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Answers About The
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
"More about Jesus would I know, more of His grace to others show,
more of His saving fullness see, more of His love who died for me."
How many times have we sung this song. But are we really wanting to know
more about Jesus.
We have begun a series
of lessons on "How to study the Bible" in an effort to learn
more about the wonderful message of Jesus and what he has done for us.
This is part two in a series.
I. DON'T FORGET THE
TWO MAIN DIVISIONS IN THE BIBLE.
A. The Old Testament
was written for a specific purpose: to prepare the way for the coming
of Christ and His new covenant.
1. Galatians 3:24
- "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto
Christ, that we might be justified by faith."
2. Romans 3:20 -
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be
justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of
3. The Law of
Moses prepared a sinful world for the coming of the Messiah. It
showed to man the awfulness of sin, the impossibility of
justification by our own deeds, and the need for a redeemer.
B. The New Testament
has taken the place of the Old.
1. Colossians 2:14
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against
us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it
to his cross;"
2. Hebrews 9:15-17
"And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament,
that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions
that were under the first testament, they which are called might
receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament
is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17
For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of
no strength at all while the testator liveth."
C. Knowing this
division is important.
1. Without it one
would not know not to offer burnt sacrifices.
2. One would still
be bound to the practices of circumcision, keeping of feast days,
and the abstaining from different kinds of meats.
3. One would not
have a direct relationship with the heavenly Father but would still
need to go through a separate priesthood.
understanding of the proper divisions between Old and New Testaments
will allow us to understand whether we are bound by certain
commandments or not.
II. REMEMBER THE FIVE
W's OF BIBLE STUDY.
A. Who wrote, or
1. Who is doing
2. Is it God, or
some inspired man speaking the word of God.
3. Is it some
uninspired person, like the Devil doing the speaking.
a. See Genesis
2:17 and Genesis 3:4
4. This is
especially helpful when reading some of the book of Job. Many of the
statements spoken in the book were spoken by uninspired men, like
Job's "friends". Their statements must not be taken as
statements are inspired in that they have been accurately
preserved, but they are not necessarily God's will.
B. When was it
1. This is
important when we read of certain commands.
2. Jesus commanded
his followers to follow Moses and the pharisees in Matthew 23:1
while after his death he said that he had all authority (Matthew
C. Where are the
1. What is the
2. Matthew 4:6 -
"He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their
hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot
against a stone."
a. This is a
direct quote from Psalm 91:11. But when one looks at the context
it is a quote from the Devil who twists the Scriptures to suit his
own evil purposes.
D. Why was it
1. Miracles were
commanded but the reasons were also revealed, thus implying the
a. Mark 16:14-20
and Hebrews 2:3-4.
2. Footwashing was
commanded, but as a good work and not as an act of public worship.
a. John 13:14
and 1 Timothy 5:9-10.
E. To Whom was it
written or spoken?
1. Acts 2:38 was
spoken to alien sinners while Acts 8:22 was spoken to unfaithful
2.. Noah was
commanded to build an ark, but we are not.
III. WE NEED TO
UNDERSTAND HOW WE FIND BIBLE AUTHORITY FOR WHAT WE DO.
A. Is there a Direct
Command for what we desire to do?
1. Mark 16:16 is
very clear about the necessity of belief and baptism for salvation.
2. Luke 13:3,5 is
just as clear about the necessity of repentance.
B. Is there an
example of Inspired men doing something that would be binding on us?
1. How do we know
if an example of an inspired man is binding on us today? For
example, are we still bound by the example of Paul preaching until
midnight? Are we required to meet in an upper room because the Lord
and his apostles did so?
commonsense ways to know when an example is binding.
a. If the
example of doing something is necessary to carry out a command.
For example, the apostles meeting on the Lord's day (Acts 20:6-7)
is binding on us because it is necessary to carry Jesus'
admonition to "do this in remembrance of me." However,
meeting in an upper chamber, or a specific container for the
emblems is not necessary to the carrying out of the Lord's
b. If the
example was for a specific purpose for the circumstances
surrounding it and not to carry out an underlying command it is
not binding on us. Paul circumcised Timothy so that he, a half Jew
would be accepted in Paul's work with the Jews (Acts 16:1-3), but
Paul refused to circumcise Titus, a full gentile, because it would
have set an binding example on the gentiles (Galatians 2:3-4).
Using the circumcision of Timothy as a binding example on
Christians would not be sound reasoning because Paul meant it as a
expedience to allow him to use Timothy, not as an example for all
Christians to follow. Titus demonstrates this.
C. We need to
differentiate between General and Specific authority.
1. General (or
generic) Authority is where God gives us a command to do something
and does so in a broad way, allowing the individual the option to
carry out the command it the best way in their sight.
authority is where the Lord gives the details of a command. He tells
the how as well as the what of the command.
3. In most cases
the commands of the Lord are a combination of both general and
specific authority. Some Examples.
a. We are
commanded to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15-16).
We are told specifically what the preach, the gospel. The message
is specific, excluding others. But we are generally told to go. It
is left up to us as to the means of carrying out the message.
b. We are
commanded to sing (Ephesians 5:19). In this verses the kind of
music to be used is specified, singing. The instrument is
specified, the heart. This excludes other types of music. But it
is also general in nature. He does not specific from where to get
the words. Therefore, the use of songbooks, hymnboards to announce
the songs, or tuning forks and pitchpipes to get the right pitch
are all authority by general authority because they do not change
the nature of sings. But instrumental music is a violation of the
specific of the command, to sing with the voice.
D. We need to keep
in mind the Law of Silence.
1. While not
specifically written down, it is nonetheless a true principle.
2. When the New
Testament specifies a command, we are not free to do it in a
different way, even though there may not be a "thou shalt
not" for what we are wanting to.
3. A New Testament
example of the law of Silence.
7:12-15 teaches that Jesus' priesthood has replaced the levitical
priesthood because Jesus, our high priest, could not be a priest
under the old covenant because, "For it is evident that our
Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing
concerning priesthood." The old covenant specified that the
priests come from the tribe of Levi. But it did not say not to
have the priest come from Judah. It didn't have to. When the Lord
specified it ruled out all other.
4. For example,
when the New Testament specifies immersion, it does not have to
specifically rule out all other so called "modes" of
CONCLUSION: The Bible
can be understood by the average person. We simply need to put in some
effort in that study. We will be eternally rewarded in our labors.
1999 by Grady Scott may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes at no
cost to others.
What is The Bible?
1, Part 2,
How to Study the Bible? Part 1,
Part 2, Part
b. Who is Jesus? Part
1, Part 2,
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