So as we continue in Acts 16 regarding why the Jailer asked Paul what he had to do to be saved we find ourselves now looking at the context of what happened before the statement. I said in our last post we need to go all the way back to verse 14 of chapter 16 to see the entire context of this situation. Here we find Paul arriving in Philippi after having received the Macedonian vision. He encounters a woman named Lydia who was from Thyatira and was a seller of purple fabrics. The text also says she was a worshiper of God. Side note: that is an entirely different study that could be done regarding those who worship God but are not saved, but I will leave that for another time. But the text states that God opens her heart to be able to respond to the things Paul is proclaiming. So Paul is preaching at this point and this women listens to Him. Now there is an incredible jump in chronological time here as verse 15 states that she and her household were all baptized. Here is another question one could ask, what is all implied in that statement in verse 15? I will let you determine that one. But to sum it up she was saved her and her household, which happens to be a statement that will be repeated later in this text. But Paul goes and stays at her house and continues to preach in the area. Paul and Silas encounter a girl possessed by a demon who is able to tell fortunes and has a master who uses her for profit. The interesting thing though is the demon recognizes who Paul and Silas are and begins publicly following them stating an incredible statement. The slave girl, through the demon states, "These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation." Isn't it interesting that demons can see the truth, though they refuse to submit to it, yet people are so blind to that very truth. Anyway the demon states that Paul is proclaiming "the way of salvation" We saw it implied in verses 14 and 15 but now confirmed in verse 17. The rest of the passage deals with the girl being freed from the demon and the master loosing his income. He then brings Paul before the courts accusing them of preaching a message that is against their customs and laws. Paul and Silas are thrown into jail and we know the rest of the story. But think about this now as you deduce what you just read. The jailer lived in Philippi,. Could there have been a chance that he had heard Paul preach prior to Paul arriving at the jail? Could his family have heard about Paul? The news of the miracle of the girl being freed from demon possession may have spread through the city. When Paul and Silas arrive at the jail could the magistrate have explained to the jailer who Paul and Silas were? Or maybe the jailer talked with his family about the new prisoners. These are speculative questions but what the text reveals in regards to the jailers question and they way the family responded, one could deduce that they had prior knowledge of what Paul had been preaching. Now understanding that Paul was a follower of the Way doesn't fully explain why the jailer responded the way he did.. But again if we look at what occurred prior to this incident regarding how Lydia and her family responded can help us. Remember the statement that God had opened her heart to be able to understand and respond. Could that not have happened to the jailer as well, even though, and again this is speculation, he most likely was not a worshiper of God. The same statement made about Lydia and her household being baptizes was made about the jailer and his household. They both responded to Paul's initial proclamation and then further listened to him explain the gospel. Based on these facts within the scripture we can deduce quite a bit. I hope that helps you see how searching the scriptures with a keen Sherlock Holmes type eye can help you understand scripture that much better. Now the next question to pose or one of the next questions is, regarding what Paul did and how he was able to have such an effect on two families is, how can I apply that to my life in order for scripture to have an impact in my life as well? If we simply leave off at this point all we have is a good understanding of scripture, but without it making an impact in our lives and how we live in relationship to God it is just information for information sake. All right that is enough for today. Keep on searching the scriptures my friends and always live for the Glory of God.. God bless.
His humble servant,
Developing the art of observation
So I figured as I pose questions in Bible study methods that I would give anyone who is interested time to meditate on the questions posed and then a few days latter show my conclusions and how I reached them. As the title states this is really about developing the art of observation. As Sherlock Holmes was a genius in this area observing every little detail, so should we be as we study scripture. If we simply pass over scripture without taking time to observe the little details and then posing questions about them we will never truly understand God's Word the way He intended it to be understood. So as we looked at the statement of the Philippian jailer, in Acts 16, when he asked Paul what he had to do to be saved. I asked the question why in the world did he ask that? Why didn't he just shut the cell door and go back home? Or you could ask how did he come to an understanding of the fact that he needed salvation and on top of that how is he using the word saved? Is it for salvation as Christians would see it or is he meaning something else? These are the kind of questions I find myself constantly asking as I study scripture. The first place to start when trying to answer such questions is of course context. Without context statements in scripture can mean anything the person interpreting them chooses them to mean. Scripture then no longer becomes absolute but relative. And if that is the case then we are all as Paul says, "most miserable" because our faith is built on nothing firm. So to get back to the one question about how the jailer is using the term saved we can look at how Paul responds to that question. "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved." Paul responded in a way, regardless of whether the jailer was using the word saved in a different way, to point him toward the gospel. Paul either chose to direct the conversation toward biblical salvation or assumes that is what the jailer is asking about. Now the jailer didn't say something like, "no I didn't mean it that way. What I meant was how can I be saved from my employers, because when they find out about this incident I am likely to be in a lot of trouble." He didn't do that. What the jailer did in response to Paul's answer though was to take Paul and SIlas to his house and allow them to further explain what that statement meant about believing in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Now assuming we are going to take that interpretation that the jailer meant biblical salvation and we are going to use Paul's response and the jailers response to Paul answer as our defense to our position,. We can also support that interpretation with another contextual statement or description. We looked at what happened after the Jailer asked the question but what happened before in the context of this event can also help us answer that question regarding the use of the word saved as well as how the jailer came to the understanding of his need for biblical salvation if that was how he was using the word.. Because if he understood his need for biblical salvation, then he most definitely would be using the word saved in that context. So we have to go all the way back to verse 14 of chapter 16 to gather our information. But because I want to keep these blog posts short I will let you all look at that passage to see if you can observe what is there to support our interpretation. So until the next post, God bless and keep searching the scriptures.
