Tag Archives: Bible study


By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

I’m proud to be an American, and to live in a country in which religious freedom is one of our cherished rights. (Within reason, of course. We don’t grant the freedom to murder others, even if doing so is part of one’s religion.) Freedom-loving American Muslims should have religious freedom, too, and do have it. Such Muslims are not murderous fanatics. They are peace-loving persons. But Christians need to understand that they do not worship the same God as Muslims. Muslims already know this to be a fact. Christians are Trinitarians. Muslims are not. Christians believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. Muslims do not. Christians pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Muslims do not. So, this is a big problem for Christians in attendance when a Muslim prays at a public event, such as the Republican National Convention, being held this week in Cleveland, Ohio. To endorse such prayers is contrary to Biblical teaching. The Muslim’s god, “Allah,” is a false god, an idol. The Bible, which is the Word of God, says the following in the last sentence of the last chapter of the apostle John’s first letter: “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” (The quote is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.) One way to guard ourselves from idols/false gods, is to not endorse prayers made to them.



By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

FRED SAYS, “Hi, John! How have you been? I haven’t seen you for a few days.”
JOHN SAYS, “I’ve been fine, Fred! I watched every game of the World Series, including all 12 innings of the last game. It was long, but it was worth it. How about you, Fred? Did you watch the World Series? I know you like baseball.”
FRED SAYS, “Well, I watched as much as I could. But I missed some of it so we could go to a Bible study that meets 1 night a week.”
JOHN SAYS, “Huh? You skipped part of the World Series so you could attend a week night Bible study? You attend church on Sundays, too. How many hours a week to you go to church? It sounds like too many to suit me!”
FRED SAYS, “We attend 2 hours on Sunday, and 1 hour on a week night. That adds up to 3 hours a week, plus the short amount of time it takes to drive there and back. How many hours did World Series last, John? Or just the last game of 12 innings?”
JOHN SAYS, “Never mind, Fred, never mind. I get the point!”


By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD
This is a reminder that God (by which I mean the Triune God who has made himself known in the Bible and in the person of Jesus Christ) is not a Republican, Democrat, Tea Partyer, Socialist, or one from any other political party. He’s an Independent. That is, he’s independent of it all, being, as the Bible says, the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity. He is the one who transcends anything and everything, in every way. He is the absolute and final authority of the universe, the one who is the standard of behavior, and who has made his expectations known in the pages of Holy Scripture. He is the one who, as the Bible says, does not, in contrast to the rest of us, change. He is the one who refuses to be the personal servant of self-centered humanity. He is the one who will not be put on a leash and led around by or for any political party. He will not, and cannot, be put in the box of any political party. He opposes wrong wherever it is found, and supports right wherever it is found, and will hold us accountable for our behavior. He is not now running for political office, nor has he ever done so. Therefore, he does not change his views on issues to get more votes. He does not make promises he cannot keep. He will not send us a bumper sticker if we promise to vote fo him. He will not send us a tote bag if we donate to his campaign fund, nor does he ask for donations to his fund. He never worries about someone finding out the hidden truth about his private life and making it known to the world. That’s why Christians sing that grand, old hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.”

