By John Foll, written between 8/3/2017 and 8/9/2017.
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
“To whom would He teach knowledge, and to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? For He says, 'Order on order, order on order, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there.' Indeed, He will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, He who said to them, "Here is rest, give rest to the weary," And "Here is repose," but they would not listen.” Isaiah 28:9-12 NASB. [Or as it says in the KJV: “this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”].
Yes that is the question: To whom will God teach knowledge? Would He want to keep having to teach us over and over the basics of the truth when we should have already learned it long ago? God prefers that His people advance closer to His ideal for them, instead of being “stuck in neutral” or backsliding.
In this article, we want to discuss some important Bible study principles to help you to know how to properly study and understand the “saving truths” that you need to know, and not be deceived into the many errors that plague Christianity today and modern man. We want to help equip you to know the truth if you don’t already know it. But we believe there is ever more to learn. It’s time to get beyond the basics, but to get beyond the basics the errors must be unlearned and true faith learned by all who would want to be weaned from spiritual infancy.
God is a God of order and changes not; He is always a God of Order. He wants all to understand the order and precepts in the Bible and the beautiful harmony that exists between them without contradiction. Order upon order. There needs to be an order to the way the Bible is studied, and there needs to be an order to the way truths are put together to make up the doctrines we believe. Our beliefs should not be haphazardly put together, but there should be a beautiful order, harmony and symmetry to them. We need to have order in our lives, God’s order, and not be blown about by every “wind of doctrine”. Ephesians 4:14.
In our theme passage of Isaiah 28:9-10 we see that the key to a full understanding of the truth is order upon order, line upon line, precept upon precept. We should always study the Bible carefully and in context. The time has come to study the great themes and topics of the Bible together, not in a disconnected manner. The way to do this is to compare scripture with scripture, command with command, to come up with the correct understanding of what the Bible means, not discarding any of God’s precious light that He blessed us with; to remove apparent contradictions. The truth should not contradict itself. God is perfect and makes no mistakes. All of His works, including His teachings in the Bible are perfect. A greater and greater unfolding of the truth occurred as the books of the Bible were written and completed, by His design, as mankind was able to use what God had given them. God’s prophets and writers may have made revisions to their words when writing, because they were human and needed to think about what they were writing, when the words were not dictated to them by God. But the words and thoughts were given to them by God and were always perfect, and He was guiding His messengers with His Spirit. “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler [or a shield] to all them that trust in Him.” 2 Samuel 22:31 KJV. When the truths of the Bible are studied like this they really shine and a greater knowledge is gained, and faith is strengthened.
We believe that verse 12 of our theme text, a prophecy by Isaiah, is referring at least in part to when Jesus walked the earth and taught the people more about the love of God and how to be saved and died for the sins of all mankind. This ‘refreshing’ for His people was completed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, when His disciples and followers received power from on high, or a ‘spiritual refreshing.’ Is that what you want? A spiritual refreshing? May God bless you greatly if this is your desire! If you would be spiritually renewed and refreshed, learn the vital truths that are necessary for your soul, love and obey God. This is our prayer for you.
God’s desire is that all would grow up into spiritual adults, as Isaiah indicated above. This same truth was also stated by Paul when he said, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NASB. What Paul is saying is still true today unfortunately. Many in our day are still spiritual infants, and need to be taught the same basic truths over and over again. It is also time for everyone to make progress and shed the errors that they believe and become born again, born from above, a new creature in Christ.
The writer of Hebrews said, “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14 NASB. It’s time to learn to discern good and evil, discard all error, trust God all the way, and receive all of the blessings that He wants to give you. Are you ready to receive these blessings yet? Are you ready to take the next step in your walk with God?
Now back to our theme of order upon order, line upon line, precept upon precept:
There are some Christians who believe that there are sections in the New Testament that should be discarded or reinterpreted. Why are we bringing this up in this article? Because if you want to make spiritual progress you need to learn the truth and discard fallacies and falsehoods when you are convicted by the Holy Spirit. If you already know and believe all truth this is good. But are you born again? Do you have God’s power in your life to be good? If you know that you are not where you should be with God, keep on the narrow road, and learn to yield yourself more and more to Him, and love and desire to obey Him, asking for His help until you gain His power in your life. May God be with you if this is your desire! This is our prayer for you.
