3 Ways to Discern Scriptural Truths

3 Steps For Accurately Understanding Scripture
We can carefully follow the recipe for cherry pie, but if we leave out the cherries, it’s not cherry pie.

We can carefully study a subject in Scripture, but if we leave out pertinent passages, we won't get the full counsel of God’s Word, and we may end up believing a lie (Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 2:15). 

The recipe for Truth requires all the ingredients.

For example, 1 Timothy 4:9-10 says God “is the Savior of all people.”

If that were the only ingredient, we could assume everyone would be saved, believer and unbeliever alike. But it’s not the only ingredient.

 We must:

1. Add the immediate context. 

The next phrase says “especially of those who believe.” Since you’re either saved or not, this word “especially” signals a need for further study.

2. Add the context of the full counsel of Scripture.

Scripture repeatedly states that unbelievers will not be saved (Mark 16:16; John 3:18-19; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 1 John 3:15; 1 John 5:10-12; Revelation 21:8; etc.)

3. Let Scripture interpret Scripture. 

Since the Bible clearly teaches not all are saved, we can conclude that 1 Timothy 4:9-10 means Christ is the Savior of all who will be saved (John 1:9-13 and 1 Timothy 2:3-6).

To use this method on another Scripture sometimes used to "prove" universal salvation, check out today's Bite Size Bible Study.
For more insights into this subject, check out these 1-minute devotions:
Pieces Parts
5 Steps for Accurate Bible Study

4 Types of People God Tells Us To Avoid

4 Types of People God Tells Us To Avoid
God warns us against snobbery and bigotry, things based on externals. 

But He warns us to avoid people with bad character:

1. Bad influences (1 Corinthians 15:33).
"Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"
2. False teachers (2 John 1:10).
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them."

3. Professing Christians with sinful lifestyles (1 Corinthians 5:11).
"You must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler."

4. Divisive people (Titus 3:10-11).
"If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them..."

We shouldn't avoid unbelievers (1 Corinthians 5:9-11), but neither should we partner with them (2 Corinthians 6:14).
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"

Let's heed these warnings.
Related 1-minute devotions:
Bad People Know Little About Badness
Follow Leaders Who Follow Christ

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Christians Look on the Heart, Not Externals

Christians Look on the Heart, Not Externals - 1 Samuel 16:7
If we look down on people who aren’t fashionable, wealthy, or educated, we’re snobs.

If we look down on people of different races, countries, and ethnicity, we’re bigots.

We should never use worldly criteria to approve or disapprove of people. We should look at a person's heart and honor those with good hearts like our Lord does:

"The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

One day, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, from every tribe and nation will worship our Lord together (Revelation 7:9). 

So let's cleanse our hearts of all snobbery and bigotry, especially within the Body of Christ (James 2:1-13).
More 1-minute devotions on this subject:
Sometimes We Miss a Man's Heart explains what God saw in the hearts of David's brothers
5 Reasons God Searches Hearts

The Benefit of Godly Examples, Especially Christ's

The Benefit of Godly Examples, Especially Christ's - John 13:15
Examples are extremely helpful.

Recently, a friend repaired our washing machine by looking at an example of the repair on Youtube, saving us hundreds of dollars. Seeing an actual example of the repair was easier than simply reading instructions.

This is one reason I enjoy Christian biographies. Biblical principles come alive in the lives of God's faithful saints, giving us examples to follow.

Christian friends can also be godly examples, just as ungodly friends can be corrupting examples (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Of course, our perfect example is Christ. 

In John 13:15, Jesus said: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to “follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.”

Philippians 2:5 tells us to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” in our relationships with each other, and 1 Thessalonians 1:6 encourages us to become “imitators” of the Lord.

There’s no doubt about it, examples in our lives matter. Let’s choose the best ones (1 John 2:6).
On page 149 of The Shack, The Shack’s jesus says, “Seriously, my life was not meant to be an example to copy. Being my follower is not trying to ‘be like Jesus’...” 
Many Christians have embraced The Shack as a way to better understand our relationship with Jesus, but this and other errors give a false view of that relationship. See The Shack’s Errors.

Contentment Comes from Proper Perspective

Contentment Comes from Proper Perspective - 1 Timothy 6:6
It can be challenging to be surrounded by people more wealthy and prestigious than we are because we often start measuring our lives by their standards and become discontent.

There's always something we can buy that we don't have, some trip we can take that we haven't taken, some luxury or convenience we want but don't need.

That's why it's important to see our lives in perspective to the rest of the world.

Did you know:
“If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ...you are more comfortable than 75% of the people in this world.”(1)

After we see our lives in perspective to the rest of the world, we also need to see our lives in perspective to the Gospel: For "godliness with contentment is itself great wealth." (1 Tim.6:6, NLT)

Let's give our hearts to the pursuit of spiritual wealth.

based on devotion first published in 2012 called "Feeling Rich," copyright Gail Burton Purath
(1) This quote from If the World Were a Village of 100

Contentment Comes from Proper Perspective - 1 Timothy 6:6
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