Questions And Answers About The Bible

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

Yes, and there are many good reasons to believe it is the Word of God. Instead of listing some of the reasons, here is a suggestion: read it with an open mind and discover its contents for yourself. I suggest you start by reading the New Testament, and then read the Old Testament. Note the many statements affirming it to be the Word of God. One of the most well-known is 2 Timothy 3:15 – 17. If you want to read a good article on this subject, read R. A. Torrey’s article called “Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible Is The Word Of God.” It was written in 1898. It is still in print, and can be read on the internet from a variety of sources.
Yes. Two examples are the Wycliffe Bible and the Geneva Bible. These and some other pre-King James Version translations are still in print, and some, and maybe all, are also available on the internet. One of many interesting books on the history of old English Bible translations is by David O. Beale. It is called “A Pictorial History Of Our English Bible.” I have profitably read it two times.
Yes, of course. The Bible never ceases to be the Word of God.
Such a claim is plainly false, and should not be accepted. The King James Version is the Word of God in English, but so are the English Bible translations that preceded it. The publication of the King James Version did not in any way cause those translations to become less than the Word of God. The Bible is always the Word of God.
Yes. Absolutely. There is no logical, defensible, justifiable reason to say this cannot be possible. But it is more than possible. It is a provable reality. There is no evidence whatever that the translators of the King James Version believed their translation was the final translation of the Word of God into English. They did not believe, as many wrongly believe in our day, that their translation alone was the Word of God for the English speaking people of the world. Nor should we. Good translations of the Bible into English have been made since the publication of the King James Version. Some examples are the New American Standard (updated in maybe 1995), the English Standard Version, the New King James Version, and the Modern English Version.
In that case, I recommend at least two translations: 1) The New King James Version (NKJV). 2) The Modern English Version (MEV). The NKJV has been in print for many years, and the MEV was published in 2014. I have been reading the NKJV for several years, and I have been reading the MEV for several months. I have read the old KJV at least 40 times, and as I read the NKJV and the MEV, it is easy to see the similarities they have to the KJV, and their differences from it. But their differences are not so great as to keep one from reading the NKJV and the MEV. If you don’t want to buy these translations, both of them can be read on the Bible Gateway website, and perhaps on other websites. I have a preference for the KJV, NKJV, and the MEV. But I refuse to make this preference a test of fellowship with other Christians.

“The One Condidtion Of Salvation,” by Lewis Sperry Chafer

Below is chapter 5 of an excellent book by Lewis Sperry Chafer. This book, and others by the same author, are referred to below. It is hoped that you will read it with an open mind, for it clarifies what one must do to be saved by Jesus Christ. The whole book can be read online by clicking on this link to it: http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/OtherBookTitles/SalvationbyLewisSperryChafer1917/tabid/354/Default.aspx

SALVATION by Lewis Sperry Chafer, Bible Teacher and Author of “Satan,” “True Evangelism,” “The Kingdom in History and Prophecy,” “He that is Spiritual,” etc,
Copyright © 1917
NOTWITHSTANDING all that has been divinely accomplished for the unsaved, they are not saved by it alone. Salvation is an immediate display of the power of God within the lifetime and experience of the individual, and is easily distinguished from those potential accomplishments finished nearly two thousand years ago in the cross.
As has been stated, salvation is a work of God for man, rather than a work of man for God. No aspect of salvation, according to the Bible, is made to depend, even in the slightest degree, on human merit or works. Great stress is laid on the value of good works which grow out of a saved life, but they do not precede salvation or form any part of a basis for it. It, therefore, is revealed that the first issue between God and an unsaved person in this age is that of receiving Christ, rather than that of improving the manner of life, however urgent such improvement may be.
This insistence seems to mere human reason to be an indirect, if not aimless, means of obtaining the moral improvement of men. The need of moral improvement is most evident, and simply to try to help men to be better would seem to be the direct and logical thing to do. However, the divine program strikes deeper and purposes a new creation out from which good works can flow and apart from which there can be no acceptable works in the sight of God. Unsaved men are thus shut up to the one condition upon which God can righteously make them to be new creatures in Christ Jesus.
With regard to the necessity of a new creation the unregenerate are blind in their minds (II Corinthians 4:3, 4) . So also about this need a multitude of professing Christians are poorly taught, resulting in a well nigh universal misconception of the demands of the gospel. When dealing with the unsaved, false issues are often raised and these unscriptural demands appear in many forms. Satan’s ministers are said to be the ministers of righteousness (II Corinthians 11:14, 15). They waive aside the Bible emphasis on a new birth, which is by the power of God through faith and which is the only source from which works acceptable to God can be produced, and devote their energy to the improvement, morally and righteously, of the individual’s character. Such workers, in spite of their sincerity and humanitarian motives, are by the Spirit of God said to be “the ministers of Satan.”
The fact that the unregenerate are blinded by Satan in regard to the true gospel of grace is the explanation of the age-long plea of the moralist: “If I do the best I can God must be satisfied with that, else He is unreasonable.” Granting that anyone has ever done his best, it would still be most