If you believe what some people teach or say, everything in the Bible is to be judged by whether it is “New Covenant” or can be labeled “Old Covenant”. Once something is labeled as “Old Covenant” by anyone whosoever, it can be discarded they think as a useless ‘relic’ of religion and cast on the trash heap. They don’t realize this is a big dishonor to God! Do they really think that God is pleased with them putting down His word and thinking that He couldn’t get it right the first time and had to change it for the better later? Or do they think that there is no need to be concerned if they are doing what God says anymore, since we are now under grace? Those who put down any of the words of Jesus, that He spoke prior to His death on the cross, are greatly dishonoring Him and are acting as His judge. Some people like to “cherry pick” the teachings that Jesus spoke as being for new covenant Christians or not. But this is not good. We are disturbed by what some are saying or doing with His words.
God said that all who honor Him He will honor, as the prophet Samuel declared. 1 Samuel 2:30. And in the Psalms it admonishes us that we should hide God’s word in our heart, treasuring it greatly, that we might not sin against Him: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11 KJV. We believe that Jesus lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God, as He told Satan. “But He [Jesus] answered and said [to Satan], "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" Matthew 4:4 NASB. And we believe that Jesus especially hid His Father’s words in His heart that He might not sin against Him. Jesus said, ‘if ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.’ John 15:10 KJV. We are to keep Jesus’ commandments as He kept His Father’s commandments. And the commandments that God gave to His people in Exodus 20 are the same thing as Jesus’ commandments or God’s law of love (Matthew 22:36-40), because Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38 NASB. Be it known that it was God, the Father, who sent Jesus. And: “So Jesus said, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” John 8:28-29 NASB. “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” John 12:49-50 NASB. And: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” John 14:10 NASB. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.” John 14:24 NASB. And Jesus prayed to His Father for His disciples saying: “for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” John 17:8 NASB. And John the Baptist said, which he most likely meant about Jesus, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” John 3:34 NASB. Can there be any doubt that Jesus’ words and commandments are God’s words and commandments? Can there be any doubt that God’s words and commandments are Jesus’ words and commandments? Hebrews 1:1-3 NASB tells us that Jesus is the radiance of His Father’s glory, and the exact representation of His nature. Can there be any doubt among those who truly love Jesus and His Father that they are truly one and teach the same truth? John 10:30; 17:11. Listening to and believing in Jesus [John 3:16] and everything that He said is the secret to getting the victory, the power of God in your life, and eternal life! [*Also God gave special commandments or directions to Jesus, as He directed Him.]
You should study everything that Jesus said in the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and commit His words to your memory (at least the ideas), and ask God for the strength and power to do all of them. If this is your desire, our prayer for you is that you will be richly blessed by God! Amen. Blessed are you if you do all the words that Jesus commanded or advised His people to do, and avoid the things He said we should not do. Jesus said at the last supper, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:17 NASB. You are blessed if you do what things? Everything He told them to do at the last supper, but also everything else He had spoken to them that they should do or abstain from. How blessed are you if you do them! Jesus was and is the word of God (John 1:1-5; 10-17), and everything He spoke is to be treasured by His people, not to be discarded as being ‘old covenant’ because He spoke them prior to His death on the cross, or because some think they don’t apply in our day since we are now living under grace. What Jesus spoke, He spoke for all people until they end of time, it was not just for the Jews! John the Baptist and the Apostle John both bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God and was sent from God, the Word of God. Can there be any doubt among those who love Jesus that He was and is the Word of God? If you want all the blessings from God that He wants to give you, that you will not be able to contain them all, then ask Him to help you keep His word and obey His precepts in the Bible, and not discard anything He or His Son told you to do. Don’t ignore anything that some label as ‘old covenant’, unless you can clearly prove that it no longer applies to Gentile Christians after Jesus’ death.
[We wrote about this in our book: “The Ceremonial Law & Sacrificial System: What does it mean to the Gospel Message? For Those Who Want To Know How the Law of Love and the Mosaic Law Relate to Christians Today.” Also check out our book, “God’s Law of Love: For Those Who Want To Know Why God’s Law of Love Is Important.”]
So what did we learn in this article? God is a God of order. We should study His word with order, and have an orderly way of putting the doctrines of truth together from the Bible, always being careful to take things in context, and seeking for harmony between all of the scriptures, not contradictions. And to not put down any of God’s words. And that Jesus’ words are God’s words, and God’s words are Jesus’ words. And we should study out the four gospels in the New Testament, believing and desiring to obey everything that Jesus said, trying to commit them or their ideas to our memory. God will honor all those who honor Him, and not those who dishonor Him.
And to add to this in closing, Jesus said: “Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.” Luke 12:8-9 KJV. And as Matthew puts it: “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33 NASB.
It is our prayer, dear reader, that you will learn to truly love Jesus and His Father, and desire to do everything that they want you to do, and get help from them to do it, not seeking to deny them or to deny their words as being valid for you today. May the grace of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all!
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