Monthly Archives: September 2016

Trusting God

Sometimes it is a hard thing to do, trusting God. We know we should, we know it is the right thing, and we know God is in control, yet we too often are afraid to just let God be God. Too often, we want to play God ourselves and second guess His will by implementing our own will. But the Bible teaches, and we have found, that this always leads to disastrous results.

Take, as an example, Sarah and Abraham. At age seventy-five, God told Abraham that he was going to make of him a great nation (Gen. 12:2,4). But Sarai was barren; she had no children (Gen. 11:32). This promise was indeed a great one for they were already passed the age of childbearing (Rom. 4:18-22). Later, Abraham pleaded with God, “What wilt Thou give me, seeing I go childless” (Gen. 15:2). God promised him once again that he that shall come out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir (Gen. 15:4). The Bible tells us Abraham believed God and He counted it for righteousness (Gen. 15:6).

Apparently, however, God was not moving quickly enough for Sarai, for, in the very next chapter, after ten years in the land of Canaan with no child yet (Gen. 16:1-3), Sarai gives to Abraham her handmaid, Hagar, so that he might have children by her (Gen. 16:2). The result of this union was Ishmael, when Abraham was eighty-six years old (Gen. 16:15,16).

The results of this action by Sarai and Abraham proved costly. First, there was conflict in their own family. There were hard feelings between Sarai and Hagar, and this no doubt placed stress on Abraham, as well (Gen. 16:5). Second, there were hard feelings between Ishmael and Isaac, the promised child (Gal. 4:29). Third, as indicated in the prophecy, the descendants of Ishmael would be “against every man and every man’s hand against him” (Gen. 16:12). The impact of this act is still being felt in the world today.

It was not until Abraham was ninety-nine years old–twenty-four years after the original promise–that God appeared to him to tell him that the next year would bring about the promised child (Gen. 17:21). Though Abraham and Sarah both laughed, God fulfilled His promise, in His own time and in His own way. Who would have ever thought such was possible? But God knew it all along!

God invites us to trust Him. “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (Psalm 2:12). “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7). “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed” (Psalm 37:3). “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).

Too many times, we think we know better than God. Some elders and preachers think to themselves, “Our attendance is low, we have to do something to bring people in.” So they begin to innovate in worship with entertainment and other unscriptural activities. They don’t trust God’s plan and seek comfort in their own. Some Christians don’t trust God in His doctrine and begin to twist it to suit their own designs. Other Christians don’t trust God’s promises and try, like Sarah, to force God’s hand and bring about God’s will through their own means. In the end, it all amounts to not trusting God.

Jesus promised if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness all the things we need, the necessities of life, will be added to us (Matt. 6:33). Hosea reminded us, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men” (Hosea 10:12-13).

We need to let God be God, trust in the Lord, be faithful to the end and leave the rest to Him.

Eric L. Padgett


Archie Campbell had a skit on the show Hee Haw where he would describe a situation and someone would say “That’s Good!” He would reply by saying, “No, That’s bad” and then explain why. Then someone would say “That is good.” But he would reply, “No, that’s bad.” and on and on it would go. If you followed Campbell’s view, it would be hard to know what “good” is. What do we mean when we say something is good? We use the word “good” in a lot of different ways. We say, “This food is good.” We say “He made good time.” Or, “They were good to us.” Or, “I have been a good boy.” But how does the Bible define “good”?

According to my count, Webster gives at least 40 different usages of the word “good.” Among these it can mean “to be desired or approved of” (i.e., “we live at peace with each other, which is good”). It can also mean “having the qualities required for a particular role” (i.e., “the schools here are good”). It can also mean “giving pleasure; enjoyable or satisfying: “You two go and have a good time.” Another usage is “possessing or displaying moral virtue” as in “I’ve met many good people who made me feel ashamed of my own shortcomings.”

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia gives similar usages:
1. Possessing desirable qualities, beneficial, agreeable, e.g. “good for food” (Gen. 2:9);
2. Moral excellence, piety: “to know good and evil” (Gen. 3:22);
3. Kind, benevolent: “The men were very good unto us” (I Sam. 25:15);
4. Serviceable, adequate, sufficient: “saw the light that it was good” (Gen. 1:4; so Gen. 1:10, Gen. 1:12, etc.);
5. Not small or deficient (full, complete): “a good old age” (Gen. 15: 15; Gen. 25:8); “a good dowry” (Gen. 30:20);”good trees” – “land” (II Kings 3:19, 3:25),
6. Not blemished, fair, honorable: “tender and good” (Gen. 18:7);
7. Pleasure-giving, happy: “glad of heart” (I Kings 8:66; Est. 5:9).
The one which we are most concerned with here is moral excellence or moral virtue.

