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Free Bible Student Newsletter, Volume I - Issue #05
December 28, 2010
What is Time?
What is time? Some say time is cyclical, and others say it is linear. Actually both are true it is a matter of perspective and exposure. Cyclical time is based on events and/or routine. For example, the Hebrews saw time as event driven due to the agricultural society in which they lived. They viewed time according to the time of planting, irrigating, and harvesting because their lives depended on it. Their festivals and celebrations were also grafted into this cyclical time based calendar. If you would have asked them the question what is time, they would have answered that it was a cycle of events.
The modern man answers the question what is time in the principles of past, present, and future. It is important to note that these two ideas are not mutually exclusive. The thought is a cyclical time frame can exist along with the linear time frame just as long as a priority is understood by all who use it. Societies cannot use both references of time (at the same time) and operate efficiently. The perspective of what time frame has preference becomes confusing. Here it has become important to know how time is viewed because there a basis of reference and priority. So the question is posed, what does man do with his perspective of time?
What does man really do with time? Well, some say we build time, we waste time, we need time, we use time, we make time, we do time, desire time, want time, buy time, look for time, find time, want more time, hope in time, believe in time, watch time.
If we watch time, maybe we stare at time, share time, keep time, lose time, maximize time, minimize time, affect time, skip time, buy time, save time, kill time, and run out of time (this list is not exhaustive, but looks so). The real question is not what is time, but what do we do with our time, and when does it become His (God's) time?
The question of what is time is universal because the one constant we share is time. God has given all of man just 24 hours in a day. One view is that God has given man too much time, and the antithesis is man feels slighted because he has not been given enough time. How much time is needed to have a life? With the fast paced life of today, some of us don't know if we are coming or going.
There was a television commercial some time ago based on hard-working bakery employee which happened to meet himself at his own front door; as the door opened he saw himself going back to work in his uniform. With all of man's modern day equipment, gadgetry, and innovations he has not saved any time. Man is still in the race of his life. With all of man's new inventions he has not added one second to his life, he has only learned to run the race faster.
Take a look at man's language over the last few years. The phrases paint the illusion of having no time. Phrases like "Rush Hour, O'clock Traffic, We don't have all day, I'm coming. . .and so is Christmas." We have terminology such as urgent and priority mail, next day delivery, we have pressing issues, and I needed that yesterday. When someone needed the "Sheriff" they used the telegraph and waited days for him to arrive. Today when 911 is called the "Deputy" is allotted 3-5 minutes to arrive depending on the situation. We have gone from three days to three minutes in the last century. What is time? Our perspectives certainly change in time.
Man needs to slow down. All the time he is saving, is being lost due to being so overly busy. It is the next hurdle, problem, nuance that man is looking to overcome. Man is so forward thinking, he has lost his sense of the present. Man is not in the now, he is in the what will be. He cannot smell roses because he does not have time to see the flowers.
With all of man's modern technology and modern conveniences he should have more leisure time than anywhere in history; rather the opposite is true, it is run, run, run, and go, go, go. Where is the balance? The balance is stated in the book of Genesis concerning the creation story. God knows what man's limitations are, so he explains it through the creation week. Day one through day six are spent creating the world and on the seventh day God rests. This is God's example for man on how to live his life. The message is simple work hard and include rest which will ensure a quality life.
People are usually worried about tomorrow, but that too is not God's example. God did not worry if the oceans were deep enough or if there were enough birds, etc. God was in the present and was not concerned for the past or the future, he was in the now. God has His own sense of time.
If you were to ask God the question "What is time?", how would He answer? How does God view time? A good description is God views time like a parade. He sees the present which is right in front of Him. Then, He sees the past which is the part of the parade that ha already gone by, and He sees the future as the part of the parade which has not arrived yet. God is not limited by time because He is sovereign. Basically, God is not fixed in time. He can move through time, view any time because He is infinite, but man cannot because he is fixed in time and finite (limited in time and space). 2 Peter 3:8 states: ". . .that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day (NASB)." In essence, God is not affected by time the way finite man is controlled by the finality of time. There is an end point for man's physical life because of time.
The Psalmist states in Psalm 39:4-5: "O Lord, help me understand my mortality and the brevity of life! Let me realize how quickly My life will pass! Look, you make my days short-lived, and my life is nothing from your perspective. Surely all people, even those who seem secure, are nothing but a vapor (NASB)."
More important to the answer to the question of "What is time?" is the understanding that time is of the essence. Time is short, so do we fill time with things of this world, or things that are eternal? It does not matter who we are, or how gifted we are, or how able or strong, we will never be able to meet every need around us nor accomplish all we see that needs to be done. However, we can find time and the ability to do what God is calling us to do. God has called us all to himself through Jesus the Messiah. Jesus spends time waiting for us to knock at the door, so He can enter our lives and provide us with eternity and quality of life. What are we doing with our time?
What is time to you? What is God calling you to do? How are you spending your time? Is the time you spend Quality time or is it Quantity time? Is the time you spend for the temporal (matters of the world) or for the eternal (matters of heaven)? Where's the balance?
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FACTS ABOUT GODThis feature provides a series of facts about God from the Bible that provide the Bible Student insight into who God is and key factors about His character. For instance, in the first issue we learn that God is light. In this issue we learn that God is Merciful.
For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them Deuteronomy 4:31
HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE STUDY BIBLE - A REVIEWEach issue of the newsletter we will provide you a review of a different Study Bible. This issue's review features the Holman Christian Standard Bible Study Bible.
This Study Bible is commonly referred to as the HCSB Study Bible and describes itself as "God's Word for Life". It is a recent translation (2004) of the Bible produced with the goal of providing the Bible student with tools to engage God's Word on a deeper level; and therefore transforming life based on a true knowledge of God. The HCSB Study Bible recognizes the text of the Holy Scriptures as the essential and primary element of the work, and emphasizes that all study aids are secondary and exist to serve the text.
A unique feature of the HCSB Study Bible are the notes that indicate alternate translations or literal translations of the text that were considered by the translators. This unique feature allows the reader to see how the HCSB Study Bible translators view the work as the most accurate translation of the text.
Other features of the HCSB Study Bible are:
A great feature of the HCSB Study Bible is it's online study component found at this website
I think this Study Bible provides the Bible student a treasure trove of resources; therefore I highly recommend it to you. I'm glad I purchased mine and I will use it and the website often in my studies.
CROSSWORD PUZZLESOur quarterly newsletter features a new crossword puzzle every issue. This newsletter's puzzle is titled Christianity. Access the crossword puzzle page by clicking the link below.
BIBLE TRIVIAWe offer a new Bible trivia game every issue. This issue's theme is "Who Said That?" Just click on the link below to play. Answers are provided instantly.
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We pray that this Free Bible Student Newsletter provided useful information to you and look forward to our continued service to our readers.
May God continue to bless you as you study His Holy Word.
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