Chip Thornton – The Sufficiency of Scripture

Some of you will corrupt the Word of God this next Sunday by dealing corruptly with the text before you.

1) Emphasizing minor points while ignoring the major ones.

2) Ignoring authorial intent.

I’m a recovering allegorist. “My name is Chipley McQueen Thornton and I’m a recovering allegorist.”

Exegetical hypocrites.

Sufficiency of Scripture in Preaching

1) Scripture is breathed out by God. Creative breath of God.

2) Authorial intent is sufficient. It does not change.

3) The single meaning of the text is sufficient.

What is allegory? Pilgrim’s Progress

Allegorism is an interpretation which usurps the authors intent and inserts the desired meaning of the preacher. It is not deeper meaning, it is a different meaning. (A different gospel) God is no longer the author.

1) Imposing an agenda driven hermeneutic. Turning every text into evangelism.

Video example of agenda driven hermeneutic giving Luke 5:4 ‘deeper’ meaning.

Luke 5:4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

2) Allowing the Culture into the interpretation.

3) Fanciful (fanatical) tendency allowed into the text. Every detail pregnant with meaning not given in the text.

Video example of Acts 27:19 On the third day, they threw out the ship’s tackle with their own hands.

4) Exemplarist Tendencies – Did the author intend for the text to be interpreted biographically?

5) Atomistic Tendencies – minor detail extracted and exploded from a text in order to dominate the text.

How to preach expository?

1) Minimum text – paragraph at most
2) Get the message from the text to shape the sermon. Not fit the text to the sermon.


Whiter Than Snow or Soiled

We still have most of our snow left. What little that did melt earlier today when we got to 33 degrees is refrozen since we are dropping to 19 degrees tonight. Everything still looks so different and so white.  It is shocking how bright the windows are lit up due to the snow even though we’ve not had any sunshine.

However the pristine white, clean look has faded somewhat.  🙁   No longer is the snow smooth and new.  That’s what happens when children run and play in the snow.  :O

So we no longer have this:

Now we have this:

Sorta like our Christian life.  The Lord cleanses us and makes us whiter than snow.

Psalms 51:6-10 (ESV)
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Yet we still can sin and soil our white robes.

Revelation 3:3-5 (ESV)
3  Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
5  The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

We need a regular cleansing “by the washing of water with the word” so we can be presented without spot or blemish.

Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV)
25 … as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Have you been washing with the water of the Word?


What Are Your Bible Study Goals For Next Year?

Do you sit down and plan what you will be studying in your Bible study for the upcoming year?

Do you plan which Bible books to study?

Books on Biblical topics to read?

Sermon topics to listen to?

Questions to find answers to?

Do you plan verses to memorize?

What about a Bible reading plan?

Or like most have you not even thought about it?

I usually do some planning and preparing during the last week of the year, although I haven’t felt well and haven’t gotten a round to it yet.

Give some thought to where you are headed in your Bible study just as we would plan ahead for anything else important.  That doesn’t mean you won’t get led off into some other direction sometimes but goals are important.

Here are some Bible reading plans:

  • ESV Daily Bible Passage – I have used this one for years. I get an email/feed of the text (with a click link for audio if online) and I get a podcast of the audio. I have really enjoyed this method. I’m less likely to get distracted with cross references and writing notes when I have the audio going.

  • M’Cheyne Reading Format – All I can say is this is a method that those fond of M’Cheyne really like, I haven’t tried it.

  • Dr Horner’s Bible Reading Plan – This has you reading 10 chapters a day from a variety of books in the Bible. The amount of days rotate but this means that what you are reading together changes also. I have read lots of compliments of this reading system but it is a little too haphazard for me. However, I have done a modified version of reading maybe five of the different areas a day. Works better that way for me.


Never a Lack

While we do have a budget for many household items and specifically for groceries, it isn’t always possible to stay within that budget.  (Doesn’t mean I don’t try though.)  Often there seems to always be some unplanned for grocery need such as meals to take to others, extra church fellowships, or even just extra food to prepare for guests.  While I used to do lots of Once-A-Month cooking, that has drifted to the wayside over the past few years, need to start back.  But never once have we had to do without.  Not only that, no matter how many extra meals or mouths, we’ve always had enough.  We can’t out give the Lord.

Reminds me of the widow of Zarephath:

1 Kings 17:8-16 (ESV)

8 Then the word of the Lord came to him,
9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”
13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’ ”
15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days.
16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

While it is not wise to be presumptuous and test the Lord by ignoring following a budget and spending away everything continually, that also means that we don’t have to have in-hand plenty before we give it away.  The Lord with cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) can surely spare some ground beef in order to feed a brother and sister in Christ.  Sometimes even He provides a steak. 🙂

Organizing Mommy has noticed the same thing in God’s Provision:

… In the same way, a mom, a wife who chooses to go without a paying career because she wants to homeschool, a homemaker who wants to feed the entire world that steps through her home, or really anyone who ministers to anyone in anyway does so in faith. The amount of risk and responsibility a person takes on, increases the amount of provision they need. In a sense, it makes their needs larger. Their need for God’s provision is greatly increased. Whether it is for food, for energy, for wisdom, for a better way to order life, or just plain encouragement, the need is big. The servants of God who have a serving lifestyle have a big list of things they need from God.

