Posts with the category “bible-study”

How Can a God Who Doesn't Change Answer Prayers?
by Patrick Swayne on July 5th, 2024
God said, "I do not change" (Malachi 3:6). Does that mean that our prayers don't really matter? Let's consider our unchanging God and the various aspects of His will at work when we pray.   Read More
Yes - All Who Wander Are Lost
by Patrick Swayne on June 24th, 2024
You've probably heard the popular traveler's saying, "Not all who wander are lost." There is a kind of wandering though that will guarantee being lost, and the Bible warns us about it. Let's open our Bibles and explore James 1:16.   Read More
A Christian's Citizenship
by Patrick Swayne on June 14th, 2024
Citizenship was precious and valued in the first century, so much so in fact that some obtained it "with a large sum" (Acts 22:28). What did Peter's words identifying Christians as members of "holy nation" (1 Peter 2:9) mean in such an environment, and what should they mean to us?   Read More
Olives and the Bible
by Patrick Swayne on June 7th, 2024
Olives and olive trees were a major part of the world of the Bible. What can we learn from the many verses that discuss olives and olive trees?   Read More
Where Is the Altar for a Living Sacrifice?
by Patrick Swayne on May 24th, 2024
As Joshua 22 reveals, the altar used in making sacrifices to God was so important to the faithful that they were willing to go to war over it. Does God have an altar for Christians and their living sacrifices today?   Read More
One Morning in the Mountains of Moriah
by Patrick Swayne on May 18th, 2024
Paul said that God "preached the Gospel to Abraham" (Galatians 3:8). While he had a specific occasion in mind, there really is so much of the Gospel in Abraham's life. No more vividly is the Gospel on display than when Abraham took his son to the mountains of Moriah.   Read More
Isaiah's Vision of God
by Patrick Swayne on May 10th, 2024
Some religions doubt or even deny the Deity of Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit. What does Isaiah's vision of God in Isaiah 6 reveal about them and about God?   Read More
Celibacy and Scripture
by Patrick Swayne on May 4th, 2024
A decline in marriage rates globally has seen an upswing in the popularity of religious celibacy. It's nothing new; some religions have been forbidding marriage for some or all of their adherents for years. What does the Bible say about celibacy?   Read More
Traffic Cones on the Broad Way
by Patrick Swayne on April 26th, 2024
"There are many roads that lead to Heaven." People used to say this about a broad spectrum of self-described Christian faiths; they now say it about a wide variety of religions, some of which actually deny Jesus as Lord. What trends influenced this change, and what does the Bible say about the path to Heaven?   Read More
Why the Little "c" Matters
by Patrick Swayne on April 6th, 2024
It's not uncommon to hear someone who was raised in a Christian home publicly denounce his/her faith, having bought into the philosophy of deconstructionism. Like Peter though, these individuals' speech betrays something about them: they speak of the "Church of Christ," when so many Christians would rather talk about the "church of Christ." What's the difference - why does that little "c" matter?   Read More
Don't Try to Take Jesus' Seat
by Patrick Swayne on March 22nd, 2024
“So, are you saying that __________ am/is/are/would be lost?” As Christians, we're often asked this question. How do we answer? Let's consider what the Bible says about judgment.   Read More
Is Mary Full of Grace?
by Patrick Swayne on March 8th, 2024
A common Catholic prayer known sometimes as a "Hail Mary" claims that Mary is "full of grace" before seeking her intercession and help. Where did this prayer come from, and what does the Bible say about it?   Read More
When God Spoke to Mountains: What the Mountains of Israel Can Teach the Mountain of the Lord's House
by Patrick Swayne on February 24th, 2024
Ezekiel is told on two separate occasions to prophesy to “the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 6:2; 36:1). Both times, he delivered a message from the Lord Himself. Why did God talk to mountains, and what can the church learn from what the prophet said?   Read More
What Is the "Greater Sin"?
by Patrick Swayne on February 16th, 2024
While standing before Pilate, Jesus said, “The one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11). What does "the greater sin" mean? Does this statement imply that there are big sins and little sins? Let's see what the Bible says.   Read More
What Is the Unknown Tongue of 1 Corinthians 14?
by Patrick Swayne on January 26th, 2024
In 1 Corinthians 14 in the King James Version, one can read of an "unknown tongue." Why does it say this, and what exactly is the gift of tongues spoken about in this chapter?   Read More
Our Mission Begins in the Mirror: Soul-Winning in 2 Peter 3
by Patrick Swayne on January 20th, 2024
Evangelism is the responsibility and privilege of every Christian. Though this is true, evangelism will fail if souls won fall away from the faith... including ours. As outward trials and inward troubles fell upon the church, what final charges did Peter give them, and what can we learn?   Read More
Do I Believe in Work-Based Salvation?
by Patrick Swayne on December 29th, 2023
When asked, most people who claim to be Christians will also claim that they don't believe in salvation through good works. However, a closer examination of their beliefs may tell a different story.  Read More
Are You Trying to Put God in a Box?
