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June 27, 2022 8:00 am
If I ever say you know I really don't love this text so much I don't like this text. If I ever say that know that I've lost my mind and that it's time for me to stop preaching because all of God's word is precious and all of God's word can be understood if Elon musk were to incorrect receptacle would his rockets, even by just a couple of clicks.
The results would be costly, best and disastrous at worst, I am Bill Wright and welcome again to the truth but with Don green founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio today is Don continues teaching God's people.
God's word is going to show us just how critical it is to rightly divide or interpret God's word. If you're ready, let's get started. Here's our teacher with part two of the message titled, how shall we interpret Scripture there on the truthful.
This brings us to our roadmap for number three were already to point number three.
How about that point number three is the roadmap what I just said about the literal meaning is the general idea within the general idea there are specific principles that you can follow and understand. To help you understand what the author meant to say now a disclaimer here. I understand that I'm not going to say everything that should be said about this topic.
What I want to do is to give you that which is basic. I want to give you that which is that is most predominantly helpful, realizing that lots of thick books have been written about how to interpret Scripture and so were not trying to replicate what long books say were trying to give something that is practical to somebody who is fairly new to reading the Bible and understanding and believing that these principles stand the test of much closer scrutiny. And so what can we say what principles can help us arrive at the author's meaning I'm going to give you three. I believe it is 33 principles for you to use and if you use these principles you will go far down the road toward properly understanding Scripture even on your own. What's the first principle. First of all, beloved, you must pay attention to context.
You must pay attention to the context of the verse that your reading and trying to understand now at this point let me step offs off of my notes for a moment, which is always dangerous to say something about the nature of our Bibles that work against you. Using this principle my my Bible and probably yours is like this as well. There's a tendency in Christian publishing to publish each verse as a separate paragraph. And so that you have one verse and then there's a break and there's an expert.
It's not like a book that you read where there are paragraphs and there's two or three sentences in each paragraph and then you move on to another paragraph. The Bible is written often in a way publish in a way where one verse is separated off from another, as we have them now in our modern in our modern printing habits understand that the Bible was not originally written that way that the verse divisions and chapter divisions were something that came many centuries later when the biblical authors wrote they intended for you to read the flow of thought are tendency today.
I'm sure that some of your tendencies even as we sit here today is because of verses set off in its own little separate paragraph.
You tend to think about that verse as as being independent from everything else. And why wouldn't you it's it's set apart and so it it it invites you the very way that the printed pages done invites you to take that verse and look at it alone. Look at it, standing alone, but that's the wrong way to do it. You see, there were things that were written leisure looking at the first verse of the book there were things that were written beforehand and things were written afterwords and then delete the biblical author had a headache. Unit had a flow of thought that he was expressing. And so it's it's a bad practice to pull out one verse and try to build everything that you believe out of one verse.
That's not the right way to handle Scripture for going to understand Scripture and interpreted properly. We have to pay attention to the context and there's a three little principles inside this point that I want to give to you to help you to give you some ideas of what to look for the authors context watch. This gives you an objective measure to see what was on his mind and so context may be found. First of all, you can find the context in the author's purpose statement and what he said. Look at your reading a book of the Bible look for a place where he says this is why I'm writing. I'm going to take you to some scriptural examples now and will will kind of illustrate this in some of these things may become more clear, rather than abstract look at the Gospel of Luke.
For example, the gospel of Luke and this kinda stuff just really gets my juices going. Because in a big long book like 24 chapters of the gospel of of Luke and you know the hundreds of verses that are in their here's a question you know and and picture yourself as someone who is just for the first time coming to the Bible as a Christian and wanting to read and understand how to get oriented at where do you find your bearings where you find the reference points to know what this means well in the biblical writers knew that we were going to need that help they had something that they wanted to communicate and often they said it very plainly what their goal was and when you see and identify that goal. Then you interpret the rest of the whole book in light of that is very exciting to see these things.
Look at what Luke says. Luke chapter 1 verse one he says. Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us what to say and there is that a lot of people are talking about this verse two. Just as they were handed down to us by those who, from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
Luke says says we received a lot of information from those who who were with Christ, and a lot of people are taking to write about this verse three he says it seemed fitting for me as well.
And so, so he is laying out the biblical author Dr. Luke is laying out what motivated him to write from the very start, and he said it seemed fitting for me as well. Having investigated everything carefully from the beginning to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus, that's the one to whom he addressed this gospel so that you may know the exact truth about the things that you've been taught while simple playing and evident.
