Family Talk Night Light for Couples

Duration: 365 days

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning.” Proverbs 1:5

Men may use less speech than women, but both sexes have been accused of not using their sense of hearing. “You never told me that” is a common household refrain. I (jcd) am reminded of the night my father was preaching at an open tent service. During his sermon, an alley cat decided to take a nap on the platform. My father, who was 6’4″, took a step backward and planted his heel squarely on the poor creature’s tail. The cat went crazy, scratching and clawing to free himself. But Dad, intent on his message, didn’t notice. He later said he thought the screech came from the brakes of automobiles at a nearby stop sign. When my father finally moved his foot, the cat took off like a Saturn rocket.

This story illustrates the communication problem many couples face.

For example, a wife “screams” for attention and intimacy but feels that he doesn’t even notice. It’s not that he can’t hear her; it’s that he’s thinking about something else or is completely misinterpreting her signals. This situation can easily be improved by simply “tuning in” to the station on which your mate is broadcasting. The truth is that careful listening feels so much like love that most of us can hardly tell the difference.

JUST BETWEEN US…

  • When we tell each other something that doesn’t get through, who is to blame—the “sender,” the “receiver,” or both?
  • What have you wanted to say, but didn’t because you couldn’t get my attention?
  • How could learning to listen better to each other help us listen better to God?

Dear God, teach us the wisdom and grace of listening. Help us to pay attention to each word as though we were listening to You. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Family Talk Night Light for Couples

Duration: 365 days

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning.” Proverbs 1:5

Men may use less speech than women, but both sexes have been accused of not using their sense of hearing. “You never told me that” is a common household refrain. I (jcd) am reminded of the night my father was preaching at an open tent service. During his sermon, an alley cat decided to take a nap on the platform. My father, who was 6’4″, took a step backward and planted his heel squarely on the poor creature’s tail. The cat went crazy, scratching and clawing to free himself. But Dad, intent on his message, didn’t notice. He later said he thought the screech came from the brakes of automobiles at a nearby stop sign. When my father finally moved his foot, the cat took off like a Saturn rocket.

This story illustrates the communication problem many couples face.

For example, a wife “screams” for attention and intimacy but feels that he doesn’t even notice. It’s not that he can’t hear her; it’s that he’s thinking about something else or is completely misinterpreting her signals. This situation can easily be improved by simply “tuning in” to the station on which your mate is broadcasting. The truth is that careful listening feels so much like love that most of us can hardly tell the difference.

JUST BETWEEN US…

  • When we tell each other something that doesn’t get through, who is to blame—the “sender,” the “receiver,” or both?
  • What have you wanted to say, but didn’t because you couldn’t get my attention?
  • How could learning to listen better to each other help us listen better to God?

Dear God, teach us the wisdom and grace of listening. Help us to pay attention to each word as though we were listening to You. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith

Duration: 365 days

INTERPRETING THE BIBLE

Any written document must be interpreted if it is to be understood. The United States of America has nine highly skilled individuals whose daily task is to interpret the Constitution. They compose the Supreme Court of the land. To interpret the Bible is a far more solemn task than to interpret the U.S. Constitution. It requires great care and diligence.

The Bible itself is its own Supreme Court. The chief rule of biblical interpretation is “sacred Scripture is its own interpreter.” This principle means that the Bible is to be interpreted by the Bible. What is obscure in one part of Scripture may be made clear in another. To interpret Scripture by Scripture means that we must not set one passage of Scripture against another passage. Each text must be understood not only in light of its immediate context but also in light of the context of the whole of Scripture.

In addition, properly understood, the only legitimate and valid method of interpreting the Bible is the method of literal interpretation. Yet there is much confusion about the idea of literal interpretation. Literal interpretation, strictly speaking, means that we are to interpret the Bible as it is written. A noun is treated as a noun and a verb as a verb. It means that all the forms that are used in the writing of the Bible are to be interpreted according to the normal rules governing those forms. Poetry is to be treated as poetry. Historical accounts are to be treated as history. Parables as parables, hyperbole as hyperbole, and so on.

