eBible College

BLCS–the Better Way for a Theological and Ministerial Education

Posted on Updated on

BLCS - a better way

After a recent radio interview for my new book, The Shinar Directive, the hosts began talking about education.  One of these men was just eight semester credit hours away from completing his secular undergraduate degree.  He had completed all but 8 SCHS before being saved.  Now he was wanting to continue in a theological track.  I suggested the best option for he would be to complete his secular degree and then enroll into a Master of Divinity Program.  The road block is that his college is now charging $1,000.00 per credit hour!  How can anyone afford such high tuition?

At BLCS, we are here for only two purposes:  (1)  train aspirants of the fivefold ministry, and (2) to provide college level training for any believer that wants to get deeper into God’s Word.  Well, actually there is a third goal:  to keep it affordable!

At BLCS, we labor to keep our tuition within reach of any believer.  Our tuition is $65.00 at the undergraduate level and only $75.00 at the graduate.  This is less than 10% of what traditional colleges and seminaries charge.  We operate BLCS as a ministry to the Body of Christ.  There is no need for the Guaranteed Student Loan Program.  We have an affordable monthly payment plan.  Students only purchase course materials when they need them.  Most of all, they graduate debt-free!  This is the way the Kingdom of God should operate.

If you have not taken a look at BLCS, I encourage you to visit our website at http://www.biblical-life.com  There is complete information available online.  You can also download our complete prospectus in PDF immediately or request an information packet be mailed to you.

Isn’t it time to get out of neutral and start moving forward in your education?  Now is the perfect time to enroll with Biblical Life College and Seminary!

Advertisements

The Ongoing War Against Christian Education

Posted on

Ongoing War Against Christian Education

Note:  This article was published by Raiders News Network, a leading source of information for believers worldwide.  View article on Raiders News.

 

The Ongoing War Against Christian Education

By Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

In a recent article, Michael Zigarelli (of the Christian Post) sounded an alarm that was heard around the Christian world.  The headline read, “The End of Christian Education.”  In this article, Michael shared:

 President Obama recently signed an executive order making it illegal for federal contractors to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. Sounds innocuous enough, but an unintended consequence may be the closing of Christian colleges and schools.

The order doesn’t directly affect private education, but its unprecedented refusal to exempt religious organizations surely will. Without this exemption the President has signaled to regulators that it’s open season on faith-based institutions.

Here’s one possible future: The order says if you want federal money you must hire gays. The US Department of Education decides that this applies to federal financial aid as well. Students are then prohibited from using their aid at colleges that do not hire gays. Christian colleges go out of business.

Here’s another future: With the exemption gone, accrediting bodies take the cue and insist that all colleges include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in their non-discrimination policies, revoking accreditation for those faith-based schools that won’t genuflect. Students are prohibited from using their aid at non-accredited colleges. Christian colleges go out of business.  [i]

What Mr. Zigarelli may not realize is that his revelation identifies one facet of the Elite’s stratagem to end most Christian education in this nation.  The tacit war of the Elite has been going on since the 1940’s.

 My Own Background and Perspective on This Tacit War

Early on in my ministerial preparation, I was fortunate to have a mentor named, Dr. Thomas McLachlan (or Dr. Mac, as we all affectionately called him).  Dr. Mac had completed both his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, and he was a retired U.S. Navy Chaplain.  During his long career, he had served on a committee with a regional accrediting association.  Those days on the committee were eye-opening for him.   He discovered that there were many anti-Christian agendas at play within the government and the regional accrediting association system.

Dr. Mac saw the gifting of God on my life for education.  While others were being trained for the pastorate in seminary, I was being trained to become an educator.  It was during our many discussions that he revealed to me that Department of Education approved accreditation and the Guaranteed Student Loan Program would eventually become instruments in the hands of the ungodly to first contaminate Christian education, and then to eventually close it down.

