Studying Random Verses Of Scripture

 

 

Pick a Verse, Any Verse

 

Have you ever simply opened your bible to somewhere, just anywhere, and read a page, or maybe even just a section of a page, and started studying the bible from there?  It’s kind of like when the Ethiopian treasurer was riding in his chariot, going home from Jerusalem, and he was reading from the book of Isaiah.  And Philip was sent by God to join him in his chariot.   Acts chapter 8  tells the story.  But anyhow, the scripture says in  verse 35;  “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”   

So you can do that.  You can open your bible to virtually anywhere, and begin a bible study, by yourself, or with someone.

 

It’s can be kind of interesting, to take whatever topic happens to be there, and see what strikes you as being interesting, and go ahead and study that point, or that topic.

So I thought I’d do just that.  I picked up my bible the other evening, and I randomly opened the pages of the new testament, and I happened to open it to the first page, of the book of  Luke.  And so let’s read together, what the scriptures says here, and we’ll see what there might be to investigate and to study..

Luke chapter 1,  beginning with  verse 1;  “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative, of the things that have been accomplished among us, even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;  It seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty, of the things you have been taught.”

 

We learn several facts from this 5 verse introduction to the book of  Luke.  First, we learn that Luke was certainly not the first to write about the life of Jesus.  Another thing we learn is that even though Luke wasn’t an apostle, he clearly states that he was among those who were taught directly by at least a couple of the apostles.  Luke is speaking of the apostles, when he says;  “..even as THEY delivered them unto US; Who from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word..”   

And so “they” who were “eyewitnesses”, are clearly the apostles, and “us” are obviously those who the apostles taught.  And you know, it’s great to know that the writings of Luke were based upon the direct teachings of the apostles.  But that’s really not good enough, when it comes to the facts that we base our salvation on.

But what IS good enough, is the fact that the “scriptures” Luke wrote, were not only based on the direct testimony of the apostles, but that it was inspired by God.  “ALL scripture, is inspired by God”, says  2 Timothy 3:16 & 17,  “..and is profitable, for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

And so even though Luke wasn’t an apostle, and even though he wasn’t an eye-witness, to all the things that occurred in the life of Jesus, he was taught by apostles, and he was inspired, by God Himself.

 

Something else we learn from the introduction that we read, is that this letter, was written to a specific individual, a man named Theoplilus.  So who was this man named Theophilus, whom Luke was so concerned with?   Well, “Theophilus” is a Greek name, so we can safely assume that this man is a Greek Gentile.  Also, Luke addresses him as “most excellent Theophilus”.  So Theophilus was obviously a man of some high position.  The phrase “most excellent”, is used four times in the new testament.  And all four times, it’s found in the writings of Luke.

Here in  Luke chapter 1,  is the first time it’s used.  But then it’s used again in  Acts 23, verse 26,  in a letter that was written to the Roman Governor Felix.   “Most excellent governor Felix” it says.

Then in  Acts 24, verse 3,  a Roman lawyer named Ter’-tullus, who was speaking on behalf of the Jews, was accusing the apostle Paul, before that same Governor Felix, and he addressed Felix as “most excellent Felix”.  

It might be interesting to just go ahead and read  Acts chapter 24,  because we get to hear what Paul had to say in his own defense.  So let me go ahead and read  Acts chapter 24,  beginning with  verse 1;

Now first, let me tell you that the apostle Paul had just been arrested, for doing nothing more, than “preaching Jesus”.  Just like Philip had done.  And so here’s how the chapter begins..  “Five days later the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a lawyer named Ter’-tullus, who presented to the governor their case against Paul.”  It’s kind of interesting that the Jews hired a Roman lawyer to prosecute Paul.  They no doubt thought that a “professional” would do a better job than they could, at getting rid of Paul.  But let me continue with our reading..

“After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor, “Since we have through you, attained much peace, and since by your providence, reforms are being carried out for this nation,  (He starts by “buttering up” Governor Felix)  we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness.  But, that I may not weary you any further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing.”

“For we have found this man (Paul) a real pest, (some versions use the word “pestilence”, and some even use the word “plague”.  Paul was a real “plague” to those who wanted to do thing THEIR way!  And not God’s way.  So then, Paul was “a pest”, and a “plague”, and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.”  (He’s referring there to those who believe in Jesus of Nazareth.  And he calls them “a sect”)  Lots of people today think that the church of Christ, is “a sect”.

