Monday, April 30, 2018

The Sufficiency of God's Word

Dr. E.W. Bullinger wrote the following words in 1897:
"God's word is the all-sufficient instrument to accomplish all the Divine purposes in this world, we have no need of any other agency. It is "the power of God unto salvation," it is "able to make wise unto salvation." It must "prosper" and cannot fail to accomplish all the Divine purposes and counsels. Oh, let us beware, that as God's workmen (2 Tim. 2:15), we never adopt any means or take up with any new methods, which tend in the slightest degree to imply the Word of God has lost any of its power, or needs any handmaids or helpmeets, to help it. God's Word is given to God's workmen as the one and only implement to accomplish God's work. This Word he is solemnly charged to preach, and though men "turn away their ears" the exhortation remains the same: "Preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:1-4). If we have His message we must deliver it, and if we have not, we had better hold our peace. Apart from the Word, the workman is only "a voice," and nothing more."

That churches today have lost confidence in God's word is proven by all of the programs, gimmicks, and carnal tactics they rely on to "get the people in." It is not our job to "get the people in." We are to get God's word into the people! If they don't want God's word, we CANNOT help them! 

Compare 2 Tim. 3:16 with 2 Tim. 4:2:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for:
1. "doctrine," therefore "Preach the word"
2. "reproof," therefore "reprove"
3. "correction," therefore "rebuke"
4. "instruction" therefore "exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine"

Monday, April 23, 2018

Rules for Bible Study (pt.2)

5. The word of God has its own built-in dictionary
We must not rely on man-made definitions to understand Bible words. All of the words in the Bible can be understood by the studying the Bible itself. There is no need to look to outside sources to understand Bible words.
A. Look up the first mention of the word
B. Consider the word in context
C. Note parallelism (e.g. fellowship defined in 2 Cor. 6:14-16)
D. Check cross-references

6. Context, Context, Context!
The Bible is not a collection of sayings. All false teachers use the Bible, they just use it out of context. Consider each passage in light of it’s dispensational context (prophecy or mystery). What is the context of the book? What is the context of the chapter? What is the immediate context?

“It shall greatly help ye to understand Scripture if thou mark not only what is spoken or wrythen, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth after.” Coverdale (1488-1569).

7. We must always keep in mind that the scriptures were given by progressive revelation
Progressive revelation is dispensational truth. A biblical dispensation is marked by God dispensing new revelation that brings about a change in how He deals with man. We must not read truth back into a passage before it was revealed. For example, the baptism WITH the Holy Ghost in Acts 2 according to prophecy (Acts 2:16) cannot be the same baptism BY the Spirit into the Body of Christ which was a mystery later revealed through Paul (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 3:1-12).

8. We must consider what Paul says first (2 Tim. 2:7)
Since the apostle Paul is the divinely appointed spokesman for this present age of grace, we must consider what he says first if we are going to understand the scriptures. We cannot possibly follow everything the Bible says. We must follow the doctrine and example that Christ gave us for this age in the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 4:16-17; 11:1).

9. We must rightly divide the word of truth 
This is the main key to Bible study. In the one verse in which God told us to study His word, He told us exactly how to do it (2 Tim. 2:15). The upcoming posts will explain this main key. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Rules for Bible Study (pt.1)

1. We are to take the words in their normal and literal sense (Neh. 8:8)
The word of God uses some figurative, symbolic, and allegorical language, but most of it is written in plain, literal language. We must always take the words in their normal and literal sense unless it is clearly not possible to do so. For example, when Christ said, “I am the door,” He was obviously not saying that He was literally a wooden door on hinges. Words have meaning, but the allegorical approach claims that the Bible does not mean what it says. This approach attacks the clarity, authority, and integrity of God’s word. 

2. The scriptures are self-interpreting (2 Pet. 1:20)
There is only one right interpretation for every passage of scripture. It is not our place to interpret the Bible (Gen. 40:8). The living word of God interprets itself as we study it God’s way. So, you can just forget man-made rules of hermeneutics. Never build a doctrine on an isolated text.

3. We must compare spiritual things with spiritual (1 Cor. 2:13)
We must “search the scriptures” because one verse or passage will shed more light on another. Learning how to run cross-references is essential to Bible study. The comparison that transformed the way I study the Bible is Acts 3:21 ("spoken... since the world began") with Rom. 16:25 ("secret since the world began").

4. We must understand the difference between interpretation and application

When it comes to understanding the Bible, it is vital that we know the difference between interpretation and application. Interpretation is simply the right and proper explanation of what is written. It is to expound (unfold, open) the text in strict accordance with its context (Neh. 8:8; Lk. 24:27, 44-45). Every passage of scripture only has one right interpretation, but it may have more than one spiritual application. Many mistake an application for the interpretation.

