I suggest that every believer ought to be a part of a small Bible reading group. Our group reads one or two chapters a day from the New Testament and exchanges emails with our takeaways. Two tangible benefits flow from participation in our group. First, we engage the Bible in community. Second, we share some of the events going on in our lives.
So that I retain a record of my reading, I use a Bible that allows me to take notes. The specific New Testament is the Journaling New Testament Inductive Edition by Crossway. The translation is the English Standard Version.
During my reading of Matthew 7-8, one takeaway was that false “Christian” teachers ad preachers will be in abundance, so we must be discerning to recognize good fruit and bad fruit. Matthew 7:15–20 (ESV) reads:
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
One commentary[i] reads:
But Jesus’ warning concerned not only the Jewish religious leaders of his day. He was preparing his followers (hence his church) to be able to discern those of any age who would profess to be disciples of Jesus, but who were really out for their own selfish purposes (also a major theme in Titus and 1 John). Jesus repeated his central theme twice in 7:16, 20: By their fruit you will recognize them.
So, do you bear good fruit or bad fruit? Can you discern between “good fruit” and “bad fruit?” The standard is per Scripture, not man’s standards.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, your eternal destination is hell unless God intervenes. But, your destiny can change.
Today can be the day of your salvation! Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved. You can also go to another article at my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
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[i] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, p. 101). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.