A Fellowship In Christ Jesus

A Fellowship in the World, but not of the World

A Ministry of D. Paul Walker

Confirming Defending Bearing the Gospel of Christ Jesus

Seven Precepts to Understanding the Bible

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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

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