His influence on my life and the concepts he taught me about Christian education would forever alter how I developed the educational ministry that God was placing in my heart.  I created an educational system that was not embedded in the Elite’s system of educational control – no governmental accreditation and no participation in the Guaranteed Student Loan Program.   With the choke hold that the Elite maintain on education in America, it seemed like an impossible vision.  Yet, I was determined not to compromise in the vision and its execution for the Kingdom of God.

The Accreditation Pitfalls

Accreditation in America was originally nongovernmental by design.  Educational expert, Dr. H.R. Kells (from Rutgers University) wrote in his book, Self-Study Processes:  A Guide for Postsecondary and Similar Service-Oriented Institutions and Programs, a definition of accreditation:

Accreditation is a voluntary process conducted by peers via nongovernmental agencies to accomplish at least two things – to attempt on a periodic basis to hold one another accountable to achieve stated, appropriate institutional or program goals; and to access the extent to which the institution or program meets established standards.[ii]

At one time, Dr. Kells’ book was required for any postsecondary school seeking accreditation.  It is unfortunate that the American Council on Education did not continue his work after the 3rd edition.

Originally, the institutions themselves established accrediting associations and sought to keep the long arm of the government out of the process.  Political agendas spread like the tentacles of a cancer into anything that is connected to government.   The Department of Education (USDOE) was established in1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. [iii]  By 1958, its role had dramatically changed.  After World War II, the USDOE began overseeing the GI Bill.  Then came Title IV funding or the Guaranteed Student Loan Program.  With the millions of dollars that came with these programs, the influence of the USDOE and its approved accrediting system (regional accreditation) began to hold a powerful sway over all educational institutions in the United States.  A system that was perfect for the Elite to begin controlling and using for their own agenda.

Dr. Kells warns about the misuse of accreditation:

 Some of the uses of accreditation at times may not correspond well with the basic nature of the process.  An example, as explained earlier, is its use to transfer credit.  Some uses have made the realization of accreditation’s basic purposes more difficult.  Some people believe that the requirement that institutions be accredited in order to apply for federal funds, and furthermore the use of accrediting to enforce social policy, are examples of this misuse.  At times the uses may be expressions of raw political leverage unrelated to program quality or reasonable needs in light of circumstances.  That is, accreditation can be erroneously cited to promote or discourage change in a given setting.  [iv]

This governmental or political leverage is a reality in many postsecondary Christian institutions today.   Many of our leading Christian universities, Bible colleges and seminaries have annual budgets that range from five to one hundred million dollars or more a year.  Meeting those budgets is dependent upon governmental accreditation and the Guaranteed Student Loan Program.  Compromise with the ever-increasing, anti-Christian agenda has become a game of survival for most Christian schools of higher learning.

Over the years, I have received reports from both educators at regionally accredited Christian schools and their students.  Here is a brief list of some of the complaints I have received:

  •  Schools under constant pressure to modify their curriculum or statement of faith from the Word of God to a more politically correct position.
  •  Schools pressured to hire professors solely based on their academic pedigree, rather than biblical orthodoxy.
  •  Students having their theses or dissertations rejected because the Bible was referenced too many times, and there were not enough secular citations.
  •  Tenured professors slowly began to leave orthodox theologies and began teaching subjects more within the secularization movement within Christianity.

Many educators do not share the severity of this situation in public, because of fear of retaliation from the accrediting associations.  In the early 90’s, I was attending a conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors in Dallas, Texas.  During those days at the conference, I was in a meeting for Christian educators and was seated next to the Vice Chancellor of one of the largest Baptist universities in our nation.  While we sat together, we discussed issues facing Christian institutions.  This man of God looked me straight in the eyes and said, “One day our university will need to relinquish our regional accreditation to maintain our biblical stance.”  His face was set like flint, and his eyes were like fire as he said those words to me.  Our open discussion left me with the impression that he was under a constant battle to maintain orthodoxy at his university.