In humble service to Christ
Increase in our support
Just wanted to give a quick update on our support. We just heard from a supporting church in Wisconsin that has voted to increase their support for us by $50 a month, praise the Lord. That now puts us at 96.3% of our needed support. Please keep praying, because as you can see your prayers are being answered. We would love to be at 100% by the time we get back to Costa Rica. Only 3.7% more.
August 14th, 2017
h. So I mentioned in my last blog about my desire to challenge people about their Bible study habits as I have done in Costa Rica. As I stated one of the greatest lessons I ever learned is how to ask the right questions when studying scripture. How to notice things that invoke questions which challenge you to dig deeper. Before I got save I originally thought of pursuing a career in law enforcement. I was an MP in the military for 14 years and love investigating things. I also love reading Sherlock Holmes. What I learned in Seminary is that we need to approach our Bible study as if we were Sherlock Holmes, trying to find out what God has said in His word and how it applies to my life. One of my seminary professors once said, "You need to take with you two questions every time you study scripture. What does it say? And what does it mean?" When you understand those two questions you will know what God has said in His word. As I approach scripture though I noticed that at times I was also stopping and saying, "wait a minute, Why did he do that or that doesn't seem to make sense.." I am not saying I questioned the validity of God's word in anyway I just wanted to have a clear understanding based on my belief and premise that God's word is true and that there are no contradictions in it. So I want to start posting questions or showing you questions that I come up with as I approach scripture and how they might be answered. I am currently studying Ephesians to preach through it when I get back to Costa Rica. In chapter 1 in verse 15 as Paul is praying for the Ephesians he states the motivation for his prayer is that he had heard of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That caused me to start to study more about faith. Eventually through that study I came to the incident in Act 16 when Paul and Silas were in prison in Philippi. I am sure you know the story of how the jailer got saved. One problem I ran into in Costa Rica was that many people took the text where Paul says in verse 31 "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Many of the Costa Ricans took that to mean if one in their household believed then the whole house hold would be saved. Later in the text one could show that Paul later explained the gospel to the whole house hold and they all eventually believed on their own. But one question that cropped up in my mind was when the jailer asked, "what must I do to be saved?" Did you ever wonder, why in the world did he ask that? Why when he discovered that the prisoners were still there, didn't he just shut the doors, go back to his house, and say "wow, that was close." What in the world cause him to realize his need for salvation? Those are the type of questions I am talking about when approaching scripture that compel you to dig deeper and use a Sherlock Holmes type of mind to investigate it. The answers to questions such as that will really challenge your walk as a believer. I tell you it will bless your soul when you do this. So I will hold off on giving you my conclusions so you can search it your self. So my question for you is, are you asking the right questions?
