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101 Most Powerful Verses in the Bible
By Lois Rabey
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- Hardcover $25.00 $31.00 CAD
- ebook $10.99 $13.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around February 11, 2004. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Copyright © 2004 by Steve and Lois Rabey.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic means, including information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations noted NLT are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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First eBook Edition: March 2010
We dedicate this book to Justin, Alex, Lisa,
Brady, Nathan, Cole, and Dylan.
Writing this book has given us an opportunity to parcel out some of the Biblical knowledge we've accumulated over the years from books, sermons, and other sources. Thanking everyone who has helped us would be both impossible and impractical, but that doesn't mean we don't appreciate it.
Family members and friends have provided many of the stories found in the pages that follow, and we thank them for sharing their lives with us.
Thanks also to Greg Johnson at Alive Communications and our friends at Warner Faith: Rolf Zettersten, Leslie Peterson, and Steve Wilburn.
General Editors' Preface
There are thousands of verses in the Bible. How can we find the specific verses containing the eternal wisdom and divine guidance that will help each one of us grow deeper spiritually and live more faithfully? This book and others in The 101 Most Powerful series will help you find and unlock powerful passages of Scripture that inspire, comfort, and challenge.
The 101 Most Powerful Prayers in the Bible helps us open our hearts to God by showing us how earlier saints and sinners prayed.
The 101 Most Powerful Promises in the Bible brings together those passages that convey God's boundless and eternal love for his creation and his creatures.
The 101 Most Powerful Proverbs in the Bible will enable us to apply God's timeless truths to many of the messy details of daily life.
And 101 Most Powerful Verses in the Bible provides a treasury of divine insight gathered from nearly every book of the Old and New Testaments.
This and the other books in this series will never replace the Bible, but we do hope they will help you grasp its powerful and life- changing lessons and better utilize its wisdom in your life.
Talented writers made editing this series a breeze. And working on this volume has been more fun than writing a book should be (we know, having written thirty others).
After scanning our personal memory banks and flipping through the pages of some of our most heavily worn Bibles in search of those verses that have meant the most to us over the years, we tried to unlock their power and meaning for you as best we could. Though these verses were familiar to us, we found they still had much to teach us. We hope you feel the same way as you read the pages that follow.
Steve and Lois Rabey
Introduction: You Can Experience God's Power
Ocean waves batter the shore. In the heavens, lightning explodes and thunder roars. And deep in the forest, the roots of an ancient tree cut through solid rock, slowly turning it into dust.
Every day all around our globe, events like these demonstrate the power of God through nature. We can also witness God's eternal and infinite power in more gentle acts of creation and change. A beautiful flower pushes its way up through a late spring snow. A tiny bird diligently pecks his way out of his own hard shell. A newborn baby cries as those who encircle her look on in grateful wonder.
There is yet another place where we can see God's power in all its glory: in the Bible, which is the revealed Word of God. Here's how the apostle Paul put it: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18).
All of us can experience more of God's power if we study and meditate on the Bible. Just as a hydroelectric dam converts water pressure into electricity, God's Word transforms our lives into conduits for his power.
Over the centuries, people have devised a dizzying variety of techniques for trying to understand God and discover his power. One of the oldest approaches is to consult the stars—a method many still use today. Throughout the ages, people have also conferred with gods and oracles, cut up the intestines of animals, flipped coins, or offered human sacrifices in an effort to receive supernatural inspiration.
Christianity has a much more direct approach. From its ancient origins in the Jewish faith, Christianity has taught two important truths: God exists, and he communicates his will to his children. Instead of waiting for us to find him, God has taken the initiative and reached out to us.
In the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, he spoke through patriarchs, prophets, and poets. In the New Testament, he spoke more clearly than ever before through his only Son, Jesus Christ, and through some of Jesus' closest disciples.
Whether you call it divine revelation, Holy Scripture, God's Word, or simply the Bible, the message is the same: God cares about us so much that he has given us a book that tells us what he is like and how we can have a loving relationship with him.
During the first twenty centuries of Christian history, people have turned to the Bible for wisdom so they can make sound decisions and live godly lives. They have scanned its pages for encouragement so they can endure life's hard times. And they have trusted its teachings as a source of solid spiritual truth in a world of competing creeds and doctrines.
