Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Discovering the Kingdom of God

I was suprised earlier this week when I was reading an article by an author I respect and he said, ' we should be focused on Jesus and not the kingdom of God.' The first thought that came to me is 'What did Jesus himself say about the Kingdom of God and then if he is the king of the Kingdom how can we separate the two?'
So, like any good studentI began doing some research and was surprised by the number of books that deal with the Kingdom of God either partially or as their only topic. I say surprised because we hear so little teaching or preaching on the subject today.
But before I make any recommendations as to what books might be good to read or own you should do some self directed research, also known as personal Bible study.
The list below can be followed as steps in your study.

1. Set up a notebook to keep your research notes or printouts in. You can organize your notebook according to your own thinking. I would suggest using page tabs for the different sections.
2. Look up the words kingdom, kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven in the concordance in the back of your Bible.
3. Follow the cross references listed in your Bible.
4. Use an exhaustive concordance which is designed for use with the Bible translation you use the most to get a complete list of the references.
5. Use your notebook to write down the Greek and Hebrew reference numbers and use them to look up the definitions of the words used in the Old and New testaments for the references you find.
(If you are using a Bible software program, save the list to your word processing program and set a file for all of the materials you find related to your kingdom research.
6. Organize the scripture references by categories that match the usage of the words in some type of topical system that makes sense to you.
7. Look up the words you have found in your research in a word study tool, such as Vine's Expository Dictionary or one of the many other word study tools available at your local Christian book store, theological library or within your Bible software. This will add a greater understanding of the ways in which these words are used in scripture.
8. If you have a topical Bible tool this is where you will want to use it to compare what you have discovered with what the author has written concerning the Kingdom.
9. The next group of tools you will want to use are Bible Dictionaries, Bible handbooks and Bible encyclopedias. These will provide greater context historically and theologically. I will recommend which these will be most helpful and some additional resources in the next article.
10. Read the Intertestimental books to discover more about what the Jewish people were expecting concerning the coming of the kingdom of God between the end of the Old testament and the beginning of the New testament.
11. Read the Gospels starting with Matthew to find out first hand what Jesus taught concerning the Kingdom or God or Kingdom of heaven. Remember Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets.
12. Read the rest of the New Testament to see how this teaching was dealt with by the New Testament Church. Even if not mentioned by name look to discover how the rule and reign of God was to be applied in the daily life of the believer.

1. Pray before, during and after your study that God would reveal the truth of His Word to you by His Holy Spirit!
2. Remember take good notes, review your notes after each new step to see what you have learned and how and if it fits together with the rest of what you are discovering.
3. Make room or even a distinct section in your notes for questions, observations, reflections and insights you have as you go through your study.
4. Ask God how to apply the things you are discovering.
5. Keep a record of the prayers you are praying as God reveals the truth about His Kingdom and how to live in it and share it with others as you are move along on your Kingdom quest.
If you will follow the order given above you will have the joy of discovering God's Truth as the Holy Spirit reveals it to you. If you jump ahead to see what others have written you will deprive your self of the revelation you would gain by doing the work yourself.

Along with your study, prayer and meditation you will want to apply what you are learning in day to day life as well as discussing it with other believers.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY for we are pilgrims on the earth.

Heb 11:1010 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. NIV

Heb 11:1616 Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. NIV

Heb 12:26-2826 Then [at Mount Sinai] His voice shook the earth, but now He has given a promise: Yet once more I will shake and make tremble not only the earth but also the [starry] heavens. [Hag 2:6.]
27 Now this expression, Yet once more, indicates the final removal and transformation of all [that can be] shaken — that is, of that which has been created — in order that what cannot be shaken may remain and continue. [Ps 102:26.]
28 Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship, with modesty and pious care and godly fear and awe; AMP

By now you will have a good understanding of the usage of king, kingdom, kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven in the Bible. In the following three steps you may want to pick a color for each word and use it to mark your Bible as you read.

Artwork by Graham Braddock

1 comment:

Duke said...

Peace be with the moderator, as well as those who read this message.
The time has come.
I am here to bring judgment to the living and the dead.
Pass this message on, the harvest is ripe.
The Kingdom is established.

The Faithful Witness