Chapter & Verse
It’s in there…
March 12th, 2019
It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Hebrews 2:6-8 (ESV)
Nothing is as amazing as someone who has a mastery of God’s Word that they can quote not only content but chapter and verse of passages, one after the next.
We have a family in our church that have trained their girls (they have all girls) to recite scripture by the chapter. It is nothing short of awe-inspiring to hear these sweet ones spewing out the Word of God at the drop of a hat.
Another brother has taken it on himself to memorize entire books of the Bible.
It’s staggering and amazing!
But then, there are those I hear who use the excuse that because they can’t correlate passages with the chapter and verse; therefore, they cannot be a witness for Jesus and his Gospel.
If you’ve used that excuse to give you an ‘out’ from being a messenger of the Gospel, then you have just lost that crutch, here and now.
Paul quotes a passage in Hebrews 2:6-8 and the preface he reiterates is, “It has been testified somewhere”! Paul is quoting something he recalls but just can’t quite put the credit to the source.
The passage which Paul is referencing is in Psalms 8:4-6. Despite Paul’s extensive training in the scriptures he could not recall during the writing of this letter the exact chapter and verse he was referencing. All he could come up with was “It has been testified somewhere”.
Let’s dispel the myth you can’t share the Gospel of Jesus without having specific recall of the exact citing of the scripture in question.
It is our charge to be messengers of the Gospel. This is especially critical today in an age when the return of our Lord is ever nearer.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”
Matthew 24:9-12 (ESV)
The time Jesus spoke of, is upon us now. There has never been a greater presence of false teachers than there is today. Besides their false gospel, their determination to export their profane heresy, influencing ever more lost souls, and overwhelming and dividing the church is at an intensity which we have never seen.
Later in the same chapter Jesus said…
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.
Matthew 24:24-25 (ESV)
“Even the elect”. The number of good solid teachers of the Word of God who have fallen into the trap of the New Apostolic Reformation, which is nothing more than a reinvention of the Word of Faith false gospel, is astounding. The apostacy with in the church is a terrifying phenomenon because it’s not cultist like David Koresh. What we are seeing today are those who were considered to be pillars of the faith that had departed and diverted from the Gospel of Christ.
Every one of us need to have no greater priority and desire than to be devoted Disciples of Jesus and true to his Gospel. We are to combat these false gospels at every turn and proclaim Christ and he only as the means of salvation to a dying world.
The harvest time is now and the risk of the wheat falling to ground to be trampled on or carried away by the birds is more real than ever before. The enemy is in peril and attacking on every front he can as he knows his time is short.
Your witness is even more critical than ever before. Our task has become even more involved than when it was our task to seek and save the lost because the battles that have been taking place in the heavenlies has now rested upon the surface of the world and presented a life or death struggle between the powers of darkness and the radiance of our Lord and Savior.
Chapter & Verse
While it is nice to quote chapter and verse of the scripture, this should never be a handicap or excuse us from being a messenger of the Gospel of Jesus.
In the first place, the scripture didn’t come with chapters and verses to begin with in its original form. The verses we added later along with the chapters at what seemed logical intervals of division. Based on what I could research, chapter divisions first appeared in the 1200s and verses appeared in the 1500s.
Therefore, the Old and New Testaments had no chapters and verses to memorize for a longer period of time than since it has had the divisions in place to remember. Even though these divisions of text were added to make it simpler to reference the scripture and find select passages, perhaps the state of the Bible before the divisions acted to provide a more complete context of God’s Word.
And as you can see with the opening passage the Apostle Paul had difficulty providing an exact reference for that which he was quoting.
Because of this, while it is worthwhile to memorize the complete scripture including the reference to chapter and verse, what is even more important is to capture the content of the scriptures in your heart and exercise freedom to express those truths without fear.
We have been given three testaments to share with people the power of the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Yes, three! The Old Testament which predates the incarnation of the Messiah. Followed by the New Testament which details the life of Jesus and the early church, topped off with the Revelation of the return of our Lord. These first two are an immeasurable fountain of wisdom and speak of who God is and what he desires of us his Children.
But the third volume is Your Testament. It isn’t part of the recognized cannon which make up our Bible. But it is our personal testament which God is writing on our hearts. It doesn’t have chapters and verses at all yet details the love story of a creator and the creation he pursued until his love pierced our stony hearts, plucking it from our chest and replacing it with a heart surrendered to his will.
It is that third Testament which you have an innate mastery of. It is Your Testament which contains the context by which others can and will see the love of a creator who was willing to sacrifice everything to redeem that which he has created. To give him glory and return to him love in response to his own love for us.
This volume of which each of us are so intimate with is not something that happened hundreds of years ago. This is your salvation experience and life with the Living Savior. A testament that everyone whom you share it with can identify with their own existence when you relate what your life was like before inviting Jesus in.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV)
If Christ Jesus had not initiated his love for us, we would never have been able to see the beauty of his grace and sacrifice for us. We would be lost in our sin and decaying condition for eternity. If it were not for that love of Jesus, there wouldn’t be a third Testament with our name on it.
That condition of our lives before Christ entered and what it is today shows the transformation of a life though grace and love, which everyday people can identify with.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19 (ESV)
The interesting thing about these Testaments is that the author is the same for each “Chapter & Verse” of all of them, the Lord our God.
Commit to memory every passage you can to hold in your heart and supplement the volume God continues to write with each passing day. This third Testament isn’t that different from the other two because it displays the Love of God, the inability of humanity to approach him, and his eagerness to wrap his arms around every one of his Creation. They all display the power, honor and glory of God, “Chapter & Verse”.
In His Grace,