Seven Precepts to Understanding the Bible

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Preface

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

Titus 1:10-11

The Bible, the most published, sold, given away, personally owned, outlawed, read, neglected, loved, hated, praised, despised, book ever to have existed. Esteemed as the very words of God, renounce as merely the work of men, cherished as truth, scorned as fable, it promises peace beyond understanding but with trials and tribulation to all who trust in and live its precepts. It warns of false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, of Satan and his ministers appearing as an angel of light and ministers of righteousness, all deceiving and misleading on what the Bible says and means.

It’s quite a book if it is what it says it is, all the contradictions and confusion over and about it are to be expected. In studying it many truths come to light, one such truth is: considering the life we now live in the flesh, what does one lose by embracing it—nothing; what does one gain by rejecting it—nothing.

Why condemn a book for admonishing to have charity for all, to recompense to no man evil for evil, provide things honest in the sight of all men, to love and care for your family and others as yourself. In short, unless you just want to do wrong, just want to be selfish, self-centered, self-righteous, greedy, lazy, corrupt, there is no reason to disparage and reject the Bible; nor the God of the Bible, who although warns that he shall judge us on all these things, failure is not an issue, as he provided a way for all to pass that judgment justified and guiltless.

Understandably, all men without his saving grace fail his judgment as the Bible presents the strictest, most demanding of religions in that it requires absolute sinless perfection to be saved. Unlike other religions that leave you hanging, unsure, as to whether you are good enough, the Bible tells us flat out—we are not. Standing securely and confidently on this solid ground of knowing we are not good enough, cannot save ourselves, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” we can look to the God of the Bible, the God of creation, the God of justice, judgment, and loving kindness, and we see that he has freely provided absolute sinless perfection for us; on one condition—that we believe him.

Numbers 14:11 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me,…

Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

“Studies in Scripture” are all about believing and accepting what God said, letting the Bible speak for itself. It is taken without reservation that God wrote and preserved to this day his word. This book does not cover the controversy of which Bible, suffice it to say that God is not producing the new versions that are published every year. Without apology the studies herein are based on the 1611 Authorized Version of the Bible, commonly called the King James Version.

The studies presented here are written to and for the common man, such as myself. You will not find words such as: hermeneutics, Epistemology, Exegesis, or any such like contained in them. Nor, except for minor things as the meaning of a name, will the Greek and Hebrew be relied upon to understand the English of our Bible. I hope you will enjoy these studies as much as I enjoyed preparing them.

Although, there are those, “Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not,” as a biblical apologist I do not believe in the necessity to attack and condemn individuals. These studies compare the teachings and doctrines as taught by men and denominations with what the Bible says. Individuals knowing the truth through a personal knowledge of what the Bible says is the only way to stop the mouths that need to be stopped. So with Christian charity for all, I present my “Studies in Scripture” series on the doctrines of Scripture for your consideration. If studied with a heart’s desire to learn and understand God’s word it is felt that the truth will shine through.

I realize that we are in the last days and that many, even those who have never studied or read the Bible, are having their interest piqued by books and preaching on the Lord’s return. Knowing the exact time and day of his return will not make you a better Christian nor witness for him. Knowing the doctrines and teachings of Scripture will.

Your Servant in Christ Jesus,
D. Paul Walker
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
Call or Text: 1-334-494-5829
https//aficj.org

And it is the English Bible we are thinking about, the Bible in the vernacular, the tongue most of us best understand. One is grateful to have studied Hebrew and Greek, just to be able to tell others who have not that they do not require either to hearken to our Heavenly Father’s voice. He has an advantage as a scholar who can utilize the original tongues; but the Bible was not given to scholars, but to the people, and “hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born” (Acts 2:8)

“How to Master the English Bible”,
James M. Gray, D.D.
The Winona Publishing Co. 1904


Introduction

For God is not the author of confusion,
but of peace,...

1 Corinthians 14:33

Knowing this first,
that no prophecy of the scripture
is of any private interpretation.

2 Peter 1:20

God is the author of order, out of order comes peace. Order in life, as in all things, necessitates borders, boundaries, and rules all built upon a base set of principles. These principles are the general truths, the accepted conventions, that all else is founded upon. In the course of my studies, I have found seven biblical precepts which together constitute a framework for biblical understanding.