If we could have an open and honest discussion with educators across this nation, in which they had no fear of retaliation from their accreditors, their stories would convey just how powerful this tacit war against Christian education has been for decades.  Our prayers and appreciation go out to all the Christian educators that have refused to compromise!

The War May Be Coming to a Close

As Christian schools continue to fight for their biblical soundness, the Elite are preparing the possible last two salvos to destroy traditional Christian education as we know it:

1.  The Guaranteed Student Loan Program (Title IV Funds) is Now Implemented Through the Federal Government.

When the Federal Government took over the lending of the funds for the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, it was presented as a good thing for education.  There are a few points of interest that most people do not know about the program:

  • The program perpetuates the continual increase of tuition at most universities.  The degrees in certain fields now cost more than a lifetime of work in the field can pay back.  The average student debt from an undergraduate degree at a state university is now over $30,000. [v]  The average tuition at an Ivy League school is between $38,000 to $50,000 per year (as of 2012).  [vi]
  •  You cannot claim bankruptcy on your educational debt.  It is with you for life and can be taken out of your social security during retirement.
  •  The minimum payments on the Guaranteed Student Loan Program usually do not even cover the interest on the loan.  You could literally be paying on it after retirement.  There is a loan forgiveness program in place that requires 120 timely payments in a row, plus a number of years in public service (i.e., indoctrination into political correctness).

As the federal budget becomes more restrictive, I believe we will see a day in which only government approved programs at secular institutions will be eligible for participation in the Guaranteed Student Loan Program.   Christian institutions that refuse to succumb to the political agendas will lose their Title IV status.  This will bankrupt traditional Christian institutions overnight.

  1. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Agenda Threat

As Michael Zigarelli has already shared, Christian institutions refusing to include classes promoting alternate sexual lifestyles and/or refusing to hire LGBT professors will lose either their accreditation or ability to receive Title IV funds.  Again, this would bankrupt traditional Christian institutions overnight.

Could this happen in America?  Michael tells us later on in his article:

Absurd? Alarmist? It’s already happening to Gordon College in Massachusetts.  Gordon’s president merely co-signed a letter requesting that this executive order exempt religious institutions. Enter the Secret Police. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges is now reconsidering Gordon’s accreditation. As their decision goes, so goes Gordon. And as Gordon goes, so may go Christian higher Ed. [vii]

The Solution – Leave Babylon

When we developed Biblical Life College and Seminary back in 1982, the vision was simple:  provide the same level of excellence in Christian education that is offered in traditional Christian institutions of higher learning, offer it nontraditionally (through home study), make it affordable, and keep it away from the influence of the Elite.  Those have been our guiding principles over the years, and we have refused to compromise, even at our own expense.

Over the past three decades, we have been training aspirants of the Gospel ministry through biblically and academically sound curriculum.  Our professors are involved in full-time ministry within the fields they teach – this keeps our tuition low and our curriculum practical.  We offer affordable monthly payment plans on tuition – when our students graduate, they are debt-free (and not burdened down with student loans).   Today, we have thousands of graduates that are accomplished pastors, bishops, heads of international ministries, and published authors.

Every semester, we hear from new students coming out of the “traditional system” that are relieved to be free of the secular influence.  Through their studies at Biblical Life, they see the Word of God and their Christian faith come alive with untold clarity.  We have received many testimonies that one module will get them deeper into the Word and Christian living than an entire semester in their former schools.

Eventually, we may have to reexamine degrees in the Body of Christ.  The option to issue any degree may eventually be taken away from us altogether.  Years ago, God was leading us to make many changes to our ministry; God spoke these words to my wife, “One day, a diploma from Biblical Life will have more weight in the Body of Christ than a degree from traditional schools.”  I have pondered those words in my heart for years.  It was not until recently, as I examined the proverbial handwriting on the wall, that her prophetic word became clear.  There is a paradigm shift coming to education in the Body of Christ, as the Elite labor to disarm Christian education in America.  It will become paramount for those preparing for ministry to seek out a school that has not entangled itself in the Elite’s stronghold on education and has remained true to the Word and Kingdom of God.