imperfect as compared with the infinite holiness of God. God cannot, under any conditions, call that perfect which is imperfect, and He is far from unreasonable in demanding a perfect righteousness, impossible to man, while He stands ready to provide as a gift all that His holiness requires. This is exactly the offer of the Gospel. The Scriptures do not call on men of this age to present their own righteousness to God; but invite unrighteous men to receive the very righteousness of God which may be theirs through a vital union with Christ. The appeal is not self-improvement in the important matters of daily life, but that “the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” might be received. When this eternal issue is met the more temporal matters of conduct are urged; but only on the grounds of the fact that divine salvation has been wrought for sinful man wholly apart from his own works.
The question confronting each individual, therefore, is that of the basis upon which this new creation can be gained. In such an undertaking man is powerless. All his ability must be forever set aside. It must be accomplished for him, and God alone can do it. He alone can form a new creation; He alone can deal with sin; He alone can bestow a perfect righteousness; He alone can translate from the powers of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son.
If it were only a question of power to transform men the creative power of God has always been sufficient; but there was a greater difficulty caused by the fact of sin. Sin must first be judged, and no favor or grace can be divinely exercised until every offense of righteousness has been fully met. God cannot look on sin with the least degree of allowance, and so He can grant His favor only by and through the cross wherein, and only wherein, the consequences of sin have been forever met in His sight. Thus salvation can be accomplished, even by the infinite God, only through Jesus Christ. Hence it is that a simple trust in the Saviour opens the way into the infinite power and grace of God. It is “unto every one that believeth,” “For there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
This one word “believe” represents all a sinner can do and all a sinner must do to be saved. It is believing the record God has given of His Son.
In this record it is stated that He has entered into all the needs of our lost condition and is alive from the dead to be a living Saviour to all who put their trust in Him. It is quite possible for any intelligent person to know whether he has placed such confidence in the Saviour. Saving faith is a matter of personal consciousness. “I know whom I have believed.” To have deposited one’s eternal welfare in the hands of another is a decision of the mind so definite that it can hardly be confused with anything else.
On this deposit of oneself into His saving grace depends one’s eternal destiny. To add, or subtract, anything from this sole condition of salvation is most perilous. The Gospel is thus often misstated in various and subtle ways. The more common of these should be mentioned specifically:
First, The unsaved are sometimes urged to pray and hope for an attitude of leniency on the part of God toward their sins: whereas they should be urged to believe that every aspect of favor and expression of love has already been wrought out by God Himself.

They are not believing God when they beseech Him to be reconciled to them, when He is revealed as having already accomplished a reconciliation. The Gospel does not inspire a hope that God will be gracious: it discloses the good news that He has been gracious and challenges every man but to believe it. A criminal pleading for mercy before a judge is not in the same position as a criminal believing and rejoicing in the assurance that a full pardon is granted and that he can never be brought again into judgment.
Second, It is a most serious error to intrude any form of human works into a situation wherein God alone can work.
People are sometimes led to believe that there is saving value in some public confession of Christ, or profession of a decision. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” This is salvation. “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” This is the voice of the new-born child speaking to and of its Father. The only condition on which one may be saved is to believe.
Third, It is equally as great an error to give the unsaved the impression that there is saving virtue in promising to try to “lead a Christian life.”
No unregenerate mind is prepared to deal with the problems of true Christian living. These problems anticipate the new dynamic of the imparted divine nature, and could produce nothing but hopeless discouragement when really contemplated by an unregenerate person. There is danger, as well, that by forcing the issues of future conduct into the question the main issue of receiving Christ as Saviour may be submerged in some difficulty related to the proposed standards of living. There is an advantage in a general morality, “Sabbath observance,” temperance and attendance on public and private worship; but there is no saving value in any, or all, of them. It is true that a person who enters into these things might be more apt to hear the saving Gospel of grace than otherwise; but on the other hand, the sad fact is that these very things are often depended upon by the religiously inclined to commend themselves to God. A clear distinction is found in the Bible between conversion and salvation. The former is there found to indicate no more than the humanly possible act of turning about, while the latter refers to that display of the power of God which is manifested in the whole transformation of saving grace.
Fourth, a person is not saved because he prays.
Multitudes of people pray who are not saved. Praying is not believing on the Lord Jesus Christ; though the new attitude of belief may be expressed in prayer. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” In no Scripture is salvation conditioned on asking or praying. It is faith in the Saviour Who gave His precious blood a ransom for all. The publican, living and praying before the cross, pleads that God would be propitiated to him a sinner. The issue now can only be one of believing that God has been so propitiated.
Fifth, No person is now required to “seek the Lord.”
In Isaiah 55:6 it is said to Israel, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found,” but in the New