As in life and creation, so it is when it comes to the study of God’s word, there must be order, rules to govern a proper understanding and comprehension of its teachings and doctrines. These rules are in opposition to private interpretations which give no regard to any such guiding limitations. The biblical precepts are simply God’s stated principles or the general truths on how he has determined and established all things. No doctrine or teaching can be correct if it attempts to evade or fails to conform to any one of them.

These seven precepts if understood and adhered to will bring order and discernment to aid in correctly interpreting the precepts, teachings, and doctrines of Scripture. These principles are not a new discovery on my part, whole books have been written on several. However, I have never seen them listed together or taught as a complete cognitive list, a single unit. They act as a guide to meditation and, more importantly, limits to the imagination in studying the Scriptures. This study merely sets them in order that they may be recognized as such a unit, a set of rules to study and judge by.

I firmly believe that an understanding of these seven precepts and faithfully keeping them as a guide is the secret to unlocking the meaning and wonder of the Bible. It has been many years, many hundreds of conversations and debates, since I first began, in 1993, to teach these precepts as a list. With the passing of each, I am ever more convinced of their worth. To study the Scriptures without an understanding of these principles is to travel a highway haphazardly marked with partial or no signposts, a highway such as I hope none of my readers desire to travel.

These precepts are not esoteric, not difficult to grasp in and of themselves, and it is quite comforting to have such guides. They are divided into two parts. The first three deal with the human heart, they address the attitudes and desire toward the word of God. The last four deal with the construction of the Scriptures, how the Bible is written and to be correctly interpreted. I hope that you will find them as useful as I have.

And it is the English Bible we are thinking about, the Bible in the vernacular, the tongue most of us best understand. One is grateful to have studied Hebrew and Greek, just to be able to tell others who have not that they do not require either to hearken to our Heavenly Father's voice. He has an advantage as a scholar who can utilize the original tongues; but the Bible was not given to scholars, but to the people, and "hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born" (Acts 2:8)

"How to Master the English Bible”,
Rev. James M. Gray, D.D.
The Winona Publishing Co.
Chicago 1904


Part One

The Attitude of the Heart

Blessed are they
that keep his testimonies,
and that seek him
with the whole heart.

And if you will stop and ask yourself, why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you, that it is neither through ignorance, nor inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it. English Clergy

William Law 1686-1761
English Clergy


Diligence

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

Whether or not due diligence is given to the study of the Bible is determined by the heart, its attitude toward God and his word. To understand the Bible, a godly perspective of life’s priorities and a heart’s desire to seek the Lord is required. How should the time devoted to the study of the words of our creator be compared to the time spent in the pursuit of the profit and pleasures of this world? God is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

The word diligent, diligence or diligently appears 62 times in 61 verses in the Bible. All but a few refer to being diligent toward obeying God's word, diligent in studying God's word or diligent in preparing ourselves to serve him.

Exodus 15:26 If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight,…

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life:…

Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,…

It is important to conceptualize the abstract meaning of diligence and make it a concrete desire of the heart if we expect to meet the standard that will be rewarded of God. The following is a short word study on diligence. It is not necessary to memorize the following definitions, but it will be extremely helpful to familiarize yourself with the terms and comprehend the action that each describes so that you understand what God is requiring, what he will reward.

Diligence {Latin—diligo, to love earnestly}

Constancy is a very interesting part of diligence in relation to God's word.

Constancy {Latin - consto, to stand}

If time is taken to study and consider the above list, it will be seen that the substance of these words is not physical attributes, not all mental attributes but all are qualities of the heart. Persistence is not by strength but by a heart's desire; you persevere when physical strength and mental determination fail. Zeal from the heart is undampened by disappointment while the affections of the flesh fade as fast as they are obtained; our minds we change constantly. Lasting affections, steadfastness, is of the heart. Standing firm, fixedness, unchanging these are attributes of God which he desires us to have.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not;…

James 1:17 …the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Daniel 6:26 …the God of Daniel: …he is the living God, and stedfast for ever,…

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

A common response when speaking with people is that they had tried to read the Bible at one time and failing to understand it, not having immediate comprehension, the Bible was set aside and left to collect dust. This type of statement always betrays one's heart attitude, especially when it is from professionals, businessmen, college graduates, tradesmen of all sorts; men who have and continue to diligently study the disciplines of this world in order to reap its rewards and have applied no time to the diligent study of God's word. Men have their priorities reversed. They spend all their time preparing for and attempting to profit in the here and now, our short and temporary home, and no time preparing to profit in eternity, our long and permanent home.