by Patrick Swayne on December 16th, 2023
When the Israelites took the ark of the covenant with them into a battle against the Philistines, they demonstrated that they thought God dwelled in a box. Are we guilty of trying to put God in boxes today?   Read More
Were New Testament Authors Guilty of Plagiarism? (Examining Citation in Scripture)
by Patrick Swayne on November 10th, 2023
Students today are taught to avoid plagiarism by properly citing the sources that influence their work. New Testament authors used citation to a degree, but sometimes their efforts in doing so leave modern readers with more questions than answers. Let's attempt to answer some of these questions by considering a couple of New Testament examples.   Read More
The Most Successful Gospel Meeting Ever
by Patrick Swayne on October 13th, 2023
Gospel Meetings were both both successful and common in the yesteryears of the United States. However, there once was a Gospel Meeting that would put even the best attended meeting in the United States to shame. What can we learn from this meeting and the man who preached at it?   Read More
Mark's Look at Jesus' Temptation (and What It Teaches Us About Bible Study)
by Patrick Swayne on September 29th, 2023
If you were challenged to open your Bible to an account of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, would have you have turned to Mark 1? Mark's short account of this event is often overlooked or lumped into the longer accounts. What can be gained from focusing specifically on what he recorded and developing a habit of considering texts in their context first?  Read More
Is Christianity a Relationship and Not a Religion?
by Patrick Swayne on September 22nd, 2023
"Christianity is a relationship, not a religion." Have you ever felt like this, or said it? More and more people see religion as the antithesis of faith instead of an avenue for faith. Are they right? Let's see what our Bibles say about "religion."   Read More
Chariots, Horsemen, and God's People
by Patrick Swayne on August 25th, 2023
Prophets are sometimes understood as finger pointers at rather than participants in their culture. The truth is that prophets helped their people move forward and that their loss was keenly felt. What can we learn from Enoch, Elijah, and Elisha about walking with God and having an impact on others?   Read More
The Lord Knows How to Deliver Us
by Patrick Swayne on July 28th, 2023
2 Peter 2 is a chapter full of condemnation for the wicked, and yet in the midst of it, there is a hopeful promise: "the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation" (2 Peter 2:9). What can we learn from the context about the Lord's deliverance?   Read More
Why Acapella Matters
by Patrick Swayne on July 21st, 2023
The early church was united in the practice of acapella singing; the thousands of denominations that exist today... aren't, to put it mildly. These days, one can find all kinds of music being offered in praise to God. Why were things so different 2000 years ago? Let's dig deeper in our Bibles and find out.   Read More
Why Should I Contend for the Faith?
by Patrick Swayne on July 14th, 2023
"Contend for the faith" is a command... except it isn't in the text of Jude 3. Instead, it's an infinitive, a verb form that describes an activity that Jude wrote to encourage. His brief epistle not only reveals how to contend for the faith but why one not only should but must do so.   Read More
Are You an Idolator?
by Patrick Swayne on June 30th, 2023
We tend to think of idolatry as bowing down to a statue symbolizing a false deity or one's ancestors. However, Ephesians 5:5 would have us think about the term differently.   Read More
Does the Bible Prescribe Alcohol for Mental Health? (An Examination of Proverbs 31:6)
by Patrick Swayne on June 22nd, 2023
Proverbs 31:6 is frequently used as a proof text for those trying to demonstrate a positive view of alcohol from Scripture. is that really how God intended for it to be used? Let's put the verse back in its context and reflect upon its meaning.   Read More
Go Back Further: An Appeal Regarding a Recent Controversy over Women’s Roles in the Church
by Patrick Swayne on June 16th, 2023
Rick Warren, a well-known denominational church leader, recently proposed that we should "go back to the first century" to discover "the church at its best." In his church though, there are "women pastors" who teach the assembled church. How did his church establish this practice, and is it really what the first century church did?   Read More
A Closer Look at Spiritual Death
by Patrick Swayne on May 26th, 2023
According to the teachings of John Calvin, man is spiritually dead because of sin and incapable of responding to God. Is this really what the Bible teaches about spiritual death?   Read More
To Judge or Not to Judge?
by Patrick Swayne on April 27th, 2023
Some Christians view themselves as being incapable of judging others because Jesus said, "Judge not" (Matthew 7:1). But if Christians weren't meant to judge others, why did Paul expect the Corinthian Christians to be capable of doing so (1 Corinthians 6:5)? Let's discover the harmony between these thoughts and determine what Jesus meant when He said, "Judge not."   Read More
Three Hours in John's Gospel
by Patrick Swayne on April 12th, 2023
Apart from his discussion of the crucifixion, there are three times when John calls our attention to the our of the day. What reminders do these three hours give?   Read More
The First Gospel Sermon (According to Mark)
by Patrick Swayne on April 7th, 2023
Have you ever heard that the Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? While these truths are at the heart of the Gospel, it is important to see the Gospel as the entirety of the New Testament message. Mark reminds us that the Gospel was preached before Jesus even died on the cross.   Read More
Are Christians Saved by the Skin of Their Teeth?
by Patrick Swayne on April 1st, 2023
More than once I’ve heard a preacher say that Christians are saved by the skin of their teeth, meaning "by the thinnest or barest of margins." Is this how we should envision our salvation?   Read More
When Blood Speaks
by Patrick Swayne on January 20th, 2022
You might have heard before that "dead men tell no tales." Well, apparently no one told the author of the book of Hebrews. No, Hebrews doesn't teach that the dead communicate directly with us. But it does say that there is a sense in which Abel and even his blood continue to speak to us. What does Abel's blood say, and what better thing does Jesus' blood say (Hebrews 12:24)?  Read More