March 8, 2018

The Bible consists of 66 distinct books that were written in different times and places. When originally compiled, the books of the Bible did not include chapters and verses. As such, these divisions are not inspired, yet are very helpful in quickly finding and citing biblical passages.

Our modern chapter divisions of the Bible were created by Stephen Langton and were completed around AD 1227. Wycliffe’s Bible (completed in 1382 before the printing press) was the first Bible to use Langton’s chapter divisions. Since this time, English Bible translations have followed the pattern, with other languages adopting the same division system.

Bible verses were created much later. The verses of the Old Testament were developed by a Jewish rabbi named Nathan in 1448. The New Testament’s verses were developed in 1551 by Robert Estienne (also known by the name Stephanus). His divisions were first used in the Greek New Testament published in 1551 and were used again in a French Bible in 1553.

I included the above information that I gleaned off the Internet because of the verse of scripture that I am going to comment on today. The verse will be 2Cor 7:1 which I believe should have been that last verse in chapter 6 because this verse talks alludes to the promises found in verses 16-18 in chapter 6.

2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT) — 1 Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

The promises were that God would live with us and be our Father. As Christians we are adopted into the family of God and we have the reputation of our Father and our family to think about. So Paul is saying that whatever is not pleasing to God and honoring to him and the family we need to stay away from it. Paul uses the word ‘cleanse’ which has the idea of washing. So how do we wash ourselves spiritually in order to continue on the path of holiness.

There is a story in the Old Testament that gives us a picture of this New Testament ‘cleansing’. Leprosy is a good picture of sin. It can start out small and seem insignificant but it soon spreads and becomes a real problem. 2Kings 5 talks about a guy named Naaman who had leprosy.

When Naaman, a prominent Syrian ruler who had contracted this terrible disease, was told by his servant girl that there was a prophet in Israel who could cure him, he sent a message to the king of Israel, who, in turn, sent for Elisha. Expecting Elisha to pronounce some sort of magical incantation over him, Naaman was angered when Elisha told him to wash in the Jordan River seven times. After all, Naaman thought the Jordan nothing more than a muddy creek compared to the rivers of his own country. Thus, Scripture says he “turned and went away in a rage.”
But his servants didn’t give up so easily. “If Elisha had asked you to do something difficult, you would have done it,” they said to Naaman. “Therefore, why not see what happens if you comply with this seemingly simple command?” So Naaman did, indeed, dip himself into the Jordan seven times—the number of completion—and he came out healed and whole.

The prophet Elisha gave Naaman a word from the Lord and when Naaman obeyed the word he was washed clean. I believe this is how we ‘cleanse’ ourselves daily by walking in obedience to God’s word. Look at the following verses:

Psalm 119:9 (NLT) — 9 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.

Psalm 119:11 (NLT) — 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

John 15:3 (NLT) — 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.

Ephesians 5:26 (NLT) — 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.

Let the word of God cleanse you by keeping yourself immersed in it daily and walking in obedience to it.

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) — 12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NLT) — 13 Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.

Remember that you can’t do this on your own that is why we have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Ask them to pour out their grace into your heart so that you can walk in obedience to the word and be like Jesus. This is something that I do daily.

John 14:23 (NLT) — 23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.

Be Inspired Hilltop!