Ecclesiastes 12:5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:…

Do you have a desire to know God, to understand his word? Make that desire a permanent state, a lasting affection. God is not going to give the undecided, the lackadaisical, the double-minded nor those that are self-promoting, any considerable understanding or wisdom in his word.

Psalms 78:5-8 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:… 8And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.

James 4:8purify your hearts, ye double minded.

James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.

There is much more to the admonition that God, "is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him," than first meets the eye. The Bible is our lamp, our light, and our guide; without a knowledge of what it says we will not understand the Scriptures, and can not fully comprehend life, history, or the nature of the universe we live in. The greatest indignity we as part of creation can perform toward God our creator is not to listen and diligently consider when he speaks, to forsake his word and walk in our own way.

Psalms 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

1 Samuel 2:6-8 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. 7The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 8He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them.

According to the Scriptures, there is nothing that is without the Lord nor is there anything not in his control. We are far better advised to diligently seek him and an understanding of his word than the wisdom and understanding of this world.

The first precept to understanding the Bible is:

God is a rewarder of them
that Diligently seek him

Some believers stop looking for treasure in their Bibles after a while. They don't stick to the map, don't rely on the Word to chart their course, and after a while they get detoured into a maze of self-help books, psychology, intellectual speculation, philosophy, materialism, educational title mongering, mass media punditry, or motions of empty religiosity.

THE TRANSLATOR TO THE READER
“The Orthodox Jewish Bible”
Translated by: Dr. Phillip E. Goble
Artists for Israel International Publishing
Copyright © 2011, ISBN 978-0-939341-05-4


Neither Add Nor Diminish

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 4:2

On the face of it, this next precept would seem to be a self-evident simple truth, do not add to nor diminish from the word of God. However, men and women, being what we are, are prone to adding and subtracting from the Bible almost subconsciously. Most of us are familiar with the following statements, all of which are not biblically true:

The violation of this precept takes on many forms from blatant out and out lies to feigned subtleties of those who contrive false representations, take out of context and otherwise imitate the truth to form the multitudes of false teachings and doctrines we struggle with today.

2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2and many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:….

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

The precepts discussed in this study, understood and applied, will prevent the student of Scripture from being deceived. Failure to understand is derived from the infraction of the first precept, the lack of diligent study, from which improper conclusions are drawn leading to the formulation of incorrect doctrines, much of which are obtained by adding or diminishing from what the Bible says. Being human we are subject to trusting our faulty reasoning, and becoming fixated; mentally stuck on an erroneous idea or principle.

One error many people make is to learn something the wrong way and stick to it no matter what.

"Secrets of Mind Power"
Harry Lorayne. 1961

We must never be too dogmatic in our attitude toward what we think we know, always be open minded. There is always more to learn and those that have learned it. This is not to be tossed about "with every wind of doctrine," it is self-examination, building upon the truths you have previously biblically discovered. Be firm in the knowledge of God's precepts with strict adherence to the context of God's word. Examine and reexamine everything as you study, growing in knowledge and understanding requires it. You can be well assured that at some point a modification or clarification of a belief or interpretation held will have to be made if you are growing at all.

Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Be wise in understanding that all men, and the ladies too, are naturally inclined to being slack, puffed up and self-serving rather than diligently searching the Scriptures. We change the Bible, wrest its passages, misquote, misapply and dismiss; that is we add and diminish from the words of the Book. When we ought to be constantly adjusting our attitudes, way of thinking, values, our priorities, so that they conform to the word of God as we obtain greater knowledge and understanding in the Scriptures, we are defiant, self-willed, obstinate. If we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ we should hold no principles, opinions, or attitudes that we cannot show from the Bible, without adding thereto nor diminishing therefrom, to be correct.

Carefully consider the fact that this precept embodies more than just the addition or removal of words in the Bible. It also includes changing the meaning or the sense of the words, as in not keeping to the context of a passage or the use of proper grammar. These mental changes take place before the words are changed.

Nehemiah 8:4-8 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood,…5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people;… 7Also Jeshua, and Bani, …and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

Simply placing the wrong meaning on a word can lead to a false understanding of the doctrines and precepts of God. It is very important to pick the proper meaning in accordance with its context, subject, and cross-references. All of the words in the Bible have understandable definitions and when held in the context in which they appear all but a very few are easily understood. A good dictionary is always a good investment but the Bible will define words within itself. Beware of anyone who offers their own private or theological definitions. Be especially wary of those who based their definition in the shrouded mist of unrecorded history, of ancient antiquity; context is everything! context, Context, CONTEXT!