Luke says, a lot of says, a lot of people are talking about this. Well what I wanted to do what I did here was I investigated everything carefully about the Lord Jesus, and about his life and ministry on the earth, and I want to give you something that is accurate and that you can rely upon. As you read about the life of Christ that you could know the exact truth about the things that you've been taught right there you have the purpose statement and everything else in Luke is designed to serve that one purpose. That overarching main purpose and so as you go through and as you read the account of Jesus birth and you go through his teaching into the crucifixion and the resurrection and the ascension the whole goal of all of that is the biblical author here is giving you exactly what happened so that it inspires in your heart a sense of confidence and accuracy is what you as in what you're reading. Okay this is what really happened. I know that because that's the author's intent for us to go into question say maybe it didn't really happen that way is a violation of the author's intent that cannot possibly be a correct interpretation because it would violate the author's purpose and what he said and give you another example turn to the end of the gospel of John. John chapter 20. Sometimes these purpose payments are put in the front. Sometimes there at the end.
Sometimes there woven in the middle of the letter you want to be looking for these fundamental clues that say here's why I wrote this book and let that define in general that by which you would interpret the details.
John chapter 20 verse 30 and 31 says therefore many other signs.
Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book he says there's a lot of things I could've written about. I just chose a few why did you do it that way. John why did you give us everything about Jesus. Why did you write everything about Jesus.
He said that wasn't my purpose. What made was my purpose to give you an exhaustive recitation of everything that the Lord ever did and said, my purpose was more narrow it was more precise it was more targeted verse 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God and that believing you may have life in his name. Ha.
Okay so there's a narrow focus. Here, he said.
I wrote this so that you would believe in Christ my reader and that believing you would have eternal life.
You would have life in his name. He was writing to provoke a spiritual result to bring a spiritual influence to bear upon the reader of this gospel. That purpose being that they would recognize Christ as the only Savior believe in him and have eternal life. That's his purpose and so is he gives seven different signs in the early chapters of of the gospel of John reciting miraculous things that Jesus did. The point of those miracles is for you to believe that Jesus is unique distinct someone to be believed in. And the miracles lead you to believe his teaching and when you believe his teaching. You believe in him for eternal life and so that guides the way that you understand the individual passages in the gospel of John all laid out there, let me take you to one or two more turn to first John, I love these two you know if I ever say I ice I know I say all the time.
I love this passage I love this tax.
If I ever if I ever say you know I really don't I really don't love this text so much I don't like this tax. If I ever say that no know that I've lost my mind and that it's time for me to stop preaching because all of God's word is precious and all of God's word can be understood when a when a godly Christian like you applies effort to learned independence on the Holy Spirit, they can all be understood so precious. John gives us three different verses that indicate why he wrote first John chapter 1 verse four.
He said these things we write so that our joy may be made complete. He's writing to promote mutual joy amongst his readers and a personal joy that it that he got out of it himself. As he wrote so there's a there's a goal of joy first John should promote joy in the heart of the one who understands it rather than morbid introspection and I'm using that word a lot lately that term a lot that's okay. First John chapter 2 verse one says my little children, I'm writing to these things to you so that there is the purpose you see it so that you may not sin. He says I want you to know joy first John chapter 1 verse four.
He says I want to promote holiness in your life.
The things I'm saying will help you turn from sin and live in obedience to Christ. That's why I'm writing, I'm writing to promote your joy. I'm writing to promote your holiness in chapter 5 verse 13 he says these things I've written to you who believe in the name of the son of God so that purpose. You may know that you have eternal life. And so as you read through the five chapters of first John, you see.
Okay I know what is trying to do here. He's writing to Christians and he's trying to cultivate deeper joy, deeper obedience and deeper assurance into their lives and the other things that he said that he says I interpret in light of those principles I say how does this particular verse connect to the greater purpose of which he is writing one more that stands out turn to the to the book of Jude.
Just a little bit to the right there just before the book of Revelation. I love these things. This this this kind of stuff. What I like about it is that it's so evident. I know that you can see this for yourself. Jude 3 says, beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing. What that appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons of crept in unnoticed.
Those who are long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ. Jude says right at the start while he why he's writing. It's a different purpose than what Luke wrote his gospel for her John's gospel or the letter of first John, he says, I'm writing to you to encourage you to uphold you to contend for the faith, because there are ungodly people operating in the church that are denying the reality of the grace of God and turning it and twisting it into something that it's not sin I'm writing to protect you and I'm writing to urge you to protect the faith that is been given to us by gracious and a holy God.
So everything else that you read and those in the surrounding 25 verses there, you understand that he's writing to accomplish that particular purpose.
The context helps you understand what is being said. One way that you find. The context is in the author's purpose statement, not one always be that clear. Sometimes there's other clues to his context to his meaning. Context may be found in keywords that he repeats over and over again that show the main theme you can tell what's on somebody's mind when they keep repeating something else they can they keep repeating what themes and going back to that which they're talking about. I say okay I see this is this is heavy on his mind and all somebody's dealing with a problem in his family maybe in you know, it seems to come up each time and you say okay I understand that that family problem is deep on his heart that helps me understand other things that he says and other things that he does because when I talked to my see that this this comes out like gives you clue into the inside of a man's character right well in the same way when a biblical author starts to repeat words or to repeat themes. You have a sense of what the purposes of these writing about. So, for example, we won't look at all of these will look at any of them actually in the book of Romans.