In order to really and fully understand “good” in this moral sense we must first understand something of the nature of God. Jehovah created the world with certain physical, spiritual and moral realities. Whatever exists is because He created it in it’s initial form or because it flows out of His nature. God, Himself, is eternal, having always existed and will continue to always exist. Eternal existence is part of His nature. Because He is eternal, whatever is His nature has always been a part of His nature (e.g., Heb. 1:12; cf. 13:8).

Equally a part of His eternal nature is His goodness. The Bible declares God is good (Ps. 25:8; Nah. 1:7; Matt.19:17). This attribute does not exist apart from His nature. That is, it is not something that He does, but is a part of His nature. In other words, Goodness is not something external to the nature of God that He must either except or reject, but Goodness is part and parcel of His nature. We can understand this because we see the good things around us with which He has blessed us (Acts 14:17).

Because Goodness emanates from His nature and always has, then Goodness is only determined by His word-revelation of Himself to man and not by any other standard. Goodness is not determined by my feelings, by the teaching or life of my parents or by what a school teacher or professor may tell me, or even a preacher, nor by tradition or even biology.

The famous scientist Jonas Salk once said: “I judge things from an evolutionary perspective — ‘How does this serve and contribute to the process of our own evolution?’ — rather than think of good and evil in moral terms. I see the triumph of good over evil as a manifestation of the error-correcting process of evolution.” How sad that he would confuse the divine nature of Goodness with the non-existent, cold, materialistic, blind processes of evolution.

The standard of moral and spiritual goodness depends entirely on God. “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God” (III John 11). “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Eric L. Padgett

Internet Resources For Bible Study

In the last two entries we talked about Bible study computer programs and online Bible study sites that would aid us in studying the Bible. In this installment, I want to mention a few sites that can be found on the internet that are helpful in studying the Bible. These sites are not directly related to textual studies, but provide resources that can be used in studying the text or Biblical topics.

A great site that provides links to important, classic works of the brotherhood is from the International College of the Bible. They have a page called “Gospel Books” that provides links to these classic works. These books are in pdf format and can be downloaded free of charge. If a Christian had this library, he would have at his fingertips over 560 works, many of which are classic volumes, though some are more contemporary. These works include volumes from Alexander Campbell, Benjamin Franklin, Whiteside, Boles and Stone and many more. Bookmark this site and come to it often. You will not be disappointed.

A good site for Bible history related material is found at Bible History Online ( The site is constantly being updated and new material provided but the material there is already very good. It also provides links to other sites dealing with these same issues and provides many extensive quotes from Bible dictionaries on these historical issues. A site called Bible Geocoding claims to locate every identifiable place mentioned in the Bible. It claims to have 21,768 photos of 1183 different places. It uses Flckr images so not all of these photos would be relevant, but with a little effort, you can find useful images that will aid you in your study. is also a good sight for high quality images of the Bible lands. This site provides limited free images, but if you want the higher quality images, and many more of them, then you have to purchase their collection of discs of photos of the Bible lands. Still, some good images are available for free if you right click and save the image. Also, they provide links at the bottom of the page which lead to other web sites dealing with the same place.

Another good resource for Bible study is sound brotherhood publications. There are several brotherhood sites that provide access to back issues of good brotherhood periodicals. The first I will mention is the Bellview church of Christ site which provides back issues of the Defender and their local bulletin called The Beacon. The back issues can be searched by author and title. The site has recently been updated. These brotherhood publications have been providing sound and doctrinal articles for decades and these can be studied with great profit.

Another good publication that can be studied with profit and has been archived online is Fulton County Gospel News. The articles here reach back into the early 1950’s and provide a wealth of studies from the scriptures and much profitable reading. Yet another publication that is no longer printed is Banner of Truth. This publication was edited by Walter Pigg, who is now deceased, but his writings are helpful. Contending for the Faith, a journal dealing with brotherhood issues, has several years of back issues available online. Seek the Old Paths also has back issues available and it is searchable by word or phrase.

The Christian Courier, edited by Wayne Jackson, has good material also available online. Much of his work deals with studying the various doctrines of the Bible. Also, if you are looking for good articles on Christian evidences, the premier brotherhood site is Apologetics Press which sends out hard copies of its magazine, Reason and Revelation, but it also provides many of those articles on-line free of charge.

