How to study the bible for all it s worth
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How to Study the Bible for All It’s Worth. Part 2. The Problem. There is ongoing discussion over whether modern man can, or was ever intended to, understand God’s will for his life by reading scripture. Some say the Holy Spirit speaks to each through the Bible in a unique way.

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The Problem

  • There is ongoing discussion over whether modern man can, or was ever intended to, understand God’s will for his life by reading scripture.

    • Some say the Holy Spirit speaks to each through the Bible in a unique way.

    • They conclude it is not surprising we do not understand the Bible alike or worship in the same way.

    • They also believe that we are all on the way to heaven, though we use different paths.

    • Scripture reveals Christ and his apostles had a quite different view of scriptural authority.


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Jesus’ Thinking

  • A trap set by the Sadducees demonstrates that the Lord thought God’s word was written to be understood by men.

  • The Sadducees did not believe in the spirit world, angels or life after death.

  • They attempted to trap Jesus with a hypothetical question.


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Jesus’ Thinking

  • The story is told in Matthew 22:23-28.

    • The Sadducees told of a woman who married a man and each of his 6 brothers as each, in turn, died childless (Levirate marriage described in Genesis 38:6-11; Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

    • Then, the woman died.

    • “Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”


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The Lord’s Answer

  • The Pharisees assumed marriage continued in the resurrection and could not answer the dilemma presented.

  • The Lord refuted it based on his own authority, stating that those in the resurrection are neither married nor given in marriage.

  • Instead, in the resurrection, they would be like the angels (Matthew 22:29-30).


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The Tense of One Word

  • The Lord proved man has a spirit by using the tense of one word (Matthew 22:31-32).

    • The word was in the Pentateuch, which the Sadducees accepted as delivered by God through Moses (Exodus 3:6, 15).

    • The Lord spoke to Moses of those who had been dead for a long time.

    • Yet, Jesus asked, “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”


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The Sadducees Defeated

  • “But the Sadducees held that a dead man had ceased to exist, that he had vanished to nothingness. According to their view, therefore, God had styled himself the God of nothing” (J. W. McGarvey, The Fourfold Gospel).

    • Such a powerful argument based upon the tense of one word could only be made by one who believed in the plenary verbal inspiration of the Bible.

    • Further, it is evident the Lord believed God revealed his will in such a way that man can understand and use it to reason precisely the meaning and application in his daily pursuits.


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Method

  • Everyone who reads the Bible for understanding will use some method of interpretation, so it should not be surprising that the Lord used one.

  • “Method” can be defined as, “a systematic procedure, technique, or mode of inquiry employed by or proper to a particular discipline or art” (Merriam Webster Online).


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The Inductive Method Described

  • “A leading or drawing off a general fact from a number of observations and experiments” (D. R. Dungan, Hermeneutics)

    • No interpretation is true that does not harmonize with known facts.

    • We must be sure to gather as many parts as possible so we can clearly identify the whole.

    • For instance, we do not know everything Jesus ever did or said, but we do have sufficient evidence to prove he is the Christ (John 20:30-31).


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A Careful Search for Truth

  • In our courts, which use the inductive method, we want all the evidence carefully sought out and presented.

  • We do not want a doctor to operate based upon 1 inconclusive test.

  • With our souls at stake (John 8:32), we do not want our understanding of doctrine based on only a few verses read without proper consideration of other facts.


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Inference Used in the Inductive Method

  • Lot went down into Egypt.

    • Genesis 12:10 says Abram went down into Egypt, without mentioning Lot.

    • Genesis 13:1 tells us Lot came up out of Egypt.

  • The purpose of the book of Acts may be inferred from its content.

    • “It is a necessary inference that the writer aimed to inform the reader accurately of the beginnings of christianity [sic] and of the divine directions by which men turn to the Lord and form churches” (Clinton Lockhart, Principles of Interpretation).


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The Road to Emmaus

  • Jesus joined 2 disciples on their walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-24).

    • There was great confusion among the disciples following the resurrection of Jesus.

    • Two on the road to Emmaus were talking about reports concerning the same.

    • Jesus, unrecognized by them, asked what they were talking about and why they were sad.

    • They marveled at his ignorance of the happenings in Jerusalem, briefly reporting Jesus’ crucifixion, the women finding the empty tomb and the angel’s report that he was alive.


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Jesus’ Response

  • “Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25-27).


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Reporting to the Eleven

  • After breaking bread with them in Emmaus, their eyes were opened to recognize Jesus.

