Bible Study 102 #3

Saturday, March 8, 2014

“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 KJV).

The only verse that tells you to study the Bible also tells you how to understand the Bible!

Many professing Christians spend their whole earthly lives struggling to discern God’s will. They observe their circumstances and attempt to “read between the lines and discern road signs,” they listen for instruction from “still, small voices” in their heads, they ask preachers and teachers (who rarely understand God’s will themselves), they purchase “Christian” literature and “easy-to-read” modern “bible” versions, they attend retreats and Bible conferences, they pray, and it is truly unfortunate that, despite all the effort, they often leave this life without ever getting a solid grasp of God’s Word to them. Most tragically, many not only die without understanding the Bible, but they even die in their trespasses and sins, having never realized they could have had those sins forgiven in and through Jesus Christ!

God’s will for each and every person is clearly delineated in 1 Timothy 2:4: “[God our Saviour; verse 3] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” There are two specific phrases to note: “Who will have all men to be saved” and “Who will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (Remember, “men” is a generic term that includes all people—man, woman, boy, and girl.)

Firstly, God wants all people to be saved from their sins and eternal hellfire. The Apostle Peter elaborated on the Apostle Paul’s words: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Secondly, God wants all Christians to be saved from false teaching. “Take 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 4:16).

Let us now briefly examine the first aspect of God’s two-fold plan for man….

Bible Study 102 #1

Thursday, March 6, 2014

“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 KJV).

The only verse that tells you to study the Bible also tells you how to understand the Bible!

You can only enjoy what you understand. If you do not understand something, then it becomes burdensome and you tend to avoid it. This describes the attitude many have toward the Bible, lost and saved alike. While most professing Christians usually know that the Bible is an important Book, they often really do not know what to do with it, so they usually do not expose themselves to its contents unless at church when a preacher or priest “explains” (read that, complicates) it for them. Even then, familiar Bible passages are read over and over and over, and then the Bible becomes boring and even despised.

The goal of dispensational Bible study is to make the Bible understandable—it is the way to understand and enjoy the Bible. When considered dispensationally, the Bible literally becomes an open Book. Its “contradictory” verses are no longer bothersome because it is understood that these opposing verses are written to different peoples living in different time periods under different circumstances. However, if somebody discourages you from dispensational Bible study (and many denominations and churches do in order to keep you coming, giving, and supporting their program!), then they are taking from you the key God gave you to understand His Word! It is that serious, dear friend.

While many theologians and preachers never even partially grasp its meaning, today’s Scripture is very simple. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Of course, you have to have a King James Bible for it to read in this manner, for modern English “bible” translators demonstrate they have no regard for the dispensational layout of Scripture, and by retranslating the verse (which you will then read and believe), they encourage you to join them in their unbelieving scholarship.

Let us proceed to advanced right division….

Bible Study 101 #14

Saturday, January 18, 2014

“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 KJV).

The only verse that tells you to study the Bible also tells you how to study the Bible!

Scripture says little about the Christians who lived in Berea (a town neighboring Thessalonica, in present-day Greece), but its brief description of them is quite noteworthy: “These [in Berea, verse 10] 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” (Acts 17:11). Jesus Christ told the religious leaders of His day, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). Some of Israel’s religious leaders encouraged Nicodemus to “search” the Old Testament scrolls (John 7:52). The Old Testament prophets “searched [the Scriptures] diligently” (1 Peter 1:10).

Similar concepts to “search” are “examine” (Luke 23:14; Acts 24:8), “discern” (1 Corinthians 2:14), and “judge” (1 Corinthians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 4:3). God “searches” our hearts (Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23), the Spirit of God “searches” the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10).

The Bible exhorts us to search it: we should study it in-depth, “consider” what we read in it (2 Timothy 2:7), and “meditate” on it (1 Timothy 4:16), make a mental effort and think about what it says. People—even many Christians—are not thinking clearly when they go to church, and the Bible doctrine they know is so shallow; they are not grounded in the Bible. Thus, they participate in the widespread nonsense (deception) that occurs within the average church building today (Ephesians 4:14). We need to study the Bible, and most importantly, need to study it “rightly divided,” understanding that Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, describe what God is doing today. This is the only way we can walk by faith in God’s Word to us, and work with God (1 Corinthians 3:9) to do what He is doing in this the Dispensation of Grace.

Let us now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Bible Study 101 #8

Sunday, January 12, 2014

“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 KJV).

The only verse that tells you to study the Bible also tells you how to study the Bible!

Ephesians 2:11,12 explain that the “Old Testament” Scriptures (Genesis through Malachi), Matthew through John (the Four Gospels), and Acts chapters 1-8 are “time past,” and thus have no direct application to us. Verse 13 says we are in the “but now,” and that distinction between Jew and Gentile is currently rescinded (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). Ephesians 2:7 speaks of the “ages to come,” the future (discussed primarily in Hebrews through Revelation [for the nation Israel], but also throughout Paul’s epistles [for us, the Church the Body of Christ]).

Thus, we cannot steal Israel’s Old Testament passages and promises and pretend they belong to us. We cannot go into Christ’s earthly ministry and follow His teachings as though He was speaking to us Gentiles (when He said He was speaking to Israel only; Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24; cf. Romans 15:8). We cannot grab passages in Hebrews through Revelation and conclude they are talking to or about us, when their contexts indicate they are not. And yet, the professing Church has done just this for the last 2,000 years, and created over 38,000 rival denominations in the process!