Let me also suggest that public forum sites like Facebook can be very useful in Bible study. There are church of Christ related groups dedicated to answering Bible questions and discussing Bible issues. Depending on whom the moderators are and who they allow to become members of the group, you can benefit from the discussion.  One must always be careful to let the Bible and reason be his guide, for many wild and fanciful views might be espoused by some. Always try the spirits!

Another useful site is Youtube. Many sound congregations post their sermons and services online. Some, like WVBS (World Video Bible School), provide whole courses online. Also, Youtube can be used to travel to the Bible lands. I recently watched a guided tour of Bible places entirely online from Youtube. Biblical culture can be explored here. For example, did you ever wonder what a shofar (horn) sounds like? You can listen to a shofar being blown at the western wall.  Listen to it reverberate through the hills.  Can you imagine what the inhabitants of Jericho would have felt when they heard the sound of the shofar being blown as the ark was carried around the city (Josh. 6:1-20)?

Another good sight is Google Books. Google Books provides access to a countless number of volumes. Those under copyright protection are limited as to how they can be viewed. However, those now in public domain, which include many important, older volumes can be found and downloaded for future use.


Eric L. Padgett

On-Line Bible Study Sites

Though some Bible study programs are relatively inexpensive, not everyone can afford them. But if you have access to the internet, and you can probably get it through your public library if no where else, you can still access valuable Bible study tools. The following list provides links to some online Bible study resources that can be helpful. As with Bible computer programs or any hard copy volume, there is always a need to be careful. Some sites, volumes, and webmasters have certain denominational biases that will sometimes show through and, unless you become aware of these, you might fall prey to false teaching. So be cautious.

The first online Bible study source that I would suggest is called It is described as the “largest collection of online Bible study tools and resources.” From my count, it has forty-four different versions of the Bible, including modern and historical Bibles. This does not take into account the original language versions nor the versions in other modern, non-English translations. StudyLight “has more Bible commentaries, encyclopedias, dictionaries, lexicons and original language tools than any other website on the internet!” Under it’s Bible studies tab, it has a total of 107 commentaries, 6 concordances, 27 dictionaries and 8 encyclopedias. It has tabs for “Original Language Tools,” “Historical Writings,” and resources for preachers which they erroneously style “Pastoral Resources.”

Many of the volumes are the same ones you would find in free programs like e-Sword and other for-profit software packages. It’s language works are meager, though it does have a helpful selection of Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin translations for more serious study. It’s historical writings consist mostly of Edersheim and Josephus which, while essential, could be padded with other works. It’s “Pastoral Resources” have verbal illustrations and quotations for those preparing sermons and Bible lessons. These are useful for the preacher, but not exactly helpful to the Bible student, per se.

Another very helpful Bible study site is called This site provides 25 different versions of the Bible and multiple commentaries and other helps. What I especially like about this site is that it offers all these resources at one time virtually on the same page. For instance, when I search for Matthew 24:1, a page comes up with all the translations of this verse, some commentary with a link to a page with more commentaries, and some other links related to this verse.

There are icons at the top of the page which will take you directly to different, helpful pages. When I click on the icon for Strong’s, for instance, it takes me to a page with several Bibles linked to Strong’s Dictionary so that when I mouse over a word, it provides another link to a page with the definition of that word. It also contains relevant maps which links to a page with additional entries from Bible encyclopedias concerning that subject. is very helpful and would serve as a nice stand alone software package.

Another online Bible study resource is a site called The statement of faith on this site shows that it is clearly Calvinistic, advocating eternal security and the direct operartion of the Holy Spirit. So one must be careful as to the conclusions that are made by the webmaster. With this in mind, however, the site is very useful for Bible study because it contains a wealth of information from various commentaries and language works.

The site allows you to search a verse from over 20,000 journal articles. You can search for a verse by commentaries and a very comprehensive listing of commentaries will be provided. Again, some of the analysis must be sifted carefully because of the denominational bias, but the resources are there to be gleaned.

Another very good site is called This excellent but simple site is merely a compilation of links to many different resources. There are a host of links to classic commentaries. It has great links to works on original languages and to the writings of the church fathers as well as maps of Bible lands derived from satellite imagery. It has many other resources which I will mention next week. It would take much precious time to try to find these links yourself, but they are compiled here for you in one very helpful site.

Another site I would suggest is It really does not provide anything the other sites do not, but it is in a little different format and may be better suited to some than the others are.

There are many other sites that are designed for Bible study but I have found these to be helpful. Next week I would like to suggest some sites than provide additional aids to Bible study.

Eric L. Padgett