Testament relationship we are told to believe that the “Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Sixth, It is an error to require repentance as a preliminary act preceding and separate from believing.
Such insistence is too often based on Scripture which is addressed to the covenant people, Israel. They, like Christians, being covenant people, are privileged to return to God on the grounds of their covenant by repentance. There is much Scripture both in the Old Testament and in the New that calls that one nation to its long-predicted repentance, and it is usually placed before them as a separate unrelated act that is required. The preaching of John the Baptist, of Jesus and the early message of the disciples was, “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”; but it was addressed only to Israel (Matthew 10:5, 6). This appeal was continued to that nation even after the day of Pentecost or so long as the Gospel was preached to Israel alone (Acts 2:38; 3:19. See also 5:31). Paul mentions also a separate act of repentance in the experience of Christians (II Corinthians 7:8-11. See also Revelation 2:5).
The conditions are very different, however, in the case of an unsaved Gentile, who is a “stranger to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world,” and equally different for any individual Jew in this age. In presenting the Gospel to these classes there are one hundred and fifteen passages at least wherein the word “believe” is used alone and apart from every other condition as the only way of salvation. In addition to this there are upwards of thirty-five passages wherein its synonym “faith” is used. There are but six passages addressed to unsaved Gentiles wherein repentance appears either alone or in combination with other issues.
These are:
– God “now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30); – “Repent and turn to God” (Acts 26:20); – “Repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18); – “Repentance and faith” (Acts 20:21); – “The goodness of God that leadeth to repentance” (Romans 2:4); – “All should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
That repentance is not saving is evidenced in the case of Judas, who repented and yet went to perdition.
It is worthy of note that there are twenty-five passages wherein “believe,” or “faith,” is given as the only condition of Gentile salvation to one passage wherein repentance appears for any reason whatsoever. It would seem evident from this fact that repentance, like all other issues, is almost universally omitted from the great salvation passages, that such repentance as is possible to an unsaved person in this dispensation is included in the one act of believing. The statement in I Thessalonians 1:9, 10 may serve as an illustration. Here it is said: “Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven.” This represents one all-inclusive act. Such is the accuracy of the Bible. Had the record been that they turned from idols to God, the act of turning from idols would have stood alone as a preliminary undertaking

and would suggest a separate work of repentance.
In Acts 11:21 it is stated that many “believed and turned to God.” This is not difficult to understand. The born-again person might thus turn to God after believing; but there is no revelation that God is expecting works meet for anything from that which He has termed to be dead in trespasses and sins.
To believe on Christ is to see and believe the all-sufficiency of His saving grace. This most naturally includes abandoning all other grounds of hope, and the experiencing of such sorrow for sin as would lead one to claim such a Saviour. It is doubtful if the sinner of “this present evil age” can produce greater sorrow than this, and of what avail would greater sorrow be? No estimate is possible of the wrong that has been done in demanding the unsaved of this age to experience some particular degree of sorrow for sin, over which they could have no control, before they could be assured that the way was open for them to God. Multitudes have been driven into unrealities or into hopeless doubt as they have thus groped in darkness. The good news of the Gospel does not invite men to any sorrow whatsoever, or to works of repentance alone: it invites them to find immediate “joy and peace in believing.” Repentance, according to the Bible, is a complete change of mind and, as such, is a vital element in saving faith; but it should not now be required, as a separate act, apart from saving faith.
The Biblical emphasis upon Gentile repentance or any repentance in this age will be more evident when the full meaning of the word “believe” is understood.
Seventh, Moreover, no Scripture requires confession of sin as a condition of salvation in this age. A regenerate person who has wandered from fellowship may return to his place of blessing by a faithful confession of his sin. I John 1:9 is addressed only to believers. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The unsaved person must come to God by faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
Believing is related in the Bible to two other actions:
– “Hear and believe” (Acts 15:7; Romans 10:14); – “Believe and be baptized” (Acts 8:13; Mark 16:16.
In the latter passage it may be noted that baptism is not mentioned when the statement is repeated in the negative form. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.” The unsaved person is condemned for not believing rather than for not being baptized. Thus believing here, as everywhere, is the only condition of salvation.
The far-reaching importance of believing may also be seen in the fact that men are said to be lost in this age because they do not believe. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). “He that believeth not shall be damned [condemned]” (Mark 16:16).

