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The Book Background Method of Bible Study

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Reading the Bible is not where where your engagement with the Bible ends. It’s where where it begins.

2 Timothy 2:15 AMP
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.
Step One= Choose the Subject or Book of the Bible.
Step Two= List your Reference Tools
Step Three= Obtain Insights from Geography
Step Four= Get Insights from History
Step Five= Discover some Insights from Culture page 156
Step Six= Research insights from Political Environment
Step Seven= Summarize your Research
Step Eight= Write out a Personal Application
Step One= Choose the Subject or Book of the Bible
The Church in Laodicea
Revelation 3:14 ESV
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
Revelation 3:15 ESV
“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
rev 315
Revelation 3:16 ESV
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:17 ESV
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Revelation 3:18 ESV
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Revelation 3:19 ESV
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Revelation 3:20 ESV
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:21 ESV
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Revelation 3:22 ESV
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ”
Step Two= List your Reference Tools
New Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Halley’s Bible Handbook
Step Three= Obtain Insights from Geography
There was Ephesus, the church still strong doctrinally, but the church that left its first love.
There was Pergamos which had not denied the faith but was tolerating sin.
There was Thyatira where there was still some good things going on but full-blown compromise with evil had taken place and the majority seemed to have been involved.
Then there was Sardis, a church with only a few genuine believers, a church which had a name but was actually dead.
This is the Seventh Church that was addressed in Ancient Asia Minor
It was located in the Lycus River Valley, the southwest area of Phrygia. Of the seven cities in the letters, it is the most southeasterly.
It is 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia and would be about directly east of Ephesus about 100 miles.
So these seven letters traverse a little bit of a loop in Asia Minor.
.
Because of the Lycus Valley being one of the most common routes of travel to the west, people obviously wanting to travel through a valley rather than across mountains.
There were three cites near Laodicea that you could call sister cities Hierapolis and Colossae. Colossae was only 10 miles away
Verse
Hierapolis, one of the sister cities six miles north, Colossae, ten miles to the east and south a bit
Colossians 2:1 ESV
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,
Colossians 4:15 ESV
Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
Colossians 4:16 ESV
And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.
There was Thyatira where there was still some good things going on but full-blown compromise with evil had taken place and the majority seemed to have been involved.
Revelation 3:14 ESV
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
When He says He is the beginning of the creation of God, He doesn't mean that the first thing God ever created was Him. He doesn't say He was the first creature God ever created. He says He is the beginning of the creation. What He means by that is He is the source of it. He is the power by which creation began.
Apparently there was a heresy in Colossae about Jesus Christ. And that heresy said that He was a created being and not at all God. It wouldn't be too hard to surmise that that heresy that depreciated the deity of Jesus Christ had gone up the road a little bit and hit Laodicea. And when Jesus says here He is the beginning of the creation of God, He is the arche, He is saying essentially the same thing that Paul said in Colossians chapter 1 verse 15, "He is the image of the invisible God, the prototokosof all creation, of all those who have ever lived He is the supreme one." And of course, in His humanity He did become man. But he says, "By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things have been created by Him and for Him. He is before all things...that is prior to them...in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the body of the church." Here it is, "He is the beginning."
Apparently there was some question about Him because obviously Jesus had become a man, was born. He, of creation, was the prototokos, the supreme person ever born. But though He was born as man He always existed as God and while as man He had a beginning, as God He was the beginning. And so here, I believe, is a very important note. I believe the reason you have an unsaved church in Laodicea is because they had an errant doctrine about Christ. It was their heretical Christology that produced an unregenerate church. And what our Lord is saying to them in this letter is you must understand who I am, I am the one who has confirmed all the promises and covenants of God, I am the one who speaks truth and only truth and I am the beginning of the creation.
Colossae was ten miles away. Those two churches were sister churches. It is very likely that whatever Christological heresy had filtered its way into the Colossian church and attacked the deity of Christ, and reduced Him to a created angelic being had also affected the church in Laodicea. This church had bought in to that erroneous view of Christ and consequently was unsaved and lost. That is a tragic thing. But always you will note the damning error is the error about Christ, is it not? Start naming the cults and what is in common with all of them? They deny what? The deity of Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:15 ESV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Colossians 1:16 ESV
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Colossians 1:17 ESV
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Then there was Sardis, a church with only a few genuine believers, a church which had a name but was actually dead.
Laodicea has the grim distinction of being among all seven letters the only one in which Christ has nothing good to say
Damaged by an earthquake in AD 60 the city declined disaster relief from the government
It was widely known for its banking facilities, medical schools and textile industry
Its major problem was the lack of adequate water supply
The water of Laodicea was not drinkable so the city had its water pumped in from surrounding cities hot water from one city cold water from another city, however by the time that it reach the city of Laodicea it was Lukewarm
Step Four= Get Insights from History
Laodicea was located on a trade route
Laodicea became a very significant city
Not only was it a significant city on the east/west trade route, but it was also a significant city on the north/south road from Pergamos and Sardis, moving south to the coast. So they were crisscrossing all these people who went east and west and north and south and coming through the city of Laodicea.
Laodicea was founded by Antiochus II in the third century B.C. He named it for his wife.
Damaged by an earthquake in AD 60 the city declined disaster relief from the government
It was widely known for its banking facilities, medical schools and textile industry
Its major problem was the lack of adequate water supply
The water of Laodicea was not drinkable so the city had its water pumped in from surrounding cities hot water from one city cold water from another city, however by the time that it reach the city of Laodicea it was Lukewarm
Step Five= Discover some Insights from Culture page 156
The city of Laodicea was the wealthiest city of the seven cities.
Damaged by an earthquake in AD 60 the city declined disaster relief from the government
It was widely known for its banking facilities, medical schools and textile industry
Its major problem was the lack of adequate water supply
Step Six= Research insights from Political Environment
Not much of a Military Power
Step Seven= Summarize your Research
Revelation 3:15 ESV
“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
Revelation 3:16 ESV
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
rev
Cold water is refreshing BUT…
Cold water is refreshing BUT…
The spiritually cold, on the other hand, are best understood as those who reject Jesus Christ.
The gospel doesn’t move them; it evokes in them no spiritual response.
They have no interest in Christ, His Word, or His church.
And they don’t care what you think about it.
Hot water can be used for medical purposes
Hot people are those who are spiritually alive and possess the fervency of a transformed life.
But lukewarm water is neither
Christ rebuked them for being neither cold nor hot but lukewarm.
Jesus used a metaphor that He knew they would understand because of Laodicea’s water supply.
The water traveled several miles through an underground aqueduct before reaching the city, the water arrived foul, dirty, and lukewarm.
It was not hot enough to relax and restore, like the hot springs at Hierapolis. Nor was it cold and refreshing, like the stream water at Colossae. Laodicea’s lukewarm water was in a useless condition.
The lukewarm fit into neither category. They are not genuinely saved, yet they do not openly reject the gospel. They attend church and claim to know the Lord
This Church Jesus absolutely has nothing good to say about them.
This church may as well had never existed.
Luke warmness: Indifferent, Complacent, lethargic, self-satisfied, halfhearted and neutral.
Only half committed to the things of God.
Lukewarm: Only half committed to Christ
Lukewarm: Only half committed to proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God
Lukewarm: Only half committed to teaching the Word.
Lukewarm: Only half committed to evangelism and Outreach.
Revelation 3:17 ESV
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Revelation 3:18 ESV
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Possessions and Wealth are Not a sign of God’s spiritual blessings
Revelation 3:19 ESV
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
You can have fine clothes and still be naked
You can have 20/20 Vision and still be blind
Step Eight= Write out a Personal Application
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