation of our word bible: “The word ‘Bible’ is the equivalent of the Greek word biblia (diminutive from bı́blos, the inner bark of the papyrus), meaning originally ‘books'” (e-Sword 12.1). 

Richard Watson’s Biblical and Theological Dictionary in its article “Bible” explains the origin of our word bible further: “The word Bible comes from the Greek Βιβλος, or Βιβλιον, and is used to denote any book; but is emphatically applied to the book of inspired Scripture, which is ‘the book’ as being superior in excellence to all other books. Βιβλιον again comes from Βιβλος, the Egyptian reed, from which the ancient paper was procured” (Bible Analyzer The word has a humble origin, descending from the papyrus plant that grows in marshy areas. Reeds of this plant were cut, sliced, dried, and pounded at right angles onto another piece of papyrus to make a sheet – a sheet of paper. Our word paper descends from papyrus

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia provides further development of the term: “Jerome’s name for the Bible (4th century) was ‘the Divine Library’ (Bibliotheca Divina). Afterward came an important change from plural to singular meaning. ‘In process of time this name, with many others of Greek origin, passed into the vocabulary of the western church; and in the 13th century, by a happy solecism, the neuter plural came to be regarded as a feminine singular, and ‘’The Books’ became by common consent ‘The Book'(biblia, singular), in which form the word was passed into the languages of modern Europe’ (Westcott, Bible in the Church, 5). Its earliest occurrences in English are in Piers Plowman, Chaucer and Wycliffe” (e-Sword 12.1).  This constructive but unusual occurrence seems to have been providential since “The Books” became “The Book!” The ISBE continues: “This word designates the collection of the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament recognized and in use in the Christian churches. Different religions (such as the Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist, Mohammedan) have their collections of sacred writings, sometimes spoken of as their ‘Bibles.’ The Jews acknowledge only the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Christians add the writings contained in the New Testament” (Ibid.). 

Christians refer to the Sacred Scriptures as the Holy Bible. Let us now focus on the word holyWebster’s 1828 Dictionary in its article “Holy” provides this second definition in its list: “Hallowed; consecrated or set apart to a sacred use, or to the service or worship of God; a sense frequent in Scripture; as the holy sabbath; holy oil; holy vessels; a holy nation; the holy temple; a holy priesthood” (e-Sword 12.1). Therefore, we may conclude that the Holy Bible is a volume inspired by God as hallowed, consecrated, and set apart for sacred use in the service and worship of Him. In this way, it is The Book unlike any other. When we refer to The Bible we need to capitalize the first b in the word Bible for this reason. This acknowledges the respect people afford to God’s Book. Smith’s Bible Dictionary elaborates on this term, “It is The Book as being superior to all other books. But the application of the word BIBLE to the collected books of the Old and New Testaments is not to be traced farther back than the fifth century of our era” (e-Sword 12.1). 

The Holy Bible contains the Old and New Testaments. Smith’s Bible Dictionary defines them this way, “The Bible consists of two great parts, called the Old and New Testaments, separated by an interval of nearly four hundred years. These Testaments are further divided into sixty-six books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New. These books are a library in themselves being written in every known form of old literature. Twenty-two of them are historical, five are poetical, eighteen are prophetical, twenty-one are epistolary” (e-Sword 12.1). There are within several different genres of literature, as Smith continues, “They contain logical arguments, poetry, songs and hymns, history, biography, stories, parables, fables [fictitous stories meant to teach a moral lesson], eloquence, law, letters and philosophy” (Ibid.). God inspired each genre in its unique purpose for conveying His message. Smith then describes the over 40 different human authors God inspired: “Among these authors were kings, farmers, mechanics, scientific men, lawyers, generals, fishermen, ministers and priests, a tax-collector, a doctor, some rich, some poor, some city bred, some country born — thus touching all the experiences of men extending over 1500 years” (Ibid.).

Our Holy Bible is God’s story in which He narrates His plan of salvation from creation (Genesis) to new creation (Revelation). Smith’s Bible Dictionary elaborates, “The Holy Bible is the name given to the revelation of God to man contained in sixty-six books or pamphlets, bound together and forming one book and only one, for it has in reality one author and one purpose and plan, and is the development of one scheme of the redemption of man” (e-Sword 12.1). Ancient books were written on long scrolls of papyrus or parchment (animal skins). A change was made centuries ago (that may be attributable to the early Christian church) of binding together several smaller sheets of paper on one common edge. This was called a codex. This enabled preachers a convenient way of transporting the Bible on their long journeys. 

This Bible’s story includes the coming of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to provide the necessary substitutionary atonement for human sin. Christians are blessed with four volumes about the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus. Even then, these four are only a summary of His remarkable life and times. One of the four authors, John, informs us, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25 KJV). However, these four volumes included in the 66 books of the Holy Bible provide Christians all they need to understand God’s magnificent plan of salvation.

Despite the various genres of literature, the many human authors, the vast separation of time between when these authors composed their books, God’s story contains one overarching theme: the redemption and salvation of those He made in His image. The next time you open your Bible, remind yourself that this is God’s Book and that He is communicating with you unlike in any other book. The Holy Bible is the Book of Books!

Kenneth Frank headshot

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA, and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Life to Lessons: Think Aloud

Estimated Reading Time: 2 min. 23 sec.

Johnny’s mother is sitting with Johnny on the living room sofa.

She is holding a Bible in her lap, while Johnny looks at the picture on the printed Bible lesson in his hand. Johnny’s mother is trying to read the recommended verses out loud, but though her voice is full of enthusiasm and animation, Johnny keeps interrupting her with questions. “How did Adam pick names for all the animals? Why did God make fish before giraffes? Why did God make people with five fingers?”

Johnny’s mother, attempting to make it through the rest of the readings, shushes and dismisses his seemingly irrelevant questions. But as Johnny persistently repeats his questions, and his mother continues to ignore them and plow through the readings, both become more and more frustrated. What should Johnny’s mother do? Should she stop to answer Johnny’s random questions, or continue to struggle to keep him quiet while she reads the rest of the passages, or is there another possible solution?

Reading the Bible out loud should be more than an exercise in theatrical reading, and attentive listening. While there are times for children to sit and listen quietly, sharing the Bible with your child can be an excellent opportunity to allow them to “think aloud”. A tried and true strategy used by teachers around the world, the “Think Aloud” reading strategy creates a methodical and accessible approach to engage children in the content. To implement this strategy in your Bible reading lessons is simple! First, make sure you are stopping to think aloud as you read. Verbalizing your thoughts as you read out loud will give you the opportunity to guide your child’s understanding of the passage, to model types of questions which can be considered, and to keep your child engaged in the reading. Second, give your child the opportunity to verbalize their thoughts at appropriate times. Allowing them to do so will help you gauge what they are taking away from the passage, give you the opportunity to answer any questions they have (sometimes even questions which may not seem relevant, may be important to your child’s overall understanding of the passage), and give them important processing time that children need as they take in new material.

Think Aloud Example:

(modeling “Think Aloud” strategy): “Now the LORD said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred”…that means family…“and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee”…Wow! Imagine! God told Abram to leave his home, his family, and to go somewhere else. He didn’t even tell him where his new home would be, but He said, “and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing”…God was saying, if Abram left his home and followed God, God was going to bless him greatly.