I am taking some online courses through Ligonier Connect. The classes consist of a series of recorded lectures, followed by various types of participation and study. Being an online course there is a really simple interface to complete assignments. Assignments can include reading a companion book (not necessary to complete the class), bible study assignments, and other assignments designed to put what you learned to practice. I’ve been enjoying it as it is self-paced, low pressure, and accessible from anywhere including my iPad. You have six months to complete the course, too.
For my current course, “Knowing Scripture”, I’ve been going through a couple of assignments to take a body of scripture, write down what I think the meaning is, and then write down at least 15 applications/implications for life and my church. I’ve never done that before, and I’ve found it really helpful when studying a piece of scripture. One of the foundations of the course is that there is only one correct meaning for any verse of scripture. God is not a God of confusion; He had a meaning for each word recorded in the Bible. However, there can be numerous applications for that meaning. This evening the scripture I am studying is John 10:22-30. I’m going to run down the study here on the blog both to show the simplicity of what I’m doing and invite comments of any kind, especially if someone thinks I got the meaning of a given application/implication wrong.
First – God’s Word
 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,  and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.  So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,  but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:22-30 ESV)
Verse by verse meaning.
Verse 22: It was winter, during the feast of Dedication, in Jerusalem.
Verse 23: Jesus was walking in the Temple in an area known as Solomon’s Portico, or Solomon’s Colonnade. (Check this link for some a model rendition of it)
Verse 24: The Jews were asking Jesus if He was the Christ. Christ is a title; it means Messiah. They wanted Him to plainly declare it.
Verse 25: Jesus tells them that He has already told them, and they didn’t believe Him. He then says that the works He has done, in His Father’s name, (healing, miracles, etc) have clearly testified to who He is.
Verse 26: Jesus then tells them they don’t believe because they are not among His sheep. IE, they don’t have faith in Him.
Verse 27: He then differentiates who His sheep are. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. He also declares that He knows them. I believe this means that He knows, beforehand, who all of them are just as He knew in Verse 26 who were not His sheep.
Verse 28: Jesus is the one who grants eternal life, and to those He grants it they will never perish. He also said that no one can snatch them from His hand; IE, you cannot have your salvation taken from you.
Verse 29: God the Father has given Jesus His sheep, and since God is greater than all, no one can take them from His Father’s hand.
Verse 30: Jesus and God are one. This is one of those verses that point to God’s triune nature.
Applications and Implications
- Unbelievers who are not appointed to eternal life, will never believe.
- Those who believe in Jesus Christ as savior will obey Him.
- Jesus knows who all of His sheep are.
- Because Jesus knows who his sheep are, they will respond when they hear the Gospel.
- Jesus is the giver of eternal life, not man.
- I cannot lose my salvation. God has it securely in His hand.
- Jesus guarantees my salvation.
- God has given Jesus those who are His.
- Since Jesus is God, and Jesus and the Father are one, He can be trusted.
- God already knows who will accept the Gospel (the sheep that know His voice), which means I can proclaim the Gospel without fear of man or failure.
- God is sovereign over all things. He is in control.
- Any conversation about God must include the Gospel, then.
- Every sermon preached must include the Gospel.
- Unbelievers will always question the Gospel and harass believers. This is to be expected.
- Anyone’s response to the Gospel is between them and God, and not dependent upon my performance or charisma.
I am sure there are a few nuances I’ve missed and/or something I’ve not gotten quite right. I welcome any discussion on it from both brothers and sisters in Christ, and anyone who does not believe in Christ. The study of scripture is as deep as one is willing to go. One point that RC Sproul made in one of his lectures is that the Bible is plain and clear. He used the term perspicuity. I had to look that one up. Basically, the Bible is clear in its meaning, and the interpretation is often plain. There have been numerous cults and denominations that took a verse out of context or read into the Bible a meaning that is not there. The proper method of reading the Bible is exegesis; which means you obtain the meaning from the text. That may sound obvious, but many people read the Bible with a particular issue they are seeking to justify, and try to read into the text a meaning that is not there. This is called eisegesis.
If you want to know who God is, what He has said, what He has done, and what He will do; read your Bible!