Likewise when the Spirit is said to approach the unsaved to convince them of sin, He is not said to make them conscious or ashamed of their personal transgressions. One sin only is mentioned:
– “Of sin, because they believe not on me” (John 16:9). – “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
The sin sacrifice of the cross is forever satisfying to God. What God does is based on His own estimate of the finished work of Christ. The facts and conditions of salvation are based on that divine estimate rather than upon the estimate of men. That men are not now condemned primarily because of the sins which Christ has borne is finally stated in II Corinthians 5:14, 19:
– “We thus judge, that if one died for all, therefore all died”; – “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses.”
The greatest problem for the infinite God was to provide the reconciliation of the cross: the greatest problem for man is simply to believe the record in its fulness. To reject the Saviour is not only to refuse the gracious love of God, but is to elect, so far as one can do, to remain under the full guilt of every sin as though no Saviour had been provided, or no sacrifice had been made.
No more terrible sin can be conceived of than the sin of rejecting Christ. It gathers into itself the infinite crime of despising the divine mercy and grace, and, in intent, assumes the curse of every transgression before God. Thus men are electing to stand in their own sins before God. It will be seen that this personal choice becomes a part of the final judgment of those who believe not. Jesus said: “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).
At the judgment of the wicked dead before the Great White Throne, those standing there are said to be judged “according to their works.” There is additional evidence recorded against them at that judgment seat: their names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. This might be taken as evidence that – they have rejected the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” It should be added that it was the divine program in this age that the Gospel should be preached to every creature. And thus every person should have heard and either accepted or rejected the message of Grace. God alone can righteously judge those who have never heard because of the failure of His messengers.
The Apostle John in his Gospel uses the word “believe” in its various forms about eighty-six times and never related to repentance or human works and merit. This Gospel, which so clearly states the present way of life, is said to be written for a definite purpose: “But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
~ end of chapter 5 ~

The Origin Of The Easter Sunrise Service

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

Have you ever wondered about the origin of the Easter sunrise service? Wonder no more! It is based on something we read in the 2nd verse of the 16th chapter of Mark’s Gospel. The whole chapter is given below, as found in the King James Version. For your information, the Bible nowhere says or implies we must have Easter sunrise services, or, for that matter, Easter services of any kind. They are harmless traditions of men, and can be great reminders of fundamental Gospel truths, so long as the Gospel is followed. Personally, I do not like sunrise services for practical reasons. But we should have church services on Easter Sunday and any other Sunday.

MARK 16, VERSES 1 – 20 (The whole chapter.)
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
King James Version (KJV)
by Public Domain

The Bible verses quoted were taken from this website: www.biblegateway.com

The Word “Easter” In The King James Version

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

What follows is a quote from Presbyterian Bible scholar Albert Barnes’s commentary on Acts 12:4, in which the King James Version has the word “Easter.” He lived in the 1800s, and is well-known as a firm believer in the Bible as the Word of God. Barnes’s introduction to his commentary on the New Testament speaks very highly of the King James Version. But he was not hesitant to say so when he disagreed with how it sometimes worded some verses. This is an example of it. The quote is taken from this website: http://biblehub.com/.
BARNES WROTE THE FOLLOWING: Intending after Easter – There never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover (μετὰ τὸ πάσχα meta to pascha. The word “Easter” now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honor of the resurrection of the Saviour. But the original has no reference to that, nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. The translation is not only unhappy, as it does not convey at all the meaning of the original, but because it may contribute to foster an opinion that such a festival was observed in the time of the apostles. The word “Easter” is of Saxon origin, and is supposed to be derived from “Eostre,” the goddess of Love, or the Venus of the North, in honor of whom a festival was celebrated by our pagan ancestors in the month of April (Webster). Since this festival coincided with the Passover of the Jews, and with the feast observed by Christians in honor of the resurrection of Christ, the name came to be used to denote the latter. In the old Anglo-Saxon service-books the term “Easter” is used frequently to translate the word “Passover.” In the translation by Wycliffe, the word “paske,” that is, “Passover,” is used. But Tyndale and Coverdale used the word “Easter,” and hence, it has very improperly crept into our King James Version.”