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January 29, 2008



Perspicuously said! Brilliant!


I want to be a godly man and I read in Col 3:24 that I am to "work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men." The Bible instructs me how a godly man should do his work (need to know), but not in the specifics of how to do a particular job. So is that body of knowledge "nice to know" or "need to know?"


“The sometimes rigorous work of discerning what it CLEARLY TEACHES will yield the fruit of understanding what a man who seeks to please God MUST KNOW.”

“…rigorous work of discerning…”
Sometimes I do not know for sure that I have discerned clearly what the Bible says. For example, Proverbs 2:3 says, “For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding.” This is conditional with a promise in v. 5, “Then you will discern the fear of the LORD, And discover the knowledge of God.” So I immediately think of Proverbs 1:20, “Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square.” So I ask the question, “is this prayer?”

The definition of prayer according to Noah Webster’s 1828 American English Dictionary:
1. In worship, a solemn address to the Supreme Being, consisting of adoration, or an expression of our sense of God's glorious perfections, confession of our sins, supplication for mercy and forgiveness, intercession for blessings on others, and thanksgiving, or an expression of gratitude to God for his mercies and benefits. A prayer however may consist of a single petition, and it may be extemporaneous, written or printed.
2. A formula of church service, or of worship, public or private.
3. Practice of supplication.
4. That part of a memorial or petition to a public body, which specifies the request or thing desired to be done or granted, as distinct from the recital of facts or reasons for the grant. We say, the prayer of the petition is that the petitioner may be discharged from arrest.

According to International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: “Supplication is at the heart of it, for prayer always springs out of a sense of need and a belief that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb_11:6). But the fact should be noticed that in the Hebrew and Greek aloe there are on the one hand words for prayer that denote a direct petition or short, sharp cry of the heart in its distress (Psa_30:2; 2Co_12:8) ” (Note: This is an excerpt from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia and not in its entirety.)

Now, with this information I’m confident that the suggestion here is prayer. I have a
young lad who if he cries out and lifts his voice for discernment and
understanding(sense of need) is promised he “will discern the fear of the LORD, And
discover the knowledge of God (and a belief that God is a rewarder of them that
diligently seek Him).” Personified wisdom is in the open air shouting at those
who will listen. Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come
knowledge and understanding.”

So I ask a person with Biblical knowledge and credentials. Their answer is, “From what I understand the dictionary defines prayer as: the act of communicating with a deity especially as a petition or in adoration or contrition or thanksgiving. I believe these two proverbs are just words of wisdom. Prayer is more of a two way communication with the Lord.”

So now what? Is it prayer or is it not prayer? Have I become a pretzel? What is “rigorous work?” How do I know when I’ve got what the Bible “clearly teaches?

Jim Fleming

The previous comments are inviting us back to the four posts on Jer. 29:11. Here is the link to the first one:

The "rigorous work" is that of interpretation, bathed in prayer to be sure, by which we seek to identify the meaning of the original author to his immediate audience. This is where we employ a "grammatical historical" hermeneutical method. This is how we get at what the Bible "clearly teaches."

From this interpretation, we would identify as many applications as possible. These are implications (and there can be many) that connect the interpretation to how I should think, speak, and act. For example, one application of Col. 3:24 is this principle: "I should perform my job as if Jesus is my boss." I should do my job as an act of worship or divine service. To do this, there is information I will need that relates to the performance of my job. The more technical my job (like "brain surgeon"), the greater the body of this information. Based on Col. 3:24, I will want to gain a thorough grasp of this information so I can do my job in a way that is pleasing to my boss, Jesus. But regardless of how important this information is, it doesn't rise to the level of "godly essentials" or 2 Tim. 3:16-17 tells us it would have been included in the Bible.

There is value in developing a "theology of work." This would be a compilation of everything the Bible teaches that is relevant to employees. (I have come across a few books and articles that attempt this.) This would constitute the "need to know" information for those who want to be "equipped for every good work" in the workplace. This is the information that every workman should use as the essential foundation upon which he builds his understanding of how to do his job.

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