They look at a congregation of the Lord’s church, and they see what they think are “non-conformists”.  They see a group of people that they think have branched away from the majority, and who simply refuse to conform to the accepted “standard” that they’ve set for what they think is “Christianity”.  But in reality, what they see, is the minority that remains, after the majority have branched out from God’s accepted pattern.  They don’t see the “non-conformists”, but rather, they see the CONFORMISTS!  They see the few who walk the straight a narrow way, and who enter in by the narrow gate.

Here’s a typical definition of a “sect”..  “a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong.”  You see, most people who think of themselves as “Christians” think that all the hundreds and thousands of so called “churches” are a part of one bigger “body” of believers.  And that’s how they view congregations of the Lord’s church, the church of Christ.  They think it’s simply one of almost countless groups, who have simply chosen to “not conform” to what they think, is the “common” way of doing things.

Well, that’s how they felt about Paul;  They thought he was “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.”

 

But let’s go on with our reading of  Acts 24..  And we’ll pick up with  verse 6;  “And he even tried to desecrate the temple;  And then we arrested him. We wanted to judge him according to our own Law.  But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come before you.”

“By examining him yourself, concerning all these matters, you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him.”  (Sounds like politics today doesn’t it?  The accusers, are the ones who are guilty of doing exactly what they’re accusing others of doing!)    The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so.”

“When the governor motioned for Paul to speak, he began his response:  “Knowing that you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I gladly make my defense.  (Now Paul is the real “orator”.  Not the “hired man” who the Jews hired to help do their dirty work)  So, Paul says..  “You can verify, that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem, Yet my accusers did not find me debating with anyone in the temple or riling up a crowd in the synagogues or in the city.  Neither can they prove to you, what they now bring up against me.”

“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, (“I Am the Way”, Jesus said, “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No man comes to the Father, but by Me!”)   “..According to “the Way”, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets; And I have the same hope in God that they themselves cherish, that there will be a resurrection, of both the righteous and the wicked.  In this hope, I strive always to maintain a clear conscience before God and man.”  

“Now, after several years, I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings;  While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult.  But some Jews from Asia, who ought to have been present before you and to make accusation, if they should have anything against me.  Or else let these men themselves tell what misdeed they found, when I stood before the Council, other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them:  ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead, that I am on trial before you this day.”

“But when Felix (That is.. “most excellent Felix“But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.  Then he gave orders (Felix gave orders) to the centurion, that he (Paul) should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.”

“After some days, Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul, and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus.” (“Preach the word”, right?  “Be instant in season and out.  Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”  (2 Timothy 4, verse 2)   

“And as he reasoned about righteousness, and self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”  The KJ says;  “Go thy way for this time;  When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”   The truth scares a lot of people;  As well it should!  But we need to speak the truth nonetheless!

“At the same time, he hoped that money would be given him by Paul.  So he sent for him often and conversed with him.”  Felix was looking for a bribe!   A “kick-back” you might say.  Some thing never change do they?

“But when two years were fulfilled, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus;  and desiring to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in bonds.”  

 

Now, let me go to the fourth time that the phrase “most excellent” is used.  It’s  in  Acts 26, verse 25,   when Paul addresses Festus, the new governor, as “most excellent Festus”.  

And so here’s Paul, once again defending himself against the lies, and false accusations made against him by the Jews.  It was pretty obvious all along that Paul was innocent of all these lies.  And Felix couldn’t convict him of anything, and so he simply left Paul sit there in jail.  And now Festus doesn’t know what to do with Paul, because HE can’t find anything that Paul is guilty of.  And so Festus calls for King Agrippa to come and hear Paul’s case.

And I really want you to hear Paul’s speech before Festus and King Agrippa, but we’re about out of time.  And so, Lord willing, we’ll hear that next time.

But before I quit, I’ll leave you with these classic words from  Acts 26, verses 24 thru 28;  “Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself!  Much learning is driving you mad!  And Paul said: I am not mad, most excellent Festus, but I speak words of truth and soberness.  For the king knows of these things, unto whom also I speak freely:  For I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him;  For this hath not been done in a corner.  King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.  Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”  

 

 

 

 

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