The Christian and Minimalism

Bible on desk with cup and clock

If you have spent much time online looking at articles and videos about personal development – how to make the best use of your time, get the most out of life, and focus on what is important – you have likely come across the concept of minimalism. Many self-help gurus promote this philosophy and there are a number of people who describe the benefits they have seen in their own lives by adopting its principles. There are some concepts found in minimalism that will be appealing to most people, even if they do not embrace it in its entirety.

What is minimalism? And what place, if any, does it have in the life of a Christian? Let us briefly consider this concept.Continue Reading

Some Thoughts on Sheep

Sheep

The term “sheep” has become somewhat controversial in our current social and political climate. It is often used disparagingly to describe those who seem to naively follow whatever their leaders tell them to do, even if they are being told to do what appears to be foolish, harmful, irrational, or even wrong. Some have pushed back against this criticism by arguing that, as Christians, we have been called to be like sheep so we should simply follow whatever these orders might be (though each one who argues this will probably have in mind some limit as to how far they believe this compliance should go).

[Note: In this article, I am not going to address any specific cases in which this concept may arise; but I do believe it will be helpful for us to consider some general principles.]

Does the Bible say anything that would address this controversy? Let us consider some thoughts.Continue Reading

Contentment: What It Is and Is Not

Man Sitting on Dock

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11).

The Bible stresses the importance of contentment in the lives of God’s people. Like Paul’s example in the passage above, we should be content in every circumstance in which we find ourselves.

However, we need to be sure we understand what contentment is. Many might claim to be content; but in reality their condition may be better described as immaturity, disobedience, cowardice, laziness, or apathy. So in this article, we are going to consider what the Bible says about contentment – what it is and what it is not.Continue Reading

The Cross as a Symbol

Cross and sunset

It is common to see the image of a cross being used as a symbol – a symbol of “Christianity,” an image in art and jewelry, and so on. However, that is not what we will be discussing here. A Christian does not need a cross around his neck, nor does a church need a cross on its building. Instead, we will be talking about “the word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18) – the message of the gospel.

In the gospel, the cross is shown as a symbol representing some fundamental concepts. In following Christ, we are to take up our cross (Luke 9:23), making the same traits which are symbolized by the cross manifested in our lives.

So what does the cross symbolize?Continue Reading

16th Year of Plain Bible Teaching

Bible Notes

Plain Bible Teaching began its first year back on August 1, 2005. That means we have now completed 15 full years and are now beginning the sixteenth year.

For all of you who have been reading, commenting, and sharing these materials with others, thank you! If you’ve just recently discovered the site, I’m glad you’re here and hope you find it beneficial. The goal from the beginning has been to publish materials that can accurately be described as “plain Bible teaching” in order to help others learn or be reminded of what the word of God teaches so that they might be encouraged to live in a way that will be pleasing to the Lord. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to do this for this long and, Lord willing, I plan to be continuing this work for years to come.Continue Reading

Taking Personal Responsibility

Pointing at ManIn a time of lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing, we are more cut off from others than we had been previously. Obviously, there are challenges to this type of social arrangement – including spiritual challenges. One such challenge is that it is increasingly important for each of us to take personal responsibility for our faith and our standing before God. Paul mentioned this idea in his letter to the brethren in Philippi:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

Paul wanted these brethren to maintain their faithfulness even when he was absent from them and could not encourage them in person. The reason for the lack of in-person interaction is different today. And, of course, Paul was only speaking of himself as being absent from them; the brethren in Philippi were still together. However, the challenge described by Paul is the same. We must maintain our faithfulness, even without the in-person encouragement we are used to receiving from other Christians.

In this article, we are going to notice why personal responsibility is important, some ways in which we are to take personal responsibility, and also why taking personal responsibility should never cause us to think that isolation from fellow Christians is to be preferred.Continue Reading

Book Review: A Bountiful Eye

A Bountiful Eye (cover)I recently had the chance to sit down and read A Bountiful Eye: Insights from Proverbs on Wealth and Riches by John Allan. As the subtitle indicates, the book examines what the wise man had to say in the book of Proverbs pertaining to wealth. This may be a topic that some Christians are uncomfortable talking about, yet it is one that the Scriptures address for us.Continue Reading