 

About the AuDr. Michael K. Lakethor

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Dr. Michael Lake is the Chancellor and Founder of Biblical Life College and Seminary.  He has served as an educational consultant for many Christian organizations worldwide.  Dr. Lake has authored many seminary courses and served as a mentor for thousands of students throughout the world.   Dr. Lake is a contributing author for the best-selling book, “Blood on the Altar:  The Coming Christian vs. Christian War.”

 

 

Endnotes:

[i] Zigarelli, Michael.  The End of Christian Education.  The Christian Post.  http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-end-of-christian-education-124351/

[ii] Kells, H.R.  Self-Study Processes – Third Edition: A Guide for Postsecondary and Similar Service-Oriented Institutions and Programs.  American Council on Education, MacMillan Series on Higher Education, New York.  Copyright 1988.  Page 9.

[iii] The Federal Role in Education.  http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/role.html

[iv] Ibid.  Page 12.

[v] http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/17/pf/college/student-debt/

[vi] http://blog.collegetuitioncompare.com/2012/09/2012-ivy-league-tuition-comparison.html

[vii] Ibid.

October is Enrollment Month at Biblical Life College and Seminary

Posted on Updated on

EnrollmentYou are done getting your children back into school, now it is time for you to take the next step into a more effective ministry by enrolling into one of the outstanding degree programs at Biblical Life!

During the month of October, we are making the following special offers so you can begin fulfilling the desire God has placed within your heart for a deeper understanding of His Word.

Option 1

Enroll into any program at BLCS using Plan B (the Monthly Payment Plan) and receive a $75.00 credit toward BLCS books and lectures.

Option 2

Enroll into any program at BLCS using Plan C (Full Tuition with Enrollment) and receive the following discounts on tuition:

  • 35% Discount on All Diploma and Degree Programs (Except the Master of Divinity)
  • 40% Discount on All Master of Divinity Degree Programs

Whether you are called to ministry or just have a hunger to understand God’s Word at a deeper level, BLCS has a program for you!

This is the best offer you will see from BLCS in 2013. Don’t stay on the sidelines – enroll today!

Offer ends October 31, 2013.

Download the BLCS Catalog in PDF

Download the BLCS Enrollment Application in PDF

Biblical Life Mentor: A Routine Examination

Posted on Updated on

BLM-Logo

 

A Routine Examination

By Michael K. Lake, Th.D.

productive_officeI have been dealing with nontraditional theological education for over thirty years. During those years, I have seen students progress through their programs smoothly from start to finish, others do well for a while and then stall out, and finally others that never progress beyond opening the box of materials once they arrived in the mail. My heart has always been to move all of my students to the first category of smoothly moving through the materials from enrollment to graduation. In this process we have rewritten our materials, produced extensive audio lectures (which our students love), and finally begun filming on DVD. While the depth of insight into the Word of God and spiritual transformation has greatly increased for those that move smoothly through the courses, the overall percentage of completion has only increased by about 5%.

During the same period, I have become very interested in personal productivity. If you were aware of all of the various aspects of Biblical Life (our local congregation, the college & seminary, and publishing – whether in book form or video), you would understand why I am so involved with the concepts of productivity: both personally and professionally. Without the concepts of productivity that I have learned and implemented over the years, I could not have kept up with the seminary, much less a congregation and publishing ministry.

Observing from the viewpoint of being involved in education for over three decades and now productivity for a little over two, I am convinced that the difference between the students that move smoothly through the programs and those that don’t progress is the result of positive routines and habits.

You may be saying to yourself: “But you don’t know all that is happening in my life – all the demands and chaos.” The truth is that we are all swamped with demands, and (whether it is home life, ministry life, or the work place) chaos is usually status quo.

