lions and lambs and wolves (and cows)…oh my!

And the lion shall lay down with the lamb…

Paints a beautiful picture of peace, doesn’t it?  Most people say that thinking that’s what the Bible says because well it’s on that little statue in the Christian bookstore.  But did you know that the Bible doesn’t say that at all?

Actually, in Isaiah 11:6 and in Isaiah 65:25 the lamb is paired up with a wolf, either dwelling with it or grazing with it.  There is a lion mentioned in both verses, but not juxtaposed with the lamb.  (In fact in Isaiah 11:6, the lion is actually paired with a calf.)  But people have said it for so long, and well it sounds nice and is great imagery, that I would imagine most folks think that comes straight from the Word.  (I did for a long time, too.)

You’ve probably also heard “pride comes before the fall,” but that’s not actually what the Bible says either.  Proverbs 16:18 actually says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  I know, I know.  It’s not really that much difference, but still different nonetheless.

Did you know that the Bible never says that there were three wise men?  I guess it was assumed that there three because there were three gifts presented to Jesus – gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  The Bible only said that magi came, but it never gives a specific number.

Now please don’t think that I’m saying that you should throw away your lion and lamb statue if you have one or get rid of any of your wise men from the nativity.

What I am saying is: Get into the scriptures.  Don’t take someone else’s word for it.  Read for yourself.  Know for yourself what God says.

When arguing a point or searching for justification, people will sometimes take scripture out of context.  And by itself, that one verse might seem to support what they say, but before you take it as truth, go back and read the verse in its context.  See what the verses before it and after it say.  Make sure that it really says what you thought it said.

If you’re unfamiliar with your Bible as far as where stuff is, what book comes after what, how to look something up in a concordance…or for that matter, what a concordance even is…then go grab your Bible and start digging.  Read over the table of contents and get an idea of how your Bible is put together.  Many Bibles have a concordance in the back, which is a great tool to use if you’re wanting to find a particular verse.  It’s sort of like an index.  You can look up a word from a verse you’re looking for and the concordance will list different verses where that word is used.  If your Bible doesn’t have a concordance in the back, or if the one is has isn’t detailed enough, then go online and check out an online Bible resource.  You can find so much information online – Hebrew word studies, topical searches, commentaries (which are explanations of scripture from various scholars), cross references to give you other verses related to the one you’re reading.  Here’s a few I’d suggest:

www.biblegateway.com

www.biblos.com

www.blueletterbible.com

In this day and age where people actually have the Bible on their cell phones, there’s really no excuse for us not to be familiar with God’s Word.  There’s no real excuse for us not to study God’s Word.  And really, there’s no real reason why we shouldn’t be passionate about God’s Word.  It paints us a beautiful picture of who He is…and who we are in Him.

Do you have any tips for getting familiar with God’s word that you’ve found helpful?

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