Another all too common mistake is to assume a meaning where there is none. It must be remembered that the smallest unit of English grammar, or any other language, that has meaning is the sentence. Anything less than a whole sentence, e.g., a clause, phrase, or any group of words, has no significance outside the context of its sentence. It is an amazing feat of ignorance when one bases their teaching on a mere phrase taken out of the context of its sentence; many have done just that.

2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;… to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

The second precept to understanding the Bible is:

Ye shall not add unto the word
neither shall ye diminish ought from it

The word of God will stand a thousand readings; and he who has gone over it most frequently is the surest of finding new wonders there.

James Hamilton 1814~67
English Clergy


Believe All That Is Written

But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Acts 24:14

The Bible is either God's word or it is not. God preserved his word, or we do not have his word; the question is no more complicated than that. All the controversy never really had anything to do with whether or not we have his word. It has always been about us, will we believe God or will we not believe him?

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Galatians 3:6-7 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Many of the pulpits of the world are filled by men and women standing before the congregations and proclaiming their unbelief in the Scriptures. They disavow anything and everything that requires faith in the power of God by ascribing them to allegories, legend, or mythology. Whether it be the Genesis account of creation, Noah's flood, dividing the Red Sea or the person and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, they add and diminish from the words, meaning and sense of the Scriptures, rejecting God's revelations.

John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if tell you of heavenly things?

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

John 5:46-47 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

What is the reason for this unbelief? Simply, they are men without faith. They stumble from the beginning and believe not God.

2 Thessalonians 3:2 …for all men have not faith.

Deuteronomy 32:20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.

Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

What are we to think of those that reject the Scriptures as fact, whether they be scholars or novice? What does God's word say about such?

John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep,…

Luke 16:29-31 …They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. …31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

1 Timothy 1:5-7 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

It is a curious thing how the Bible can have so many warnings to beware of deceivers, wolfs in sheep's clothing, and so many fail to heed them, fail to preach or teach about them. Deceivers abound and must come, for God uses them to try the hearts. If we wish to understand the Bible then we must believe all things that are written and adhere to the word of God and not be swayed by those that believe not.

Deuteronomy 13:1-4 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God,…

Within the Church today many controversies exist, it is more divided than ever caused by a falling away from the truth due to an ignorance of and lack of desire toward the Scriptures. If you are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices in your life, to direct your life toward the Lord your God, to diligently seek and believe your creator then you can expect confusion and uncertainty. Diversity of opinions abound, the council of God's word has been added to and diminished from, supplanted by the preaching of philosophy and the sciences, "falsely so called," e.g., Theistic Evolution, Psychology, the Social Sciences, prosperity gospels, etc.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

1 Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

We cannot avoid those who choose not to believe, that add and diminish from God's word, who would have you follow them rather than diligently study the Scriptures. Believing the Bible will bring their disdain, contempt and derision; to believe the truth is heresy with them.

Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

The third precept to understanding the Bible is:

Believe all things which are written

Bad men or devils would not have written the Bible, for it condemns them and their works, good men or angels could not have written it, for in saying it was from God when it was but their own invention, they would have been guilty of falsehood, and thus could not have been good. The only remaining being who could have written it is God—its real author.

John Flavel 1627-91
English Clergy


Part Two

The Construction
of the Scriptures

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.

2 Peter 1:21

I believe the Bible is to be understood and received in the plain and obvious meaning of its passages; for I cannot persuade myself that a book intended for the instruction and conversion of the whole world should cover its true meaning in any such mystery and doubt that none but critics and philosophers can discover it.

Daniel Webster 1782~1852
American Orator & Statesmen


Revelation

Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Amos 3:7

There is one very important and oft-forgotten precept of the Scriptures, "All Things Are Possible."

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

God was not restricted in the design of his plan by anything other than his own purposes. We are not looking for what God could have done; God could have done anything. We are looking for what he has revealed to us, whether through creation or his word, concerning himself and what he has done. Speaking in condemnation of idols, the Lord said:

Isaiah 41:21-23 Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. 22Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. 23Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods:…

Here in Isaiah, it is shown that the proof of the divine authorship of the Bible is in its revelations, in making known the past, explaining the present and revealing the future. The Bible is a book of revelations. This precept, according to Amos 3:7, states God has chosen not to do anything without revealing it, revealing himself, his person, personality, power, and plans.