Still, the Bible isn't always easy to navigate or understand. Covering thousands of years, taking up hundreds of pages, and subdivided into sixty-six books, almost twelve hundred chapters, and more than thirty thousand verses, the Bible can seem big, intimidating, and confusing.
For some of us, reading the Bible is like trying to make sense out of the user's manual that comes with a new DVD player. After slogging through a few pages of technical mumbo jumbo, we find our eyes glazing over, our brains shutting down, and our hands beginning to twitch.
Some people may be tempted to throw manuals like this across the room in anger and disgust. Those blessed with abundant physical strength may want to tear them to shreds. But most of us simply put hard-to-decipher books on a shelf where they sit unread and quietly gather dust.
If that's what you're doing with your Bible, you're missing out on the world's most treasured source of insight, inspiration, and power.
In the pages that follow, we have done some of the research and legwork for you, highlighting 101 key verses that communicate God's will in clear and compelling ways. Here we cut through some of the questions people often ask when they read the Bible.
We certainly are not offering up our own book as a replacement for God's Word. Rather, we hope that as you read about the 101 Most Powerful Verses you will be even more hungry to dive into the remaining riches of God's Word and discover for yourself what they have to offer.
This is a collaborative work, with each of us writing about half of the 101 readings. Many of the readings use first-person pronouns. That's because we thought it would be more effective to use the singular "I" instead of the plural "we" when providing personal anecdotes. In some cases it will be clear who is speaking, but in most of the others it won't make that much difference whether it's Steve or Lois.
Each reading closes with a brief prayer that we've designed to help guide you into God's loving presence. Our prayer is that as you study the readings in this book, you will grow in your knowledge of God's Word and begin experiencing more of what Paul called the "power of [Christ's] resurrection" (Phil. 3:10).
A Light in the Dark
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
FOR little children, darkness can bring about feelings of anxiety and fear. Darkness can harm adults, too, making us lose our way and exposing us to danger.
I know hikers who have been forced to sleep out in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains after the sun quickly set and darkness engulfed any signs of a trail. Those hardy souls who are adventurous enough to brave Alaska's frigid winters encounter more than their share of darkness. The sun doesn't shine for days at a time, leaving hikers unusually vulnerable and bringing disorder to those huddled safely inside who are desperately trying to figure out if it is morning or evening.
Closer to home, even a brief power outage can turn a familiar room into a potential disaster area full of obstacles that seem to lurch out at your shins or your head. And who among us hasn't experienced the momentary frights that can occur when we are awoken by an unusual noise in the hallway during a pitch-black night?
A missionary I know once told me about a South American tribe whose members traveled only at night. In order to keep from losing their way or falling off of one of their region's many cliffs, the men and women of this tribe lit tiny candles that they carried on strings. The candles provided enough illumination for only the next step or two, but that was enough.
Our lives often seem like pilgrimages on rough trails winding through dark and dangerous lands. But God's Word is like a candle that clarifies our path and shows us the way to go.
There are many books in the world, but only one stands supreme. The Bible is God's matchless revelation to us. Since the invention of the printing press more than five centuries ago, the Bible has been the world's best-selling book.
For millennia people copied its contents onto papyrus, parchment, and paper so they could share its wise words with others. Scholars and missionaries have translated its message into hundreds of languages. Brave souls have risked their lives to spread its message or even gone to their deaths rather than deny its teachings.
Why have so many people made such a fuss about this one book for such a long, long time? As the verse from Psalm 119 suggests, the Bible is a source of certain light in an often dark and confusing world.
Psalm 119, which is the longest single chapter in the entire Bible, gives plenty of other reasons people throughout the ages have turned to this unique book. Titled "In praise of God's Word," the psalm lists benefits that come from studying and applying the Bible: it helps us walk in accordance with God's law; it encourages us to remain steadfast and pure; it teaches us to distinguish truth from falsehood and right from wrong; and it strengthens weary souls, bringing hope, comfort, and courage.
George Fox was an English preacher during the seventeenth century and the founder of the Society of Friends, or Quakers. In one of his many sermons, he told his listeners about the light of God's love: "I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love which flowed over the ocean of darkness."
God has given us the Bible, and with its illumination, we can confound the darkness of our world.
God, thank you for sharing your Word with us. May its words find a home in my heart and light my way.
