Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Romans by the Book
Hello and welcome back to HBS or Bible study-lite or user-friendly, as I like to call it.
There are reasons why I refer to it in this way. I never quiz or test those who participate in these Bible lessons. I won’t ask you to memorize Bible verses and there are no homework or reading assignments. Yet this is a Bible study. I try to keep this program “down-to-earth” so that anyone (with a mind to) can follow along with us.
I also omit cumbersome words from my Bible lessons intentionally. You know the ones. You need a dictionary to decipher their meaning and then half the time you’re still left wondering, “’what in the world… there’s no need for any of that. In case you haven’t noticed, Scripture isn’t written in that manner. The Bible was penned so that an average person with an average reading ability can understand it. Unfortunately, the majority of people have been taught directly or indirectly that they do not possess the ability to interpret Scripture without the aid of a seminary college education or the assistance of someone with such a degree. This is not true.
Here are a few basic tools for interpreting Scripture. These will help your Bible study.
“No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:11b NIV)
Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, that’s just your interpretation of the Bible?”
It’s as if that comment disproves everything that’s been said. But it really doesn’t disprove anything. There are right ways and wrong ways to interpret Scripture obviously. There are some methods for interpreting the Bible that will always give you the wrong interpretation every time.
Here are six principles of interpretation that are accepted just about everywhere.
- You need faith and the Holy Spirit to interpret Scripture.
The Bible doesn’t make sense to non-believers. It is God’s love letter to believers. When an unbeliever reads the Word, he is reading someone else’s mail. The Bible is a spiritual book that must be understood by spiritual people.
- The Bible is its own best commentary.
Scripture interprets Scripture. Practice this principle by getting a Bible with cross-references in the margin. By looking up other cross references, you’ll get a much bigger and clearer picture of what God has said in all of his Word, not just that one context.
- Read the Old Testament with the New Testament in mind,
and read the New Testament with the Old Testament in mind. The New Testament is hidden in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament.
- Always interpret unclear passages in the light of clear passages.
Look at the full counsel of God in Scripture to get a clear understanding when you find a passage that seems contradictory or confusing. For example, 1 Corinthians 15:29 has a very obscure reference to baptism for the dead. It's the only time the idea is mentioned in Scripture. Paul isn’t condoning this. Nothing in Scripture condones it. Let clear passages about salvation and baptism interpret this unclear one, not visa versa.
- Don't form a doctrine based solely on an historical event.
Take historical passages of the Bible for what they’re meant to be: good lessons. Don’t build your doctrine upon them. For example, in Mark 1:35, the Bible says Jesus got up very early, went into a place of solitude, and prayed. Does that mean you must get up every morning at 4 a.m., leave your house, and go somewhere and pray? Of course not! God may convince you that’s a good idea, but it’s not a command. Use doctrinal passages to base doctrine on. Use narratives to teach lessons.
- Never interpret Scripture based on your own experiences.
The point of Bible study is not to shape Scripture to agree with your subjective opinions or your experiences. Feelings lie. Emotions lie. Instead, discover God's timeless truth and let it shape your life. Study the Bible with an open heart and invite God to conform you to his will.
God doesn’t want to leave you in the dark when you study Scripture. Following these basic rules of Bible study can help to ensure you read the Word from God’s perspective.
We owe a debt of gratitude to people like William Tyndale (1494-1536). Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. He is frequently referred to as the “architect of the English language.”
I would be doing a great disservice to Mr. William Tyndale if I did not mention that he gave his life so that we could have a copy of the Bible in our home today.
William Tyndale had become a trained priest, and was fluent in 8 languages.
He believed a direct translation from Greek and Hebrew into English would be more accurate and readable than Wycliffe’s translation from Latin (and he was correct).
So, Mr. Tyndale, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, translated the New Testament and some of the Old Testament. Some of his friends warned him that he would be killed for doing so, but he continued his work.
Once while disputing with a learned man, Mr. Tyndale said, “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of Scripture than thou dost.”
Now how much education do you suppose a poor English plough boy possessed at that time in history? Precious little, I assure you, but enough according to Mr. Tyndale to read and understand Scripture once it was translated properly. Mr. Tyndale, like others, was killed for his efforts – he was strangled and then burned at the stake near Brussels.