I recently finished a new book co-authored by someone that I respect in the field of productivity and the creative mind, Scott Belsky. His book entitled “Making Ideas Happen” has become the “go-to” book for those working in creative fields. His team at Behance developed a new book entitled, “Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.” In this book, he made two very profound statements:[i]

"It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility.  While no workplace is perfect, it turns out that our gravest challenges are a lot more primal and personal.  Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it.  Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than reactively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen."

"You can surrender your day-to-day and the potential of your work to the burdens that surround you.  Or, you can audit the way you work and own the responsibility of fixing it." 

Did you catch that? Let me repeat just one sentence from Scott’s forward to the book that is paramount to our decision: “Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it.”

So let’s rule out learning difficulties and extreme family emergencies regarding the studies of our students – which is a small percentage. The difference between those students that made progress and those that did not continue is their individual practices. I believe “individual practices” can be defined as our daily routines and habits.

Routines and habits may sound like the same thing, but they are not. Before I examine what routines are, I want to take a look at habits.

Habits can be defined as an action or series of actions that we do automatically. In other words, we have done them so many times that we now have to give little thought in their activation or completion. Some habits are good and others are bad. It is kind of alarming to realize that we can have habits that are bad for us that can activate without conscious thought and be carried out without our realizing it! One could compare bad habits to what gathers on the bottom of ships as they navigate the ocean: barnacles. As those barnacles increase on that which is unseen (the bottom of the ship in the water), it impedes progress on that which can be seen (the upper part of the ship above the water).

One of the great mysteries of life is how to get rid of bad habits? The truth is that you can’t. You can overwrite them with new habits. For many, trying to find a way of replacing bad habits with good ones is like playing the lottery: millions will play, but few win. At least that is the way it seems until you add another factor to the equation: routines.

Every single habit we have (good or bad) is the result of our environment and our reaction to it. A specific environment will trigger a habit response. The environmental trigger can activate habits of defeat, procrastination, distraction, etc., in our lives. Therefore, the first step in overcoming bad habits regarding our studies (or any other area) is to modify the environment through an examination of our routines.

I want to focus specifically on dealing with education in this article. So let’s look at what happens when a student attends a traditional college. The student is placed into an environment in which learning, studying, and completing assignments are the main focus. Everyone is going to classes, using the library, and spending their evenings in study and writing. The environment facilitates and reinforces good habits regarding learning.

Our challenge is to systematically modify the environment in our homes or pastoral offices that facilitate and reinforce good study habits, which produce marked results in moving through the programs you are taking at BLCS. This may seem overwhelming, but it can be simplified.

In the book I have already quoted from, “Managing Your Day-to-Day,” I discovered that many famous authors use routines and their environment as triggers for productivity in their given profession. Here is a list of what some of them would do as a part of their established routine to write:

1. Clear off the desk or table of everything, and then lay out only the things needed to write.

2. Listen to a particular song or album. (Always the same – to create a specific environment.)

3. Have a cup of coffee in a specific cup. Maybe include a cookie or something small and enjoyable.

4. Study and write for one to two hours.

If they wanted to study and write daily, they would go through this routine every single day without fail. If it was to write on Mondays and Thursdays, they did it every week and never missed.

At first, very little will happen. You go through the routine and stumble or get little done. Over time, the mind understands what you are after. Within is few weeks, the moment you start clearing off your desk or table, you will feel a switching to study and writing mode within your mind. You have established a new environment through a routine that activates a new habit of study.

This understanding has helped me greatly. I have always been about to study and development sermon/lecture notes. I struggled in the area of moving from developing outlines to writing. I guess I use different mental/spiritual muscles to develop outlines than I do in writing. For me, writing required some type of inspiration. A certain mood had to hit me before I could write. The problem was that sometimes the mood only hit me three or four times a year. The result was that I could write and do it well a few times a year.