The Creator of All That Is
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
THESE familiar opening words of the Bible proclaim the most amazing of God's many powers. He is the Creator of all that exists. And he created it out of nothing.
I find that truth difficult to comprehend. My own life is full of incomplete tasks that are evidence of my inability to understand simple instructions, much less comprehend the magnificence of a God who made everything without instructions, raw materials, or others to help him.
As a young wife and mother I decided to learn to sew. My mother had been a wonderful seamstress, but I had been interested in more active endeavors and was seldom inside watching her craft the dresses and suits I loved wearing. Her creations were touched with imaginative details and made from the most stylish linens and silks of the day.
When I walked into the fabric store I was hopeful that attempting much more simple styles would promise success, even to a novice like me.
The saleslady was helpful and assured me that with easy patterns I would be able to make darling dresses for my two little girls. An hour later I left the store with all the supplies I needed and headed home to dust off the sewing machine that I had inherited from my mother.
It didn't take long for frustration to set in. Confusing instructions filled the flimsy pattern paper: "Cut on the bias," "Gather the sleeve," "Match the notches on facings." I did complete those early projects but the results were less than stellar.
Fortunately, there are other complex tasks I can comprehend and perform. And millions of people in our world have achieved greatness in their abilities to accomplish innumerable feats. Man-made inventions and human discoveries reveal the wonders of the mind and spill into our lives at a pace that's dizzying.
Even so, none of them even begin to compare with what God has done, and we all can see our own limitations when measured against his handiwork. We stand in awe of the complexity of the world in which we live and believe the truth of Genesis 1:1.
But not everyone believes as we believe. Numerous explanations appear in textbooks and claim superiority over the assertion that a power we know as God called life into being. Finite and rational minds grapple with the complexities of the world around them and seek ways to explain definitively how our world began.
But we who believe him and the biblical account of creation marvel at the power and majesty of our Creator. Our acceptance doesn't diminish the wonder of God's work but leaves room for the mystery of it.
Father, we worship you with amazement as we bask in the beauty of your creation. Thank you for all you have made.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
CHRISTIANS have argued for centuries about when and how Christ is going to return to the earth and usher in the end of time—a scenario a number of books in the Bible have predicted.
"This generation is going to see the climax of history as predicted by the prophets," said a man named Hal Lindsey, the most famous end-times author of the twentieth century. Lindsey's 1970 book, The Late Great Planet Earth, has sold 30 million copies and helped put the fear of God into many readers who wondered if they were ready for Christ's return.
Over the years, end-times authors have developed an amazing number of schemes for trying to figure out what complex passages in the Old Testament Book of Daniel and the New Testament Book of Revelation mean.
For Lindsey, the Armageddon clock began ticking in 1948 with the creation of the state of Israel. He originally predicted that the second coming of Christ would occur no later than 1988.
Lindsey wasn't the first person to pick a specific date for the Second Coming. Over the years, detailed predictions have come from the Shakers, Alexander Campbell and the Disciples of Christ, William Miller and the Seventh-day Adventists, Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith, television evangelist Jack Van Impe, and author Edgar C. Whisenant, who wrote a book entitled 88 Reasons the Rapture Will Be in 88. And many Christians thought the Y2K computer glitch would usher in the end of the world. USA Today reported that "as many as 100" end-times books and novels would be published in the year leading up to January 1, 2000.
Somehow we're still here, and all the end-times authors are busily revising their dates. But if anything, interest in the end times has only grown. The bestselling Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have done more than their share to inspire a whole new wave of apocalyptic speculation. The novels show the chaos and confusion that could result after Christians have been "raptured" (or taken from the earth) and sinners try to survive in a world now dominated by the Antichrist. (Some Christian thinkers have criticized the books' interpretation of theology, but that hasn't slowed their massive popularity. According to Tyndale House, which publishes the series, the Left Behind novels and related books have sold some 50 million copies.)
But many of the well-meaning Christians who have focused so much time and attention on the Second Coming seem to have missed one important point. Christ himself told us that we should concentrate not on the day and the hour of his return but on the state of our souls.
Keeping watch means living our lives in such a way that if Christ returned today, he would find us pleasing in his sight. If I knew I would face Jesus before the sun went down, I think I might start by confessing my sins to God, my family, my co-workers, and my next door neighbors, seeking their forgiveness for past wrongs. I would make some phone calls to loved ones to express my concern for them and share the message of Christ's love. If time allowed, I might even examine my checkbook to make sure I have fulfilled financial commitments made earlier to churches and charities.