But the belief he carried in his heart – that which he gave his life for was not lost. Millions of people have come to experience for themselves what Tyndale taught throughout his life: “The nature of God’s word is, that whosoever reads it…it will begin immediately to make him every day better and better, till he be grown into a perfect man.”
About 52 countries ban the Bible today – meaning it’s against the law to own one.
A few of these are: Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Iran, Kuwait, and North Korea.
When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. Author: G.K. Chesterton
I pray you find this information on and about the Bible useful. Please remember people like Mr. Tyndale in your prayers. We owe him and others like him a great deal.
Please open your Bible to Romans at chapter 5. We’ll drop in at verse 15.
The Apostle Paul has been drawing a comparison of sorts (since verse 12) between the transgression of the one man (Adam) and how his offense affected the entire human
race thereafter, and the opposite gift of God, through the righteous act of the One Man, Jesus Christ; His substitionary death on the cross affects the life of the Believer.
I say “a comparison of sorts” because it’s not a true comparison because the “free gift” from God the Father bestows blessings far beyond the consequences of Adam’s single offense. Paul continues this parallel or comparison through Romans 5:15-18.
15: But (But = Behold the Underlying Truth) the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one (Adam – the Federal Head of the Human Race) the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many (who believe the gospel).
God’s gift of grace is freely given to all, but what must you do?
You have to accept it on faith. It doesn’t work any other way.
16: The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.
Paul is saying it only took one wrong act through Adam to bring about judgment and death for all of humanity, but that out of many transgressions (every sin ever committed; past, present, and future) came the opposite of judgment – a righteous act, that is Jesus Christ died for every man, woman, and child; salvation is God’s free gift to all.
It’s a funny thing but when people see the word “free” they suddenly stop reading the rest of the copy. We know God’s grace came at a high cost. Jesus gave up His life so that we could have the gift of eternal life, through faith alone; therefore God’s grace didn’t come freely by any means. But God extends the gift of His grace to us freely in this era (dispensation) and the Bible is clear on this point. There’s nothing we can do on our own to “earn” it.
Be very careful. This verse does not say that God’s gift of grace is free to everyone therefore, everyone is already saved. Meaning, the individual need do nothing more and it doesn’t matter how they live their life. All of Scripture must be taken into account. You never build doctrine from one or two lines of Bible text.
What does this book say?
8: For by grace you have been saved (how) through faith; (not by tithing, not by joining the “right” church group, not by climbing the steepest mountain, not by swimming the strongest river, not by praying a certain prayer. You are saved through faith plus nothing else that’s what this book says) and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
This verse usually brings an old church hymn to mind and it does now.
Grace Greater Than Our Sin
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon our sin and our guilt!
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Words by: Julia H. Johnston, in Hymns Tried and True (Chicago, IL)
Music: Daniel B. Towner, 1910
There’s a powerful message in this old church hymn.
It says what it means and means what it says.
Let’s return to Romans.
17: For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, (now watch this) much more those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will (do what exactly) reign in life (the opposite of death) through the One, Jesus Christ.
What does Death do? It destroys right? Therefore, Death is known as reigning by the destruction of his subjects – that’s you and me.
Those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall be redeemed from the sentence of the second death and instead exalted to the throne room of God to live and reign with Jesus Christ forever without end. (See 1 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:10-11; Revelation 3:21)
Let’s return to Romans and wrap up this Bible lesson.
18: So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to (how many) all men (and women), even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to (how many) all men (and women).
Through the one transgression of Adam a sentence of death passed to all mankind without hope or reprieve. Mankind would experience death twice, once in this life, and then the second death, which is the eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire.
But by the obedience of Jesus Christ, unto death, His one righteous act reversed that death sentence for all mankind. Jesus Christ’s resurrection defeated death and gave Him the victory. Justified Believers will follow His lead.
19: For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
There are quite a few people who shy away from the term “sinner.” They don’t like being referred to or labeled as such but this is what the book says. This is who we are per the Creator God.
I said “we” because even saved individuals are going to continue to sin. The Apostle Paul wrote: “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, (that old Adamic Nature) sold into bondage to sin” (see Romans 7: 14-25).
Paul is saying he struggled with sin in his own life and we will struggle with sin in our lives but what else is true? We will be victorious one day!
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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