Biblical Principles for Christian Maturity

John H. Stoll, Th.M., Ph.D

Copyright 1996, John H. Stoll

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Across the pathway and into the life of every person, come people who leave an indelible impression upon that individual. Such was my life, for of the many and varied influences that have molded me, there were four men who touched my life, made an indelible impact upon it, and fashioned my character. What I am today, and for whatever quality of life I experience, I have realized over and over again, that these men have made me what I am, and who I am. They were my foundation for life, and I have constructed my life upon their influence.

The majority of concepts in forming my worldview or philosophy of life came through the modeling of these men. The seminal ideas and constructs in this book, hammered out over forty years of service for the Lord that I have been privileged to serve Him, have grown out of the seeds implanted in me by the examples of Godly living, as well as the precepts of what I learned from them.

Added to this, has been the consistent prodding, teaching, guiding, correcting, and helpful instruction of God's Holy Spirit, and He has taken these four human instruments of His Grace, and together used them to mold me into the person I have become. For all this I shall be eternally grateful, for truly, "The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places". My Lord and Savior not only saved me through the influence of Godly parents, but also used these men as guides and influences in my life.

To the memory of these men to whom I owe so much, I gratefully dedicate this book, for three have passed on to their eternal reward. First of all is my beloved father, Dr. Ralph H. Stoll, who modeled an exemplary Christian life before me, taught me the way of life, and was a kind, gracious Christian gentleman, and an outstanding Bible expositor. Secondly, my eleventh grade Sunday School teacher, Faye Keith, who knew how to handle teenagers in a Christlike way. My Old Testament and Hebrew professor in seminary, Dr. Robert Culver, who gave me a love for the Old Testament and the Hebrew language. Finally the one who fleshed out my understanding of scripture in Theology classes in Seminary, Dr. Alva J. McClain. Without them, from a human perspective, I would never have achieved what I have acquired in education, professionally, or experientially.

When I started this book, I decided to write all the chapters in outline form, duplicated them and taught the contents to the men in my Bible class at the Minneapolis Athletic Club over a three year period. They became my pilot project, and their feedback helped in fleshing out the chapters as they are now written. To these men I owe a debt of gratitude for their spiritual and wise comments, that gave me greater insight to the truths presented in this book. They were of tremendous help.

In II Timothy 2:2, the Apostle Paul, in speaking to his son in the faith, Timothy, stated, "And the things you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same you commit to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also". One of the blessings and joys I have experienced through all these years, is to have been spiritually fed by these men, as well as other great men of faith, and then in turn be able to convey to thousands of my students in college, the blessings and challenges of God's Holy Word. Many of my former students have gone on to serve the Lord, and it rejoices my heart to realize that God's Word is being passed along from generation to generation.

God's revelation to mankind, as found in His word the Bible, is a book devoted to principles for living, illustrated through human relationships, and thus are applicable to us today for our daily guide. The chapters of this book are written from a two fold concept: First to be a guide to understanding the principles, and secondly, to show in a practical way how the principles may be applied to life's situations. So, every chapter is both Biblical and practical. It is with prayerful anticipation that this volume may be used of the Lord to instruct and guide those who read to a fuller life of experience, since Christ said in John 10:10, "I am come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly". The command to the Christian is to, "Grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:2; II Peter 3:18).

John H. Stoll, Th.M., Ph.D.
Executive Director, ASK. Inc.
Spring 1995

There is joy in serving Jesus
As I journey on my way,
Joy that fills my heart with praises,
Every hour and every day.

There is joy in serving Jesus,
Joy that triumphs over pain,
Fills my soul with heaven's music,
Till I join the glad refrain.

There is joy in serving Jesus,
As I walk alone with God;
Tis the joy of Christ, my Saviour,
Who the path of suffering trod.

There is joy in serving Jesus,
Joy amid the darkest night,
For I've learned the secret,
And I'm walking in the light.

There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus,
Joy that throbs within my heart;
Every moment, ev'ry hour, as I draw upon His power,
There is joy that never shall depart

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