  • When he vanished, they went back amazed to the 11 and those with them.

  • They reported the Lord was risen and had appeared to Simon.

  • They told how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.


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Jesus’ Words to the Assembly

  • Jesus appeared, pronounced peace upon them, told them to handle his feet & hands to confirm he was flesh, not spirit and ate some food.

  • “He then said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:36-45).


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Peter’s Pentecost Presentation

  • When the 12 began to speak in other languages, a multitude assembled wondering how it had happened (Acts 2:1-13).

  • Peter said this is that spoken of by Joel (Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-32).

  • He said David foretold Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2:25-32; Psalm 16:8-11).

  • David also prophesied the Father would make Jesus the Christ (Acts 2:33-36; Psalm 110:1).


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Stephen’s Sermon: Abraham

  • God’s call and promise to Abraham

    • Called in Ur – Acts 7:2; Genesis 11:31-32

    • Called in Haran – Acts 7:3; Genesis 12:1

    • The move to Canaan – Acts 7:4; Genesis 12:5-7

    • The promised land and son – Acts 7:5; Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 15:4, 18; 17:8; 26:3

    • Bondage in Egypt prophesied – Acts 7:6-7; Genesis 15:13-14

    • Circumcision commanded – Acts 7:8; Genesis 17:9-14; 21:1-5


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Stephen on Joseph

  • Joseph, sold by his brethren, but God was with him

    • Acts 7:9-10a; Genesis 37:26-28; in Potiphar’s house 39:5; in prison 39:21-23; and in interpreting the prisoners’ dreams 40:6-23.

  • Joseph, the governor of Egypt

    • Governor because of the wisdom God gave him – Acts 7:10b; Genesis 41:1-43.

    • As governor, he met with his brothers and father – Acts 7:11-14; Genesis 41:46-47:12.

    • Both Jacob and his sons were buried in Canaan – Acts 7:15-16; Genesis 47:13-50:14.


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Stephen on Moses Birth and Call to be a Deliverer

  • The Pharaoh who knew not Joseph – Acts 7:17-19; Exodus 1:1-22.

  • Moses’ birth and adoption – Acts 7:20-22; Exodus 2:1-10.

  • Moses flees from Egypt to Midian – Acts 7:23-29; Exodus 2:11-22.

  • Moses’ call to be God’s deliverer – Acts 7:30-35; Exodus 3:1-4:31.


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God Brought Them Out

  • Acts 7:36

  • God showed wonders and signs in Egypt – Exodus 5:1-12:51.

  • God showed wonders and signs in the Red Sea – Exodus 13:17-14:31.

  • God showed wonders in the wilderness – Exodus 16:1-17:16; Leviticus 10:1-7; Numbers 11:1-2.


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Stephen’s Comments on Moses

  • Acts 7:37-41

  • Moses prophesied God would raise up a prophet like him from among his brethren – Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19.

  • Moses received God’s word – Exodus 19:3.

  • Yet the people would not follow God but asked Aaron to build an idol, which they worshiped – Exodus 32:1-6.


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God Gave Israel Up

  • Acts 7:42-44a

  • God turned from his people and gave them up to worship idols devoted to all the heavenly host – Amos 5:25-27.

  • Yet, they had the tabernacle witnessing to the true God, which was made according to the pattern – Exodus 25:40.


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The Tabernacle and Temple

  • Acts 7:45b-47

  • Israel had received the tabernacle and taken it with them into the land of promise – Joshua 3:14; 18:1.

    • God drove the Gentiles out before them – Joshua 23:9.

  • David asked to build a temple for God, but God gave that task to Solomon – 2 Samuel 6:1-7:13; 1 Kings 6:1-38.


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God Dwells in Heaven

  • God Most High does not dwell in man made temples – Acts 7:48-50; 1 Kings 8:27; Isaiah 66:1-2; Psalm 102:25.

  • Stephen concluded the Jews had always rejected God and his Spirit – Acts 7:51-53.

    • They persecuted the prophets.

    • They killed John the baptizer.

    • They betrayed and murdered the Just One, having received the Law through angels, but refusing to keep it.


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Lessons in the Response

  • The audience response stopped Stephen before more could be said (Acts 7:54-60).

    • They perfectly understood the conclusions he was drawing from a careful review of scripture and reacted violently.

    • The stoning is evidence the inductive method can be used to understand God alike.

    • It is further evidence that some will reject truth, even responding with violence.

    • However, such rebellion does not prove the method is erroneous.

    • Instead, it shows man continues to read God’s word and go his own way.


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