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

This is especially so in these last days when the greater part of all prophecy is unfolding before our eyes so that we are without excuse for not seeing his hand in everything. Whether revealed through the tapestry of history, wonders of nature, or mysteries of science, the key to all revelations is the revelation of God's word.

Isaiah 42:9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Isaiah 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,…

There is one clarification that must be made in regard to this precept. God does not prognosticate, he does not predict the future nor divine what shall come. God knows the future as he is in control of it. God controls events and guides them to the conclusions of his choice, his making. If he says a nation shall rise up, he raises up that nation, etc. However, do not go over the deep end, as some have, in concluding all things predestinated, or all things being foreknown, that is not so. Much of the course of history has been God's judgments in response to man's actions as well as the thoughts and intents of the heart. The correct interpretation of the biblical flow of events is more complicated than the simplistic teachings that have prevailed in mainstream thinking. (See "Foreknowledge of God")

There is an underlying framework in God's plan containing all the major events of history; creation, the bring forth the nation of Israel as a witness to the world, the raising up of the nations of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, etc., the Lord Jesus Christ, his first and second comings, the latter judgments and much more, however, between these is plenty of room for cause and effect. Every nation in the world is not referred to in Scripture, but everyone is judged and dealt with in accordance with the examples God has set forth. It is often very difficult to get some to understand and accept this, not understanding it limits the comprehension of God's word. See the study, "Foreknowledge of God" for more on this topic.

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

The Bible being God's revelation of himself is the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 19:10 …for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Psalm 40:7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

The mysteries of the Church and its doctrines and precepts are also made known by the revelations of the New Testament, not by philosophy or reason.

Galatians 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 3:1-6 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery;… 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs,…

This precept will become especially viable in relation to the next, that of similitudes; they are a major form of presenting the revelations in Scripture.

A personal knowledge of and relationship with God is through the revelation of his word. Creation manifests the existence and power of God, but to know him he must personally reveal himself through his word.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

1 Samuel 3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

It should be stressed at this point, as we begin the second part of these seven precepts, that they are an inseparable unit, all interpretations of Scripture must conform to the whole of the fundamentals embodied in them. If faithful adherence to the first three precepts is maintained, to diligently study without adding nor diminishing from the Scriptures and believing all things that are written, the last four principles will follow quite naturally. The revelations of Scripture establish God's and the Bible's authenticity in explaining the past, giving understanding of the present and revealing the future.

The fourth precept to understanding the Bible is:

It is God's Revelation

The biblical record is far more concerned with events than it is with ideas. Ideas there are, but they are subordinated to events. The conviction, usually unstated, is that God reveals himself much more fully in history than in nature or in any other way. The men who wrote the words of the Bible were contented, for the most part, with telling a story.

Elton Trueblood 1900~94
American Quaker & Philosopher


Similitudes

I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.

Hosea 12:10

What would education be without the use of examples? Instruction in any craft or skill is based on learning the governing principles and studying examples of both the correct and incorrect, following these comes their application. It is the same with God's word. The Bible is a book of precepts and instruction by example or similitudes.

That the historical events recorded in the Scriptures are similitudes is of extreme importance to remember. The Bible was not written for the sole purpose of providing us with a historical record of the past, although its record is true. The segments of history that are recorded were done so for the express purpose of revelation. They are for revealing God, as we have seen in precept four, but just as importantly, there are examples of the personalities and characters of men. It is much too easy to deceive ourselves, we need an accurate characterization.

Additionally, many of the historical accounts are graphic representations of spiritual events. As similitudes the Scriptures transcend all historical and cultural limitations; the commandments, doctrines, and lessons of the Bible are eternal, as applicable today as when they were written. Its teachings cannot be dismissed on the tenuous excuse of historical progress or cultural bias. The times and cultures for the settings of the lessons of scripture were well chosen by God conveying his exact meaning. These teachings stand at any time in history; man has not evolved to greater truths or cultural advancements but has fallen away from the truth.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example,…

Luke 17:26-30 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man…. 28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot;… 30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17Which are a shadow of things to come;…

Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle:..

1 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.

Several similitudes are pointed out with explanations as to their interpretations giving us a guide to understanding and interpreting the others. An example to demonstrate the breadth and scope of this precept begins with allowing an ox to eat as it works and ends with its application to men.