In the context of today’s Scripture, Paul writes that false teachers, Hymenaeus and Philetus (verse 17), “concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (verse 18). These men were mixing our mystery program with Israel’s prophetic program. They had misled Christians to believe that they had missed the rapture (“the resurrection”) and caused them to believe that they were now living in Israel’s seven-year Tribulation (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-14). Even today, many do not “rightly divide the word of truth” (today’s Scripture)—that is, they fail to recognize the distinction between prophecy and mystery—so, they confuse doctrines (here, confusing the timing of the rapture).

Again, we must stop mixing the dispensations in God’s Word if we are to understand God’s Word….

Bible Study 101 #7

Saturday, January 11, 2014

“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 KJV).

The only verse that tells you to study the Bible also tells you how to study the Bible!

We often hear about “Bible contradictions.” One of the most critical and obvious examples—a major issue during the Reformation, and still divisive among Protestants and Roman Catholics today—is justification by faith without works versus justification by faith plus works. Protestants quote, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28). Roman Catholics quote, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). Well, which is it? Faith plus works, or faith without works? The Bible clearly teaches both!

So, what do we do at this point? Throw the Bible away, dismissing it as “riddled with errors?” Nay! Before we grab the verse we prefer and attempt to claim it, we MUST pay attention to the context! Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11), wrote Romans 3:28. James, an apostle of Israel (Galatians 2:9), wrote the epistle of James. Romans is clearly written to Gentile Christians in Rome (Romans 1:5-7), and James 1:1 says that James is writing to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (Israel!).

We do not combine James and Paul and make their doctrine one—their teachings are to be “rightly divided,” separated unto their audiences. Scripture is not contradictory concerning Romans 3:28 and James 2:24. These verses are written to different groups of people living in different circumstances, so they teach different doctrines. James 2:24 has nothing to do with us Gentiles; the context says it is Israel’s doctrine. Romans 3:28 is our doctrine!

Just as Acts 3:21—“spoken since the world began”—and Romans 16:25—“kept secret since the world began”—seem contradictory, they are speaking of two separate programs (prophecy and mystery, respectively). James 2:24 belongs to the former and Romans 3:28 belongs to the latter.

Again, the Bible becomes so clear when we use God’s Word, God’s way….

Bible Study 101 #6

Friday, January 10, 2014

“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 KJV).

The only verse that tells you to study the Bible also tells you how to study the Bible!

Paul instructed, “study… rightly dividing the word of truth,” so he would obviously also teach us how. We need not seek manmade theological systems for explanation; we simply study Paul’s epistles to see how the Apostle would “rightly divide the word of truth.” In addition to Acts 3:21 and Romans 16:25, we recognize other general divisions God has made in His Word.

In Ephesians 2:11-13, Paul wrote: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

Dispensational Bible study involves placing the Bible on a timeline, a timeline that corresponds to the Bible’s table of contents. God supernaturally arranged the Bible books, so the order of books and epistles in the Bible’s canon is not some haphazard assemblage.

  • In time past,” God dealt with man on the basis of physical circumcision (Jew) and physical uncircumcision (Gentile)—these Bible books are Genesis through Malachi, the Four Gospels (see Matthew 15:24; Romans 15:8), and early Acts (chapters 1-8).
  • Today, in the but now,” God does not make that distinction between Jew and Gentile (Romans 3:23; Romans 10:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:28). Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, go here.
  • In the (future) ages to come (Ephesians 2:7), God will accomplish His purpose and plan for heaven and earth (Ephesians 1:9,10). The books of Hebrews through Revelation concern Israel’s role during that time (Ephesians and Paul’s two Thessalonian epistles discuss these future events from our viewpoint as members of the Church the Body of Christ).

This divinely-ordained system makes the Bible so much easier to grasp….

Bible Study 101 #4

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

“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 KJV).

The only verse that tells you to study the Bible also tells you how to study the Bible!

I trusted Jesus Christ alone as my personal Saviour when I was a small child, but religious tradition once misled me. I spent the first 13 years of my Christian life ignorant of why God saved me from my sins and eternal hellfire. Seven years ago, some dear Christian brothers shared with me some simple Bible verses that completely revolutionized my understanding of the Holy Bible—these verses will do the same for you if you believe them!

Today’s Scripture was one of those verses (please memorize today’s Scripture as it is quoted above from the King James Bible). Two other passages that clarified the Bible for me was Acts 3:21 and Romans 16:25,26a. Dear friend, you would do well if you also memorized these (again, as quoted from the King James Bible, see below).

In Acts 3:21, the Apostle Peter preached, “[Jesus Christ] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began.” Contrast this with what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 16:25,26a: “Now to him [God the Father] that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest,….”

Notice these two antithetical statements: spoken since the world began” and kept secret since the world began.” These are the prophetic program and the mystery program, respectively. God revealed some information to man before Paul’s ministry (prophetic program), and He kept some information secret until He revealed it to man through Paul’s ministry (mystery program). This is the clearest summary of Pauline dispensationalism, dispensational Bible study with emphasis on the special ministry the ascended and glorified Lord Jesus Christ committed to the Apostle Paul….