While reading and meditating on the concept of using routines, the light finally came on. I do something similar every week with sermon preparation and delivery (funny thing about being a pastor – the congregation wants to hear something inspired, new, and anointed every week whether the mood hits me or not). I realized that I have little routines during the week that create the environment to hear from God. Then there are other little routines that help trigger the research and review. Finally, every single Saturday morning I am up by 6 AM to type out my sermon notes (which I will deliver at 10 AM that morning to my congregation). This is so strongly embedded in me that even when I travel to speak and have all of my lectures notes prepared beforehand, at 6 AM on Saturday I am up reviewing that morning’s session to see if God wants me to make any adjustments.

I now have some newly developed routines for writing. I have been working with them the same time, on the same days each week. The result is that I don’t have to wait for the mood to hit me; I am creating a new environment that triggers the mood or inspiration. In fact, I am kind of shocked at how quickly I have moved into a routine of writing. It is really exciting for me. I have already developed several new articles and begun outlining a new book. Some of the articles may never see the light of day. Others may be amalgamated into other projects. But the block is gone, and the creativity has begun to flow.

What routines have you developed that produce successful study times for your coursework from BLCS? Maybe you don’t have any, and that is the reason you are waiting for the mood to hit you to study and move forward. The good news is that through the power of routine, you can establish a new environment that facilitates good study habits.

Maybe it’s time for a routine examination in your life (i.e., examine your routines). If what you are currently trying isn’t working, change the environment and look for things that create the atmosphere for progress!


Endnotes

[i] Glei, Jocelyn – General Editor.  Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.   Amazon Publishing, Las Vegas, NV.  Copyright 2013.  Forward.  Kindle Edition.


 

Michael K. Lake, Th.D.

 

Dr. Lake is the Chancellor and Founder of Biblical Life College and Seminary, the Director of Biblical Life Publishing, and the Senior Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly.  He has been involved in the education of aspirants of ministry for over thirty years.  He also serves on the International Board of Restoration Fellowship International.

The Prophetic, the New Heart, and Fulfilling Your Destiny DVD Series

Posted on Updated on

PHD-LogoDid you know that the first three kings of Israel walked in things that were beyond their dispensation and reflect the work of God in the lives on New Testament believers? Did you know that the prophetic anointing can release new giftings into your life or that you have a responsibility to guard and grow them?

In this new series, you will learn from the lives of Saul, David, and Solomon. You will learn from both their successes and failures. You will also learn the ancient Hebrew secret that made King David stand out and allowed him to build a throne that one day Messiah would sit upon!

You will also learn how to avoid the pitfalls the enemy uses to move you away from your destiny as well as how to flow with God to move into it!

4 one hour sessions on four DVDs.

$32.00

Purchase Set

Is More Than the Bible Needed for Bible College and Seminary?

Posted on

book-glasses2 Timothy 4:13 (NKJV)

"[13] Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments."

This past week, I had an interesting conversation with a young man that was investigating the possibilities of completing his undergraduate degree through Biblical Life. As we discussed the programs, he asked if we used more than the Bible in our studies. When I replied "of course," he began to chastise me as if I had committed some sin for using materials beside the Word of God in our degree programs.

The attitude of this young man surprised me. When I first surrendered to ministry as a young Baptist boy, my training (even before attending Bible College) was that a minister’s library was essential and, over the years, would become a trusted resource in ministering to the people of God. Great ministers of the past were known for two things: their prayer lives and their diligence in study. All of them had substantial personal libraries. I still remember standing in awe of one great pastor’s office in St. Louis. All four walls of his spacious office were shelves filled with books from floor to ceiling. When he opened his mouth behind the pulpit, the wealth of his knowledge of the Word would fill the hearts and minds of his listeners.

What Made the Apostle Paul so Qualified to Minister to the Gentiles?