Deuteronomy 25:4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

1 Corinthians 9:9-10 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

1 Timothy 5:17-18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

Similitudes can come in a variety of forms, which we will briefly define here. Probably every form of English style is represented within the Scriptures and you need to have some familiarity with them. Let us review the definition of similitude.

Likeness; resemblance; likeness in nature, qualities, or appearance; comparison, simile, a representation; a facsimile; a portrait, allegory

The forms represented in biblical similitudes are as follows:

1. Allegory—A symbolic representation

Galatians 4:22-24 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

2. Metaphor—Speaking of one object as if it were another

John 11:11-13 …Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep…. 13Howbeit Jesus spake of his death:…

1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.

3. Parable—Instruction not only in morals but in general knowledge made by comparison with natural or plain things. In the Scriptures, they are to give understanding in the things that pertain to God and his ways. Parables are also to hide the truth from those who do not follow our first three precepts.

Matthew 13:10-11 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

4. Paradigm {para dime}—A list, an example serving as a model; pattern; A framework containing the basic assumptions, ways of thinking, and methodology. (Not all lists would constitute a paradigm.)

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

Paradigms can be descriptive lists of the constituent parts, rules, teachings or behavior of individuals, organizations or religious beliefs that recur throughout history. They may appear under different names or guises and it is important to recognize and evaluate them correctly. The parts may not necessarily be contained in the same verse.

Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

Mark 12:38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,…

Luke 20:46-47 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; 47Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

In the above verses, there are several descriptions of practices and mentalities given that transcend time and appear under different guises in history. When these descriptive acts are combined in a list they form the systems constituent parts, a paradigm. The Lord specifically points these things out to us and we ought to be able to recognize them wherever they occur. The paradigm would be:

X= Repetitious Prayer
Religious Title of Father
Long Robes, i.e., Religious Costumes
Love of Preeminence
Requires donations/Payment for Prayer and/or Spiritual Services

Many such lists are contained within the Scriptures, the Ten Commandments as a list is a paradigm, a set of conditions setting the proper parameters of life.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Upon salvation one encounters a paradigm shift. You operate under a different list of conventions than the carnal mind.

5. Proverb—A pithy saying condensing the wisdom of experience. We should all be familiar with the book of Proverbs.
6. Simile—A comparison or likeness using the words 'like' or 'as,' etc.

Matthew 11:15-19 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 16But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.

Jeremiah 6:2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.

7. Types—Are descriptions or pictures God has woven into history

Remember our forth precept; Revelation, and examine Genesis chapter twenty-four for the types or pictures that God has drawn in history:

Abraham being a type, picture, of God, Isaac a type of Jesus, Abraham's servant a picture of the Holy Spirit and Rebekah a picture of the Church. That is Abraham (God)sends his servant (Holy Spirit) into the world to find a bride for his son Isaac (Jesus). The servant gives gifts unto Rebekah (the Church) and men. Rebekah never having seen the son by faith believes the servant and is carried by the servant to the son, a picture of the Rapture.

As you can see, if we will diligently study we will find a great amount of detail in the histories of the Bible.

Many such types open the Scriptures as part of the revelations of our fourth precept. They graphically describe the operational methods, person, personality, and character of God as well as that of men and Satan. Marriage is one such type being a picture of the Church's relationship to our Lord.

Ephesians 5:31-32 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

This is the reason marriage is constantly being assailed to destroy the picture and pattern in the minds of men of God’s relationship with the Church. An epic work on the subject is that of similitudes is "Preaching from the Types and Metaphors of the Bible," Benjamin Keach; 1640-1704, Kregel Publications, ISBN 0-8254-3008-9, a comprehensive work reprinted at approximately a thousand pages.

The fifth precept to understanding the Bible is:

God uses Similitudes

The scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering and the most comfortable way of dying.

John Flavel English
Clergy 1627—91


Rightly Divide

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God,…" the first thing we should take notice of is that to study is a command, an injunction, not a request nor a suggestion; we are to study. In so doing, we receive the approval of God while failing to do so will bring us shame before him. We are given a goal, a purpose for this studying, and that is that we might rightly divide God's word. The obvious conclusion that must be drawn from this injunction is that in order to comprehend the Scriptures their proper divisions must be recognized and maintained; failing to do so leads to misunderstanding and incorrect doctrinal teachings.

A correct understanding is not obtained easily, but through diligent study, labor in the word and doctrine.

