Friday, May 12, 2017

Studying The Scriptures I

Christianity is based on the principle that the scriptures are true.   In John 5:39, Jesus instructed the Jews, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  Their understanding of who the Messiah was and what he would do was based on the scriptures.   Only through the scriptures could they be sure that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.  Their faith had to be based on the scriptures, as Romans 10:17 says.  “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

This presupposes that the scriptures are accurate and can be depended upon.  II Peter 1:19-21 tells they can because of the way they were given.  “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”   He is very specific that the various writers and prophets did not write what they thought was important, but were specifically directed by God what they were to write.  As a result we can believe the scriptures are in fact the word of God, even though they were transcribed by many different men. 

Today there are many who believe that the scriptures contain the word of God, but that it not all his word.   Still others believe that some parts are only applicable to certain periods in history and do not apply today.   As we will see there are some reasons for their beliefs, but as II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  Every scripture came from God and they are all applicable for people today. 

That does not mean we can randomly open our bible and place our finger on averse and base our actions on what the verse says, as some have taught.  They can be misunderstood or misapplied, so II Timothy 2:15 commands, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  To properly understand what the scriptures are saying, it will be necessary to spend the time studying them.  While some scriptures are for basic doctrine or guidance others are for examples of what happens when we obey or when we disobey what God said, according to I Corinthians 10:11.  “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. “  Some of the things are in there to warn us not to do them.  It would be foolish to do them just because they are described in a particular verse.      

Acts 17:11 was speaking of the people at Berea when he said, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”  Literally, it says that they deserved more respect because they were willing to listen to different ideas, but before they believed them, they took the time to study the scriptures to see whether the ideas were true or not.  In this study we will be looking at some things to help in getting the best understanding possible. 

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