Bible Topics In The Christian Library
Part 2

INTRODUCTION: "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.



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 sin."

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.

4. An understanding of the proper divisions between Old and New Testaments will allow us to understand whether we are bound by certain commandments or not.

A. Who wrote, or spoke this?
1. Who is doing the speaking?

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 God's will.
a. Such statements are inspired in that they have been accurately preserved, but they are not necessarily God's will.
B. When was it written?
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 28:18-20).

C. Where are the words found?
1. What is the context?

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 written?
1. Miracles were commanded but the reasons were also revealed, thus implying the duration.
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 Christians.

2.. Noah was commanded to build an ark, but we are not.

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?

2. Some 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 command.

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.

2. Specific 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.

a. Hebrews 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 baptism.
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.

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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