In contrast, small-need people are people who can’t allow themselves any amount risk so there will be no real need for God’s provision. Every need that is known has to have a known provision, well ahead of time.

They would probably call it careful planning. I’ll call them small-handed people. They still have hands, no doubt. But God can only place in their hands a small amount because there really is no room in their hands for anything more. …

So according to Organizing Mommy’s analogy are you small handed or large handed?

Do you trust the Lord to provide? Or do you live in fear of lack?

Do you cling tightly to what little you have?  Or do you share the abundance of your heavenly Father?

Every time I’ve heard anyone speaking about a mission trip they have always shared how even those with nothing themselves are so eager to share their little.  What about you?


What is the Sum of the Law and the Prophets?

Previously we saw that the Law and the Prophets refer to the first five books of the Bible, the Law and the books of the prophets and poetry.  Now let’s look at what Jesus says sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12 (ESV) “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV)

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Galatians 5:14 (ESV) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

This really isn’t a new Law to love our neighbor.  The New Covenant portion is that our neighbor has been expanded to include everyone even the most despised or our enemies.  See even in Leviticus the Israelites were told to love their neighbor but that was their own people.  Now we are to love all people as ourselves, not just those who are like us; not just our own people. 

Leviticus 19:18 (ESV)  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. 

In case there was any doubt Jesus explained this concept several times. 

Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV)

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 19:19 (ESV) Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Mark 12:29-31 (ESV)

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Luke 10:27 (ESV) And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 

James is clear that fulfilling the royal law is “loving your neighbor as yourself”. 

James 2:8 (ESV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 

See this takes you right back to Matthew 5:17 because Jesus fulfilled the Law not only by being the perfect, sinless law keeper, but by loving His neighbor as Himself to the end by giving up His life. 

Matthew 5:17 (ESV) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  

John 10:11 (ESV) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 

John 15:13 (ESV) Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 

Romans 5:7-8 (ESV)

7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 5:2 (ESV) And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

The sum of the Law and the Prophets is Love, as exemplified by Christ in giving up His life for us. 

We are called to do the same and then we have fullfilled the law. 

1 John 3:16 (ESV) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

James 2:8 (ESV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 



Matthew 22:14 (ESV) For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Romans 11:5-6 (ESV)
5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Mark 13:20 (ESV) And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

John 15:16-19 (ESV)
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Ephesians 1:4 (ESV) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 (ESV)
13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Revelation 17:14 (ESV) They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”


Free Bible Program

I enjoy having a Bible program on my computer that does not require me to be online, but I must admit that many of them are expensive.  Here is another free Bible study program based on the ESV which the main drawback is that you must be online.

ESV online

When logged in you can highlight words or verses, underline, or place a ribbon at verses.  Notes can be added to Scripture passages and there are several reading plans available.  This all includes the nice feature of having an audio available for listening to the Bible.

While nothing will ever replace actually holding and reading a Bible, there are still many advantages to using a Bible program at times, especially a free one.


Do You Know What Is In Your Bible?

Psalm XVI:
“… and didst thou lie among us, saying,
‘Thy trousers, they burn with a fire as though from Heaven,
thy nose lengthened as though
Lucifer hath pulled it through the eye of a needle…'” (
LIE version)

This verse was given as the source for the expression “Liar, Liar, pants on fire”  and also for the idea behind the story of Pinocchio.

See any problem?

How about that isn’t a verse from the Bible!

This would be more humorous if so many people didn’t fall for it.

Now surely most people would recognize that as not from the Bible, but what if some well respected pastor told you it was?

Would you actually check it?  What if just one or two words were changed?

When Paul was preaching in Berea, the people “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)


The way to do a thing is to do it …

This applies to even more than just Bible reading.

“Begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing is to do it, and the way to read the Bible is actually to read it. It is not meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it; that will not advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears, the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.”


J.C. Ryle


Lost Your Appetite For Bible Reading?

If you’ve lost your desire to sit down with God’s Word, what do you do?

Do you just pray for the Lord to give you that desire?

Do you find a good devotional to read in the meantime?

Do you force yourself to listen to a few sermons?

How do you get back that thirst for the Scriptures?

Dig in deep and keep digging until the desire comes back to read the Scriptures!

Here is a great example taken from Winnie-the-Pooh himself.

Sweeter Than Honey: A Lesson from Pooh

In Psalm 119:103 the psalmist exclaims, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” Though we may not put it in such eloquent words, that is the testimony of every true Christian.

Nevertheless, even true Christians, those who recognize the importance, excellence, beauty, and authority of the Scriptures, sometimes lose their appetite for the study of God’s Word.

Continue reading …