Blogging about blogging
I really am starting to enjoy this website and the blogging feature. Now I am not a good blogger. I tried my hand at it for a brief time blogging about woodworking with only handtools in Costa Rica. I just found it to be to much work to keep up with and to try to fill the blog with good conten, it just wasn't there. As I have been writing updates on our ministry I noticed a different desire which helped me to realize why that first blog didn't go anywhere. Plane and simple I didn't have a true passion for that blog i.e. woodworking. I love woodworking, especially with only handtools but it is not my first and foremost passion, which is why that blog never went anywhere and shouldn't have gone anywhere. My passion, as a child of God, is to live for the glory of God in service to Him. I have the great priviledge and honor to serve Him in Costa Rica. That is my purpose in life, and if anything else interferes with that purpose or tries to take its place it must be removed. That is why I am glad the woodworking blog never went anywhere, that is not why I am here to build furniture, which I love to do. I am here to glorify God. I can use furniture making as a way or means to which I glorify God but it can only be a means and not my main purpose. So as I was able to build this website and start this blog a passion to communicate that very purpose, glorifying God, has really been building lately. I am not blogging to generate followers or build income or such but to glorify God. As my family and I prepare to head back to Costa Rica I have the opportunity to spend some quality time with God as I study His word and prepare messages to be preached. when we return. One of the things in Costa Rica we deal with is helping the people have a true understanding of God's word, to help them "rightfully divide the word of God.." What I learned in seminary helped me greatly in learning that art and I try passionately with God's help to instruct others to do the same. One professor taught me how to ask the right questions when approaching scripture and I have to say it was one of the greatest lessons I ever had. That is what I try to teach the Costa Ricans and that is what I would like to do in this blog as well from time to time. Help those who never had any biblical training to be able to approach God's word correctly and to know how to ask the right questions. How to develop the art of observation. I am not saying I am perfect but I have learned a thing or two over the years. So periodically I hope to challenge others through this blog, as well as updating you all, in you manner of studying God's word. Some may find this helpful some may not., but in the end my prayer is that God will be glorified through this. Take care all, keep us in your prayers,, and always live for the glory of God.
In service to Hm
We have been given the Green light
Well, praise the Lord we have been given the green light by our mission board to head back to Costa Rica. As I stated in previous posts Elizabeth and I (Mark) are heading down in two weeks to move into the new house. We will be returning Sept. 19th and then Sept. 28th I take our large items to be shipping to Atlanta. After that we are cleared to head out. Right now we are looking at the end of the first week of October. Please pray for all the final preparations to take place without too many bumps in the road. We are in need of funds for the shipping,, airline tickets, and import taxes for our shipped items but we know God will supply our need. If you would be moved of God to help us in that area please contact us. Again thank you all for you prayers and support. We are truly excited to get back to Costa Rica to continue to Glorify His name through the salvation of souls and the discipleship of believers.
In Service to Him
Immediate prayer requests
Well, I really think I am starting to get the hang of this new technology stuff. I really feel like I am at a point in my life similar to where my father was when VCRs first came out and I being a teenager had to show dad how to use it. I tend to look to my kids for advice on modern technology. But it is coming and is actually kind of fun.
But on to more important items, immediate prayer requests. Our land lord in Costa Rica has chosen to sell our house so we are having to be out by the end of September. About a month a go we found this out and so began a search for a new house. Now I hope you can imagine this as we had to look for a house in Costa Rica while living in the states. A family from our church in Grecia help with that, but again imagine if you are a woman allowing someone else to find and pick out a house for you. We had also been praying about the possibility of finding a town where there is now church in order to start up a new work. Well, the Lord provided greatly in providing a house and answering our prayers. We found a house in Tacares Costa Rica which is between Grecia and San Jose. We would often drive through this town when we would do our monthly shopping. As we researched the town we discovered that there were no fundamental works going on there. It is close enough to Grecia that we can still help the church there, but far enough away that a new church would work well. Please pray for this new possibility. But as I said we have to move out of our old house by the end of September. So Elizabeth and Mark will be flying down to Costa Rica on Aug. 23 to pack up and move into the new house. They will return September 19. Please pray all will go well. When they get back we will be taking some large items, that we are shipping down to Costa Rica, to Atlanta to be shipped. Then Lord willing we hope to head out in October. Please pray for all the logistics regarding our return and for funds to be provided. We had saved up quite a bit but this unexpected trip in August was not in the our plans, but was in God's plans. So we are in need of addiitional funds for shipping, return airline tickets, and import taxes on the shipped items. We know God will supply our needs but we do ask for you all to pray for this as well.
Thank you all for your support and prayers.
In service to Christ,
Mark here, so I finally bit the bullet and tried my hand at creating our website. Normally Lynnette would handle this since she is the I.T. of our family, but she has been so swamped with other duties that I determined it was my time to step out of my comfort zone. So the website is up and running and I didn't blow anything up, praise the Lord. I still have a lot of work to do on the website but I think I am getting the hang of this. At least the Lord is overcoming my short comings which will ultimately give Him all the glory. So if you are enjoying this website please give the praise and glory to God,. Also, I could use some help with ideas for content and pages so please feel free to send some comments my way, I need all the help I can get.
Mark & Lynnette
Mark & Lynnette Hynek
Mark & Lynnette Hynek
204 Fairhaven Dr.
Taylors, SC 29687
Costa Rica address:
Apartado Postal 4100-834
Alajuela, Grecia, Grecia 20301
Mark cell: 011-506-7188-7250
Lynnette cell: 011-506-7057-4885
Gospel Fellowship Association
1809 Wade Hampton Blvd.
Greenville, SC 29609