Bullinger wrote, “The interpretation of a passage belongs to the occasion when, and the persons to whom, or of whom, the words were originally intended. When that has been settled, then it is open to us to make application of those words to ourselves or others, so far as we can do so without coming into conflict with any other passages.”

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Word of Truth

The “word of truth” refers to the gospel (Eph. 1:13) and to the whole Bible (Ps. 119:43; 2 Cor. 6:7). How would we know for sure the gospel is right if the whole Bible is not right?

We must rightly divide the word of truth because:
1. There are different gospels revealed in the Bible - The "word of truth" by which Israel will be born again (Jam. 1:18) is not the same word of truth by which we are saved today.
2. There are different dispensations and ages revealed in the Bible. God gives different instructions to different groups living at different times. We cannot possibly follow the whole Bible.

Believing the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16) and rightly dividing it (2 Tim. 2:15) go hand in hand. The only way to understand the Bible without changing any words and just letting it say exactly what it says, is to rightly divide it. The KJB is a dispensational book. That is amazing in light of the fact that the translators were not dispensationalists.
1. It is the only English translation that gets 2 Tim. 2:15 right
2. It is the only one that preserves Paul’s doctrine of justification by the faith OF Christ
3. It’s 66 books are laid out in a dispensational order
4. It has a built-in dictionary and cross-referencing system that greatly helps us to rightly divide

Our God is a God of truth (Jn. 14:6). Therefore, His word must be truth (Jn. 17:17). A Bible that has errors in it cannot be rightly called, “the word of truth.” If Christ would have sinned just one time, He could not be the Word of God. There are errors in all of the modern versions. There are no errors in the KJB. The KJB glorifies Christ more than all of the other versions. All of the modern versions diminish the person and work of Christ to some extent.

Most preachers and teachers claim that the Bible was only inspired in the original manuscripts and preserved in the original languages. That would be a real problem for us seeing as we don’t have the original manuscripts or know the original languages. Thankfully the Bible itself says no such thing. They claim that a translation cannot be inspired, and yet the Bible provides many examples of inspired translations. One of my favorite examples is found in Rom. 9:17 (Hebrew to Egyptian to Hebrew to Greek to English). Doesn’t it make sense that in this Gentile age God would preserve His word in the language that most Gentiles speak?

If we believe what the Bible says about itself, we will believe that there is a perfect copy of God’s inspired words available for us today. Where is it (2 Tim. 3:14-17; Ps. 12:6-7; 1 Pet. 1:23)? Those who don’t believe the KJB don’t believe any Bible is perfect. They claim to believe Gen. 1:1 but find it hard to believe God can give us a perfect Bible in English!

Do you follow Christ or Satan in how you approach and handle the scriptures?

Christ (Lk. 4:16-21)
1. He believed the copies available to Him were the scriptures
2. He rightly divided the word of truth (stopped reading in the middle of the sentence because was rightly dividing His first coming from His second coming)

Satan (Lk. 4:1-13)
1. He cast doubt on it and messed with the words (e.g. omitted words from Ps. 91:11)
2. He mixed it all up (e.g. it was not the right time or manner for Christ to receive the kingdoms)

Believing the Bible is foundational to rightly dividing it. Beware of those who try to rightly divide it without really believing it! I cannot overemphasize the importance of believing every word of God (Prov. 30:5-6)!

Monday, April 2, 2018

What is Our Motive in Bible Study?

Our Bible study should be a spiritual exercise and not just a mental one. The Bible is the living word of God, not a textbook. We should study the Bible out of a relationship with God, not religious ritual. Bible study should not be just about gaining knowledge, but the knowledge of God. We can only know God and His truth through His word.

Why did Paul say that we must study to be approved unto God? Aren’t we complete in Christ (Col. 2:10) and accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6)? We are approved as to our standing (unchangeable position in Christ), but he is talking about our state (changeable condition). We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of our service. We will not serve God according to His will for this present age unless we rightly divide the word of truth (Rom. 14:10-19; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 4:1-5; 2 Cor. 5:9-11).

What is our motive in Bible study?
1. The fear of God, or man? (Prov. 29:25) 
2. The approval of God, or man? (Jn. 12:42-43)
3. The judgment seat of Christ, or the judgment of men? (1 Cor. 4:3)
4. Charity, or pride? (1 Cor. 8:1; 13:2)

Does our Bible study cause us to grow spiritually? Do we study that we might help others, or look down on them? God knows our heart. Motive matters!

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