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine

1 Corinthians 3:8 …and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

The precept of rightly dividing will be found to be one of the major places where men fail in their efforts to correctly understand and interpret the Scriptures, and where the body of Christ wrongly divides the word of truth; it divides itself.

One division that must be made is determining who is being spoken to or about, the Jew, the Gentiles or the Church.

1 Corinthians 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

There are several books written on the topic of rightly dividing which cover it in great detail, two such works are; "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth," C.I. Scofield, "Rightly Dividing The Word," Clarence Larkin. In this study, we are just pointing out the necessity of understanding it.

The following examples will demonstrate the necessity for and complexity of rightly dividing the word of truth.

Example one:

Isaiah 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Micah 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

vs

Joel 3:9-10 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: 10Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

Here within the Scriptures, we have two passages advocating diametrically opposing commands; you could be holding a plowshare when you need a sword or vice versa. In such a case it must either be accepted that the Bible contradicts itself or there is a definite need to rightly divide the word of truth. During the millennial reign of Christ there will be no need of swords and spears, but until then there shall be wars and rumors of wars and the war at the end of it.

Example two:

Luke 4:16-21 This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

The Lord in this passage is quoting Isaiah 61:1-3, but he stops halfway through, at a comma, and states that this prophecy is fulfilled by him at that time. Here is the whole passage separated where the Lord made the division:

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,

and then the prophecy continues:

and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

The division is between the first and second coming of our Lord. His first coming to proclaim salvation; his second when he returns to bring judgment upon the earth.

Notice that the division does not come at a verse break. The verse numbering system aids in finding and memorizing passages of Scripture but has no grammatical significance, it does not affect meaning in any way. The Bible needs to be studied sentence by sentence. Remember, the smallest unit with definite meaning in grammar is the sentence. Errors are made simply due to breaking sentences at verses and not maintaining the sentence structure. Dividing at verse numbers is wrongly dividing.

It should be clear from these two examples that divisions must be made along the historical timeline; where in history do the components of prophecies properly belong. Many people in conversation have expressed that they are awaiting the great Gog and Magog battle setting the scene for this by describing current world events. They become quite flabbergasted when informed they have at least a thousand years to wait according to the Bible.

Revelation 20: 7-8 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

The great Gog/Magog battle does not take place until the end of the thousand year reign of Christ.

Probably the most notable schism maker caused by not rightly dividing is the controversy between faith without works and faith and works as typified by the book of Romans vs. James.

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

The mistake is in applying these two verses as speaking of the same thing, they are not. The caused for this is simply not diligently studying the passages. Divisions must be made, the word of God must be rightly divided. There are other divisions that must be made such as who is speaking and to whom, to the Jew as opposed to the Gentiles, the Church as opposed to the lost. Not all Scripture is directly applicable to the Church. One must at all times be careful of context when making divisions; as has been aptly stated, a text without a context is a pretext. In Romans, it is speaking of a persons salvation, in James his judgment as a saved man.

Wrongly Dividing the Scriptures is probably the cause of more errors in formulating incorrect doctrines than any other. Rightly dividing the Scriptures is impossible to do without diligent study, neither adding nor diminishing from the words, meaning and context of its passages and having a proper believing attitude toward God's word. It cannot be emphasized enough that all Scripture must fit your doctrinal schemes or you have something wrong.

The last point in regards to this precept concerns the need to understand English grammar or the grammar of whatever language Bible you use. Many false teachings being taught today are based solely upon errors in reading caused by not understanding or applying basic grammar. When the Bible states, "Study…rightly dividing the word of truth," it does not limit that study to the word of truth only but anything you have to study to be able to rightly divide it; grammar is one of those things you have to study. There is not room here to expand on this topic, but it is hoped that this will be considered when studying. You do not have to be an English major, just know and use the fundamentals.

The sixth precept to understanding the Bible is:

The word of truth
must be Rightly Divided
The word of God will stand a thousand readings; and he who has gone over it most frequently is the surest of finding new wonders there.

James Hamilton
English Clergy-1814-67


Precept Must Be upon Precept

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:…

Isaiah 28:9-10

If you have carefully contemplated the first six precepts of this study you should be able to recognize this principle in their construction, for we have been practicing this one throughout. We have been taking the word of God line upon line, a little here and a little there and forming precepts. The precepts of the Bible are its universal inviolable general truths upon which all else is established. It is from these that correct doctrine must be built.

