Pinion Nuts and the Bible

by Cynthia L Simmons

When I was ten, my family made a trip from our Tennessee home to California. On the way, we stopped to visit missionaries who were my parent’s friends. They ministered to the Navaho in New Mexico. Mom’s friend gave a glowing report about pinion nuts. She said they were her husband’s favorite.

A few days after we left, mom found pinion nuts in the grocery store and gleefully bought a bag. I will never forget her excitement as she opened the package and poured us each a handful. However, the joy stopped there. I had to bite down hard, and the flavor made me gag. Everyone else groaned too. I spoke up and commented the inside of the nut tasted a lot better than the outside, and Mom agreed. We were eating the hull and the nut. The stories mother heard gave no description, so, she did not know pinion nuts had to be shelled!

That story reminds me of the Bible. I grew up in the South and watched ministers wave the Bible in the air and say it came from God. However, when I tried to read, my immature mind didn’t grasp much. I had no idea how to study the word.

Look at what Paul said about that in 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB): “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”

I needed to accurately handle the Bible. The literal meaning of accurately is to cut straight. You would not be happy if your hair stylist left one side of your hair longer than the other.

The words ‘be diligent’ commands us to work hard at studying Scripture so we will not be ashamed. Do not eat the nut with the hull! There are several ways you can decipher the Bible. First, study a passage in context. Notice the flow of thought and look for connections. If you rip a verse from its context, you can get a false message.

Second, understand the culture in which the Bible was written. In Bible times, people wore sandals and walked on dusty streets. Knowing that can help you understand certain passages in Christ’s life.

Third, allow the text to speak. God did not waste words. Notice repeated words, patterns of words, plural nouns and singular nouns. Examine each thought for God’s message.

Fourth, compare Scripture with Scripture. For instance, the Bible tells women to teach other women, yet the Bible also says a wife should win her husband without a word. We must prayerfully compare such passages to discern God’s message.

Fifth, expect figures of speech and literary devices. When David said he “flooded his bed with tears,” the passage means he cried a lot.

Finally, know the type of literature you are reading. The Bible has poetry, history, essay, prophecy, and letters. Do not treat the poetry like an essay or the history like poetry.

These guidelines will help you dig the meat out of the Word like we learned to pull the nut out of the shell. God will bless the time you spend in His Word. He’s promised that it will accomplishes in us what He desires!

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Cynthia-Simmons-5

About the author: Former home school mother of five, Cynthia Simmons has a special spot in her heart for young moms and loves to encourage all women to pursue God. She hosts Heart of the Matter Radio, and writes inspirational fiction and non-fiction.  Find her at www.clsimmons.com.

Valuing Gold: A Novella of the Civil War: Uneasiness permeated Chattanooga where Mary Beth Roper grew up. Every conversation she overheard is heated, yet her banker-father was hesitant to reveal the facts. Will Tennessee secede and force them into a war? She was an adult and demanded he tell her the truth, yet she feared the heated politics she’d seen. Then she learned a rogue customer threatened their bank. Somehow, she must find a way to work with Peter Chandler, her father’s partner, even though she can’t bear to be near him. As she unraveled an impossible puzzle, she learned to value her faith.

Join the conversation: What do you do to get the most out of a passage of Scripture?

When Mere Words Become the Living Word

by Michelle Lazurek

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life” Mark 10:29-30 NIV

Growing up, my grandmother took me to church every Sunday and I enjoyed it. During my late teens, however, I began to have questions about my faith and started to want more out of my relationship with God.

God, in his sovereignty, began to place people in my life who were on fire for Him. At church, I met a woman who understood my doubts. Soon she invited me to her home for a weekly Bible study. She didn’t try to force me into believing the Word. Instead, she encouraged me to go home and study the Bible for myself.

Several weeks passed as I studied Scripture on my own. Just two weeks before my senior prom, I went forward to the altar at church and gave my life to the Lord. I didn’t tell anyone about this for several months.

When I finally did tell my parents, they were furious. Two days after my absence at Thanksgiving, they stormed into my workplace and asked me to step out into the busy plaza walkway. Once outside, my father told me I needed to pack my things up and leave immediately. When I got home, he opened the garage door to reveal a neat line of black trash bags filled with stuffed animals, clothes, and the rest of my belongings. He tossed them onto the truck, and we headed to my boyfriend’s house.

Without even a goodbye, my father threw the bags onto the driveway, got in his truck and drove away, leaving me on my knees sobbing with my life’s possessions lying around me. In the blink of an eye, I went from having everything I could ever need to poverty, clinging to God with a tentative hope that His Word was true.

One day, I stumbled upon the above passage in Mark. Suddenly I saw the Bible in a new light: it was not just an item on my daily to-do-list, but a living and active love letter to me from God. Its beautiful words were meaningful and transforming. I knew now that I needed to get serious about studying Scripture for myself. My once passive attitude about my spiritual life became active. I began to pray daily, study the Bible consistently, and spend time in silence listening for His voice and guidance.

Psalm 1 promises great benefits to a person who delights in and meditates on God’s Word. They will be “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever [they do, they] prosper.” (Psalm 1:3 NASB) The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself. Consequently, the biggest reward in studying the Scriptures is getting to know God on an intimate basis.

It is worth the effort to carve out the time (even if it is just a few minutes) to spend with Him.  The better we know Him, the better we will love Him in return.

michelle lazurekAbout the author: Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, national speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. A member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she loves to help people encounter God and engage with the world around them. When not writing, you can find her enjoying a Starbucks latte and collecting vintage records. For more info, please visit her website at www.michellelazurek.com

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random numberrighteous and lost generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Michelle’s book, Righteous and Lost: Finding Hope for the Pharisee Within,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

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