December 2016 Student Newsletter

Words from the Director
Russell Haffner
Russell Haffner (Director)
       Do you want to be a leader? Perhaps this is the reason you have enrolled in the school. Maybe you have a strong desire to influence more people in your life. The Bible teaches you can affect others through your good example (1 Corinthians 11:1). Every faithful Christian can demonstrate this kind of leadership. It can happen without words or even a position of authority or title. Having a good influence should be the goal of every Christian.
       God's word teaches that our example can make a difference in the world. Jesus described His followers as the "light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). Even the enemies of the church said that the Christian's influence had turned the world "upside down" (Acts 17:6). The Christian life should seek to have a positive effect on others. A good influence is simply faithfulness at work.

       The Bible has much to say about developing the characteristics of a good leader:

  • When Moses' father-in-law encouraged him to appoint leaders he told him in Exodus 18:20 that he should, "teach them ordinances and laws" and "show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do." He said in verse 21 that they should be "able men" who "fear God." They were to be "men of truth" who hate "covetousness."
  • Another characteristic which good leaders should have is the ability to know how to treat others. In Luke 6:31 Jesus said, "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." In Philippians 2:4 Paul wrote, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
  • Good leaders are also humble. In Philippians 2:3 we find, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." True humility is required if we are to be the servants we are commanded to be. In Matthew 20:26 Jesus said, "whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant."
       Sadly, there are some who want to be leaders to gain authority over others and have a title of honor. However, Jesus does not portray good leadership in that way. Actually, we should avoid titles. In Matthew 23:8-11 Jesus said, "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant." The term “reverend” is found only once in the Scriptures (Psalm 111:9 - KJV) where it refers to God alone. The text says, “holy and reverend is His name” (emphasis added). Certainly no mortal man ever was, is or ever will be equal with God. Not even the apostles dared lay claim to equality with God by taking the name "reverend."
       So, if you want to be a leader seek the life of a humble servant and avoid those exalted titles bestowed by men. True leadership is defined by the actions one takes and the example one sets for others. The Online Bible School provides equal opportunity to all students, regardless of background or situation, so they may improve their Bible knowledge and develop the capabilities of leadership to impact those in their community and across the globe.

13 Wrong Ways to Approach Bible Study
       The method we use to study the Bible is very important. Some never benefit from Bible study because their approach to the scriptures is wrong. There are still others who never profit from their study of God's word because they have a faulty motive for studying the Bible.
Please consider the following wrong ways to approach Bible study:
  1. It is wrong to think the Bible cannot be understood.
  2. It is wrong to approach the Bible as if it is simply the words of men. The Bible text was written by those who were divinely inspired to record God's word for men (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).
  3. It is wrong to think the Bible is a mystical document filled with secrets and hidden meanings which cannot be understood without direct revelation from the Holy Spirit. These students tend to think their own desires, wishes or ideas are the will of God.
  4. It is wrong to approach the Bible subjectively. These students think that the true meaning of a particular scripture can be determined based upon what they feel as they are reading the text. The result is that each student arrives at a different conclusion with each thinking his/her conclusion is the correct understanding. They do not see that God's word is an objective standard with one correct meaning for all who properly read and understand it.
  5. It is wrong to read the Bible trying to confirm preconceived ideas. This approach looks for verses to support beliefs already assumed to be true.
  6. It is wrong to read the Bible in an attempt to discover some bit of information that no one has found before. These students do not want to understand God's word, they just want to find the rare piece of information they can use to impress others.
  7. It is wrong to treat the Bible's teachings as suggestions which can be accepted or rejected according to one's wishes. Some accept only those teachings that please them.
  8. It is wrong to study the Bible with prejudice. If we are not careful we will allow race, culture, political views or philosophy to corrupt our understanding of the scriptures.
  9. It is wrong to study the Bible without considering context. We should be aware of such things as the theme of the book, purpose of the writer, culture, time period, environment, geographical setting and the problems being discussed. If these things are not considered a passage can easily be twisted to mean something which God never intended.
  10. It is wrong to approach the Bible text as if it is all literal. We must understand that some of the Bible is written in a poetic style. The scriptures also contain figures of speech and symbols which must be taken into consideration.
  11. It is wrong to approach the Bible looking to find some flaw or error to discredit it.
  12. It is wrong to think that only religious leaders can truly understand the Bible. We should never be discouraged from reading and studying the Bible for ourselves.
  13. It is wrong to study the Bible seeking only to please men (Galatians 1:10). Some refuse to see the true meaning of a particular verse because they fear it might receive a negative response or hurt someone's feelings. Sadly, this is why some preachers no longer preach against specific sins.