The preceding six precepts or general truths taken together, precept upon precept, establishes the doctrine of studying God's word. God's word must be diligently studied, it must not be added to nor diminished from and all that is written must be believed in order to be able to understand it correctly. These three are the principles God requires of the heart. The Scriptures themselves are God's revelation of who he is and what he has done, is and will be doing, and what he requires. Further, the Bible teaches with similitudes, or examples, many times woven in history. Finally, it all has to be rightly divided. These first six, all taken in conjunction, lead to the successful culmination of the seventh, establishing the correct doctrinal teachings based on the Bible's precepts. All of the doctrines of Scripture must be built from the precepts contained therein.

Our title verse, Isaiah 28:9-13, explains the reason why the Bible is written the way it is, not only to teach knowledge and to give understanding in doctrine but to destroy those who refuse knowledge and understanding. "…that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

The Bible, to those who will put their faith in God's word and diligently study it, neither adding nor diminishing from it and believing all that is written, is the source of knowledge and understanding in the things of God and this world.

Proverbs 2:1-9 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 7He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. 8He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

To those who are not diligent, not believing and who add and diminish from the word of God, it is laden with snares to confuse and befuddle, refusing them knowledge and understanding leaving them confused or snared in a lie.

Proverbs 1:20-33 Wisdom crieth with out; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, 22How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25But ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

1 Corinthians 1:25-29 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29That no flesh should glory in his presence. Who can receive this knowledge and understanding?

Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts….

Hebrews 5:11-14 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Understanding is for those who are weaned from the milk of the word, that are ready for its meat. Therefore, our growth as Christians is required, we must mature in the word. Our spiritual growth and our understanding go hand in hand.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

The doctrines of God are the facts concerning what he has established as the moral laws, standards, requirements, and responsibilities on any given subject according to the precepts of the Bible. The precepts are developed by studying and taking the relevant parts a little here and there a little and putting them line upon line as shown throughout this lesson. No biblical doctrine or teaching can be correct if it violates any of God's precepts, its general truths, upon which all else must be founded. Without a correct understanding of the Bible's doctrines the Church is what it has become; weak and divided. Without sound doctrine we are confused.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion,…

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned;…

I Timothy 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

1 Timothy 4:13-16 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 16Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

In the absence of correct doctrine reproof, correction and instruction all would be in error.

Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:…

Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,…

Understanding the correct doctrinal teachings of the Scriptures is one of our main purposes in life.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

As part of studying the Scriptures, a list could and should be made of the biblical precepts as they are discovered. The biblical precepts are simply God’s stated principles or the general truths on how he has determined and established all things and no doctrine can be correct if it attempts to evade any one of them. You cannot formulate correct biblical doctrines without having an accurate understanding of the precepts upon which they are built. Any doctrinal statement or teaching that violates any biblical precept is in error.

The seventh precept to understanding the Bible is:

Precept upon Precept,
line upon line,
here a little and there a little
I cannot too greatly emphasize the importance and value of Bible study; more important than ever before in these days of uncertainties, when men and women are apt to decide questions from the standpoint of expediency rather than on the eternal principles laid down by God, himself.

John Wanamaker 1838 - 1922
American Businessman, US Postmaster General


Summary

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

This study has been an attempt to show, from the Scriptures, the seven precepts God has established that if adhered to will bring order and understanding to the study of his word. It is hoped that it has conveyed the need to recognize and consider these principles. The more I speak with people, the more I have felt that the lack of understanding these precepts and their recognition as an inseparable unit and guide has hindered many from having a greater comprehension of God's Holy Word. It is impossible to establish sound doctrine and correct teaching without applying and practicing all seven of these precepts.

Whenever we establish doctrinal teachings or search the Scriptures to judge the things that are said, we must ask the following:

  1. Is this the product of diligent study and not feigned words, philosophy or private interpretation; have all relevant passages been considered?
  2. Has anything been added to or diminished from the words, meaning, sense or understanding of the Bible?
  3. Is all being believed, is any part of the Bible being denied or disbelieved?
  4. Anything is possible, but is this the truth God is revealing?
  5. What are the similitudes, examples or illustrations, given within the Scriptures concerning the subject or topic under consideration?
  6. Are things rightly divided? Be sure you are not comparing apples with oranges.
  7. Locate God's precepts, what are the guiding principles and limiting truths that apply?

It is only when conclusions drawn conform to all seven precepts that you can be assured of being on solid ground in establishing the doctrines of the Bible. God is the author of order and these principles are the rules of order in studying and understanding his word.

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