The word righteousness. The English word righteousness occurs 35 times in the 16 chapters that influences your interpretation of each passage and you look at the words and you compare how they're used in different ways and it rounds out your understanding of this theme of righteousness that is trying to communicate context might be found in key transitions. Look at Ephesians chapter 4 we use this one. Just because one we did recently from the pulpit. Ephesians chapter 4, and all we can do in a message like this is just is just mark out certain things for you. The den taken apply and look for in your own reading to apply them to every passage of Scripture would involve teaching Genesis through Revelation in detail that's you know this. This undergirds everything else.
Look at Ephesians chapter 4 verse one context may be found in key transitions is what were saying here Paul says therefore I the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called and and he started out in English. It's the first word in Greek. It would be the second word. He starts out with that word.
Therefore let therefore see he didn't start out. Here's the thing that you see when you're reading Scripture for yourself, you're reading it in context.
You don't look at verse four and say oh he is imploring us to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
That's the wrong way to look at the text that is inadequate. It is insufficient because he uses this word therefore his command to walk in a manner worthy of Christ is based upon what came earlier. You know, one way to illustrate it at the end of this day at 3 o'clock. Were going to be done after four sessions in all say therefore go out and read the Bible and be encouraged. Let's going to be based on my coffee and read the Bible and be encouraged is going to be informed by everything that I said in the prior four sessions while in the same way the biblical author says therefore he's connecting it with what went before and so when Paul here says therefore what's he saying that one little word. He's saying this he saying in light of all that I've said in the first three chapters about God's gracious gift of salvation. How he chose us adopted us, redeemed us and sealed us with the spirit in light of the way that I've prayed and and and and God is brought Jews and Gentiles together in the church and it's been this magnificent work of God in Christ. Therefore, I implore you to walk in a manner that is worthy of Christ. He's connecting it with everything that said before, so that you would remember the fullness of the greatness of salvation, and that that would affect your motivation in order to obey the command to walk in a worthy manner. You see the context and rather than picking one verse out and turning it into a moralistic legalistic thing you need to obey Christ.
We need to need to obey Christ but what informs that what informs that is the unfolding of great biblical truth about who Christ is and what is done that makes you want to obey. If you separated from that contact she cut the nerve you cut the umbilical cord is separated from the nerve that makes that muscle work and so we said, what's the roadmap to the authors meaning pay attention to context. What's his purpose statement. For example, what themes is he talking about what transitions to see you. Sometimes it might be a contrast but you know the Gentiles live like this, but you do something different. You look for things like that but all of the beloved. Here's the thing is understanding that these things are right there and what he already said you don't have to look for something mystical is not found in the words that are used okay to pay attention to context. Secondly, what else would you do if you want to arrive at the authors meaning you do this you pay attention to other Scripture you pay attention to other Scripture. The Bible is the word of God behind the human authors was the divine mind of God operating in and directing them to what they would write they were human instruments that God used to express what he wanted to say. Ultimately simple point, very profound, very helpful in helping you understand Scripture properly understand that the divine mind of God brings a unity to what Scripture says he is a God of truth.
He will not contradict himself and so we interpret individual passages of Scripture in harmony with other Scripture teaches on the same subject. So for an example just generally basically speaking simple and so easy to understand these things. Let's let's put it this way, you know, the Scripture teaches that salvation is by grace through faith. Scripture teaches that that's woven throughout Scripture from beginning to end. Now, if you come to an individual passage that that seems to suggest that maybe our works play a role in our salvation. Well, you shouldn't run with that interpretation and say all you know I found a verse that overturns the Reformation. Actually, salvation is by works, and here's the one verse that shows that no know that that would be that would be wrong. That would that would that would make God's word contradictory inconsistent with itself.
And so as you're interpreting a passage, especially a difficult passage of Scripture you say okay what does the Scripture say about this elsewhere and let Scripture interprets Scripture and give you guidance so that you get to the right meaning.
So when you think that you've understood what a passage means, be mindful to compare it with other passages on the same subject, to see if you have consistency across God. That's going green, bringing our time in God's word to a close for today on the truth pulpit friend if you'd like to find out more about Don in this ministry. Simply go to the truth. Pulpit.com again that's the truth. Pulpit.com now before we go here again is done with the closing thought on my friend. I know this broadcast may be coming to you today in a time of sorrow or discouragement in your life me just give you closing word of comfort as we remember the Lord Jesus Christ.
He himself was a man of sorrows, and was acquainted with grief. He knew what it was like to weep. He knew what it was like to be thirsty and tired and hungry is a Savior who understands our weaknesses, because he is of like human flesh with us. So my friend take your burdens to your understanding Savior. He is a true friend in this time of need.
Thanks Don and friend will be more from our series called affected by this study.
Next time I will write inviting you to join us that as Don Greene continues teaching God's people. God's word truthful