In this regard, the Bible is to be interpreted according to the rules that govern the interpretation of any book. In some ways the Bible is unlike any other book ever written. However, in terms of its interpretation, it is to be treated as any other book.

The Bible is not to be interpreted according to our own desires and prejudices. We must seek to understand what it actually says and guard against forcing our own views upon it. It is the sport of heretics to seek support from Scripture for false doctrines that have no basis in the text. Satan himself quoted Scripture in an illegitimate way in an effort to seduce Christ to sin (Matthew 4:1-11).

The basic message of the Bible is simple enough and clear enough for a child to understand. Yet the meat of Scripture requires careful attention and study to understand it properly. Some matters treated by the Bible are so complex and profound that they keep the finest scholars perennially engaged in an effort to sort them out.

There are a few principles of interpretation that are basic for all sound study of the Bible. They include the following: (1) Narratives should be interpreted in light of “teaching” passages. For example, the story of Abraham offering Isaac on Mount Moriah might suggest that God didn’t know that Abraham had true faith. But the didactic portions of Scripture make it clear that God is omniscient. (2) The implicit must always be interpreted in light of the explicit; never the other way around. That is, if a particular text seems to imply something, we should not accept the implication as correct if it goes against something explicitly stated elsewhere in Scripture. (3) The laws of logic govern biblical interpretation. If, for example, we know that all cats have tails, we cannot then deduce that some cats do not have tails. If it is true that some cats do not have tails, then it cannot also be true that all cats have tails. This is not a matter merely of technical laws of inference; it is a matter of common sense. Yet the vast majority of erroneous interpretations of the Bible are caused by illegitimate deductions from the Scripture.

  1. The Bible is its own interpreter.
  2. We must interpret the Bible literally—as it is written.
  3. The Bible is to be interpreted like any other book.
  4. Obscure parts of the Bible are to be interpreted by the clearer parts.
  5. The implicit is to be interpreted in light of the explicit.
  6. The rules of logic govern what can reasonably be drawn or deduced from Scripture.

The Essential Truths of the Christian Faith devotional is excerpted from Essential Truths of the Christian Faith Copyright © 1992 by R. C. Sproul. All rights reserved.

Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle: 365 Sermons

Duration: 365 days

Do you know him?

‘That I may know him.’ Philippians 3:10

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 8:9–24

Let me warn you of second-hand spirituality; it is a rotten soul-deceiving deception. Beware of all esteeming yourself according to the thoughts of others, or you will be ruined. Another man’s opinion of me may have great influence over me. I have heard of a man in perfectly good health killed by the opinion of others. Several of his friends had foolishly agreed to play him a practical trick; whereupon one of them met him and said, ‘How ill you look this morning.’ He did not feel so; he was very much surprised at the remark. When he met the next, who said to him, ‘Oh! dear, how bad you look,’ he began to think there might be something in it; and as he turned smart round the corner, a third person said to him, ‘What a sight you are! How altered from what you used to be!’ He went home ill, he took to his bed and died. So goes the story, and I should not marvel if it really did occur. Now, if such might be the effect of persuasion and supposed belief in the sickness of a man, how much more readily may men be persuaded into the idea of spiritual health! A believer meets you, and by his treatment seems to say, ‘I welcome you as a dear brother’—and means it too. You are baptised, and you are received into church fellowship, and so everybody thinks that you must be a follower of Christ; and yet you may not know him. O I do pray you, do not be satisfied with being persuaded into something like an assurance that you are in him, but do know him—know him for yourself.

For meditation: We should all take it for granted that by nature we are all hell-deserving sinners. None of us have any right to take it for granted that we are heaven-bound saints. Even with the kindest of motives, spiritual flattery is a killer. For God to wound us by telling us the awful truth about ourselves is an amazing offer of friendship (Proverbs 27:6), a merciful warning to flee from the wrath to come by trusting in Christ crucified (2 Corinthians 5:19–21).

Sermon no. 552
31 January (1864)365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 2: A Unique Collection of 365 Daily Readings from Sermons Preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from His Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (365 Days With Series); edited by Terence Peter Crosby; (c) Day One Publications, 2002.