It means doing everything we can with the time, energy, and resources we have to extend the kingdom of God—both through sharing the gospel of Christ with others and working to see our culture embrace godly values of justice and righteousness.
And it means being faithful to Christ on a moment-by-moment basis, regardless of whether Christ comes back the next minute or long after we have died.
Father, help me avoid end-times paranoia and instead develop full-time preparedness for your return.
The Greatest Commandment
Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
JESUS doesn't call people to a social or political movement, or even to a life of religion or ethical living. More than anything, he calls us to love God—a call that the laws of Moses first stated.
Repeatedly throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus called this the greatest commandment. "God is love," affirmed John the Apostle. "Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16).
Centuries later, Protestant theologians restated this simple call to love God. "What is the chief end of man?" asked the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith. "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever."
Throughout Christian history, many disciples of Jesus have described the immense love of God. Perhaps none did so as eloquently as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), a Cistercian monk who was both an intellectual and a mystic, and whose French monastery had a worldwide influence. Bernard's most famous work is On Loving God, which contains the following words of wisdom:
You want me to tell you why God is to be loved and how much. I answer, the reason for loving God is God Himself; and the measure of love due to Him is immeasurable love. Is this plain?
We are to love God for Himself, because of a twofold reason; nothing is more reasonable, nothing more profitable. When one asks, Why should I love God? he may mean, What is lovely in God? or What shall I gain by loving God? In either case, the same sufficient cause of love exists, namely, God Himself.
Bernard argued that God is entitled to our wholehearted affection:
For although God would be loved without respect of reward, yet He wills not to leave love unrewarded. True charity cannot be left destitute, even though she is unselfish and seeketh not her own (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Love is an affection of the soul, not a contract: it cannot rise from a mere agreement, nor is it so to be gained. It is spontaneous in its origin and impulse; and true love is its own satisfaction. It has its reward; but that reward is the object beloved. For whatever you seem to love, if it is on account of something else, what you do really love is that something else, not the apparent object of desire. 1
God could have created robots that would "love" him on command, but he didn't. He gave us hearts and free will to do with as we please. Still, as Bernard told us so eloquently, love is our only appropriate response to God.
I love you, Father. Help my love for you to grow.
We Are on Dry Ground
And the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
PERHAPS many young moviegoers today have missed Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 cinematic depiction of the parting of the Red Sea as the Israelites fled from Pharaoh's army. Were they to see The Ten Commandments in one of its numerous television reruns, they might wonder how this movie received an Academy Award for Best Special Effects.
Charlton Heston as an aging Moses holds an outstretched arm over the parting water as the sea rolls up into two huge waves on either side of the Israelites. While the superimposed images of the tumultuous waters don't generate the Wow! response viewers experience in so many movies today, they do convey that a miracle was taking place.
I saw The Ten Commandments several times, and I always marveled at the parting waters and never once took notice of the dry ground Exodus 14:22 mentions. Why does the Bible even give us this information?
I think we, like the Israelites, often forget that God has placed us on a firm foundation.
The Israelites were God's chosen people. He was in the course of taking them out of Egypt and into the promised land, but they started complaining as soon as they saw Pharaoh's army pursuing them. In their fear, their faith faltered. They grumbled to Moses, saying they would rather have died in Egypt than out in the desert (Exod. 14:11). How soon they seemed to forget the terrible slavery they had suffered under the hand of Pharaoh.
Despite their grumbling, God took the Israelites safely to the other side of the Red Sea and destroyed Pharaoh's army by causing the waves to collapse on them. The Israelites had traveled on dry ground.
Imagine thousands of people, animals, carts, and wagons struggling through the muck had God not supernaturally dried up the seabed. Their progress would have been slow and perhaps altogether impossible.
I think the reminder for us in this verse is that God's power holds us firmly on the dry ground of his love, no matter what is happening in our lives. We may feel threatened by the waves of life. We may not feel as if we are secure, but we are. Our spiritual feet may feel mired in the slush of uncomfortable circumstances, but God's presence in our lives keeps us going.
- On Sale
- Feb 11, 2004
- Page Count
- 256 pages