Understanding Your Bible

Be Encouraged

Learn to USE Your Bible  – Week Six- Part Two 💕

As you continue building an index for your Study Bible, please be encouraged by

The ‘living and active’ Word.

When strength fails and we grow weary and discouraged, we need someone to come alongside us, show understanding, cheer us up, and inspire us to have the strength and commitment to move on. When bills pile up and money runs short, we need an encourager. When the whole world seems against us, we need an encourager. When friends or family turn against us, we need an encourager. Our strength and resolve weaken and we long for someone to lift us up and comfort us. The ‘living and active’ Word of God inspires courage and hope. The Word of God brings a beautiful gift of renewal through encouragement.

The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. _Psalm 69:31-33

This week we will add the following books to your index:


This Book  is anonymous. There is no sure indication of author, place of writing, date or recipients of The Letter to the Hebrews. It seems almost certain that Paul was not the author, but whoever wrote the letter was obviously well known to the original recipients. The letter bears evidence that the author was a second generation Christian, one who was well versed in the Old Testament, who may have been a Jew, who was a friend of Timothy’s and who probably belonged to Paul’s circle of friends.

Persecution was a real threat to the Jewish Christians of the first-century. Many found themselves torn between their new found faith in Christ and their Old Testament way of life. By demonstrating the superiority of Christ to all of the Old Testament rituals and sacrifices, this letter counsels the early believers to stay true to the gospel of grace – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The author appears to have been especially concerned that some of them might “turn back” (verse 10:38) although there seems to have been no danger of their embracing paganism. It is probably more likely that at least some of the readers were tempted to revert to Second Temple Judaism. Against the magnificence of Harod’s temple, the worship service carried out in house churches must have felt weak and insignificant indeed. The writer tried to warn his struggling audience that the glory of the earthly temple was but a shadow, soon to disappear.

Old habits are comfortable. But settling for second best was not God’s plan for the Jews of the early church or for believers today. Jesus removes our sin, guarantees our access to God, the Father; and promises to always be with us, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The message of Hebrews is clear: Persevere in your faith because Jesus is all you need.


And, as we have in the past few weeks let’s pick out a few prominent verses to highlight:

Hebrews 1:14 What are the angels, then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by him to help those who are to receive salvation.

Hebrews 4:12 The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.

Hebrews 11:6 No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews – chapter 11 may be considered the Faith Hall of Fame and the names of those listed are worth studying individually as you progress in the Word.


The book  may be one of the earliest New Testament letters, probably written around the same time as Paul’s letter to the Galatians, about A.D. 48. This letter was written by James, who in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 6, verse 3 , is identified as a half-brother of Jesus.

James was among the group gathered on Pentecost (Acts 1:14); he took over the leadership of the Jerusalem church after Peter left Palestine (Acts 12:17). It seems he was more concerned about Christians observing Jewish Law than Paul, but in this letter does not present a deep seated ill-will toward the Gospel of Grace that Paul preached.

This letter does not contain any personal references or greetings to individuals, but is addressed to “all God’s people scattered over the whole world.” James’ purpose in writing was to encourage his readers, who were not only scattered, but also largely poor and oppressed. The letter has a strongly moral tone: it is a communication intended to urge the recipients to live a godly and morally excellent life-style within a morally bankrupt society.

A brief study of the Roman world in the first-century will help put this letter in the proper perspective for today’s reader.

James presents a strikingly direct approach to Christian living. Some of these scattered believers had apparently incorporated worldly habits into their Christian faith. They practiced favoritism, there were quarrels and boasting, a lack of patience with fellow believers and other divisions among them. Recognizing that it is possible to believe all the right things and still live the wrong way, James tells them to put their faith into action through their words and deeds. He reminds his readers that those who submit to God will come under God’s care, and that prayer needs to be a priority in their lives.

According to James, if we truly believe what Jesus says, we will show it by living godly lives. Living in faith should pair adoration with action and supplication with service. Such a faith will make a difference to us and to others; how we live and what we do really does matter to God.


And highlight the following verses for future reference:

James 2:1 My friends, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, you must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance.

James 2:23-24 And the scripture came true that said,

“Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous. And so Abraham was called God’s friend. You see, then, that it is by our actions that we are put right with God, and not by our faith alone.”

James 3:13-18 Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom. But if in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don’t sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom. Such wisdom does not come down from heaven; it belongs to the world, it is unspiritual and demonic. Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.

James 4:11-12 Do not criticize one another, my friends. If you criticize or judge another Christian, you criticize and judge the Law. If you judge the Law, then you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who judges it. God is the only lawgiver and judge. He alone can save and destroy. Who do you think you are, to judge someone else?