Keys to Understanding The Bible
By Jack Northart
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand God's Word. Nor does it take a Biblical scholar or theologian or seminary grad to unlock the Scriptures. All it takes is an understanding of some basic keys that anyone can utilize and apply, and then a desire to study and see it for themselves. In this issue of The Grapevine, we are going to begin to take a look at one of those keys.
First of all, let's look at two verses in 2Timothy in the New Testament.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly
furnished unto all good works.
These two verses in 2Timothy are so wonderful because they explain so much about God's Word. The first thing it says is how we got the Word; "..given by inspiration of God.." These five words in the KJV are translated from one word in the Stephens Greek Text, theopneustos. This word literally means, "God-breathed". All scripture is "God-breathed." In other words, God authored His Word. It wasn't some made-up contrivance of a group of religious guys. God's Word is special because it is "God-breathed."
The next part of this verse says that the Word of God is profitable. That means it's not going to set you back but rather help you improve and move forward. What is it profitable for? For doctrine, which is "how to believe, rightly." For reproof, which is "to show us where we are not believing rightly." For correction, which is "to show us how to get back to believing rightly." For instruction in righteousness, or right living. This Word of God is the complete, balanced spiritual diet for us. It's all we need for right living.
Then verse 17 tells us the purpose of all of this: "That the man of God." A man of God is anyone, male or female, who speaks on behalf of God. "…may be perfect, throughly furnished…" This word perfect is the Greek word, artios. And the word furnished is exartizo. These two words come from the same root form. They mean to be completely outfitted or furnished with nothing lacking. If a group of people were going on an expedition to the South Pole, they would need to be completely outfitted, having everything they need before they embark including warm clothes, tents, food supplies, maps, etc. They would need to be exartizo. Fully outfitted for the journey. The word artios was used in secular Greek literature to describe a ship that is expressly adapted for a certain type of voyage. It is fully equipped with everything on board that would be needed for a successful trip, without any ballast on board to slow it down. It would be artios.
The purpose of God giving mankind His Word is that His people could be perfectly equipped, not lacking one thing. They are completely prepared for a successful voyage in life.
As students of God's Word, it is vital that we understand this basic truth in 2Timothy. If a person is skeptical or critical about this foundational truth that the Word declares about itself, then it will be extremely difficult for them to see God's Word fit together from Genesis to Revelation. All the keys to help unlock the Scriptures will be meaningless to them. But for those of us who want to study to show ourselves approved unto God, we must believe that this is THE GOD-BREATHED WORD that we are dealing with.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which
was preached of me is not after man. For I
neither received it of man, neither was I taught
it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Someone recently said to me that they didn't believe that the Pauline Epistles were really part of the Bible. (This statement came from a man who was supposedly trained in Biblical research.) I replied to him by saying that it all comes down to whether you believe that this is really revelation from God, or just a head trip that Paul was on. If it was a head trip of Paul's, then this verse in Galatians is not true. And if this verse is not true, then why should any other part of the Bible be true? And if we can't trust it to be the truth at all, then we are all wasting our time in studying it. Do you see how ludicrous this becomes if you keep following this line of thought?
So, from the very beginning of understanding, we must believe that this is God's Word. And if it is God's Word, then it will be perfect, and it will fit together without any contradictions or errors. And what is God's opinion about His Word? Let's look at the Book of Psalms.
Psalm 138: 2b
…for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy
Of all of God's creation like the earth, the sea, the animals, man, the universe… He underscores it all by saying that He has magnified His Word above all of that. And if God Himself has given that high distinction to His Word, shouldn't we recognize this and do the same? Let us magnify His Word in our own lives!
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