The Apostle Paul was a graduate of the School of Hillel. In fact, the wise Gameliel (found in the Book of Acts and highly respected by the Sanhedrin) was Paul’s teacher. Under Gameliel’s instruction, Rabbi Saul (Paul’s Hebrew name) was thoroughly trained in the Torah, the writings, and the prophets. With a solid foundation in the Torah, he was then trained in understanding Greek/Roman mythology and philosophy. He was well versed in showing the superiority of God’s Word over the pagan concepts of these gentile cultures. Without the extensive training he received under Gameliel’s watchful eye, he would have been ill equipped to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.

We should note in 2 Timothy that Paul asked young Timothy to bring his books to him. Most commentators believe that the parchments refer to his scrolls of the Torah, writings, and prophets. As far as the other books, we can only speculate as to what they were. We do know that by his differentiating the books from the parchments, they were not Scriptures.

It was also at the feet of Gameliel that Paul learned the art of writing epistles. It was the leadership style of Gameliel, as a leading member of the Sanhedrin, that Paul used as he was presented with problems throughout the Jewish community and, subsequently, addressed them with biblically based solutions through the writing of epistles. This may be the reason that we have so many writings by the Apostle Paul. His school years trained him to address issues in the communities of faith through the written response.

Foundations for the Hermeneutical Process:

Hermeneutics is the science of biblical interpretation. There are many levels to examine in the proper application of this science.

1. The first step is to look at the context of the sentence, then examine it within the chapter, and then the entire book. Finally look at the concept throughout the Scriptures. It is like dropping a pebble in a pond – all the ripples must be examined. Scripture always interprets Scripture.

2. The next step is to look at the historical and cultural settings of the Scriptures that you are examining. The New Testament has an abundance of Hebraic colloquialisms that are full of meaning. Many ministers completely misinterpret things that Jesus and the Apostles said because they do not understand what was culturally behind what was being said. Such understanding comes from additional books outside of the Word of God.

3. Understanding the basics of Hebrew and Greek is essential for any serious minister. Even if this understanding only comes from knowing your way around Strong’s Concordance, a good Bible dictionary, and lexicons such as Thayer’s for Greek and Brown, Drivers, Biggs for the Hebrew. Digging a little deeper into the original meanings will cause the Word to explode with deeper understanding that can be life-changing. All of these are books beyond just using the Bible.

4. What has God shared with the saints before us? It is right here that some will chide in "See, I do not want manmade doctrines." First, not everything written is manmade doctrines. Many of the saints of old had devotional lives that would put most of today’s ministers to shame. Second, many of their books were what they preached. Like Spurgeon, all those volumes are their sermons written down to inspire those that followed. God even instructed the Prophet Habakkuk to write down what was given to him.

Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)
2 Then the LORD answered me and said: "Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.

If you do not want to expose yourself to the sermons of these men, then what makes you think others should be exposed to yours? They just need to read the Bible, right?

Finally, after the conversation, I looked up his previous school. Their claim to fame was using only the Word of God. Following this model, they were hard pressed to come up with the curriculum to fulfill the proper requirements for degree programs. They were offering Associate Degrees by completing only 36 semester credit hours and the Bachelor Degree for completing 64! In fact, their Associate, Bachelor, and Master programs combined fall a good number of credits short of a true Bachelor Degree (120). Taking such a strong stance on studying the Word only, and then utilizing such poor standards academically, can bring reproach to the name of Christ. As believers, a commitment to excellence should exist in biblical interpretation, academic standards, and lifestyle.

Let us all have excellence of life, ministry, and education through due diligence in our examination of the greatest book on earth – the Written Word of God!

2 Timothy 2:15 (AMP)

[15] Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

===============================

© Copyright 2010 by Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E. All Rights Reserved.

===============================

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. In 2009, Dr. Lake also established Biblical Life Publishing to make the same materials that thousands have enjoyed at BLCS available to everyone. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s "Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans," Sterling’s "Who’s Who Executive Edition," and the "Who’s Who Among American Teachers" for his accomplishments in ministry.