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This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, October 23, 2020

1 Thessalonians (L 09) Stand fast vs be ye steadfast

 

Home Bible Study©

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

WWW. 2Tim215.Net 

Established November 2008                                     Published: October 23, 2020 

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

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1 Thessalonians (L 09) 

Welcome to HBS and thank you for your continued interest in the Word of God.

 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”(Colossians 1:9-10).

Stand Fast and be ye Steadfast

 This week we’re going to take an in depth look at Paul’s commands to “Stand fast” and “be ye steadfast.”  Although they might appear to be saying the same thing, they are not.  Here are two examples from Paul’s writing:

 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord:” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

 Let’s begin with the command “stand fast.  First, you won’t find these commands anywhere else but in Paul’s communications to the grace churches.  Since he is the “pattern” or “example” all grace Believers are to imitate, and or follow, I’ll use him as the example (1 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Timothy 1:15-16).  Inarguably the most faithful servant of God and man who has lived on earth since the time the Lord Jesus Christ walked among us was the apostle Paul.  An untold number of people were blessed beyond measure by his 36 year ministry and many more have received rich spiritual blessings via his writings after his death.  In his letters we read of his courage, compassion, and conviction in the midst of fierce opposition er he went and his uncompromising devotion to the cause of Christ.  For instance, in Galatians 1:10 we read: “For if I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ.”  Then there are his words written shortly before he suffered martyrdom for his faith:  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).

 We note along with the victories there also came great suffering.  Note Paul’s statement in Acts 21:13: “What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?  for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

 Regarding this mission, and the difficulties associated with it, Paul wrote: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

 In the face of suffering, even unto martyrdom, Paul spoke of finishing “his course with joy.”  He had received his ministry from the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ and from that moment on his course “to testify the gospel of the grace of God” was never altered or shaken.  He was tasked with not only preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ to the gentile nations, he also had to keep the religious wolves at bay for he knew they would “enter in… not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29-30); and so it was. 

 Fast forward to today.  The religious wolves have multiplied to such a degree they are without number.  In any way and every way possible they beguile and bewitch sinners and saints with a religious message which they declare to be God’s message (see the prosperity gospel and the social gospel as examples of this truth).  With their religious mixture of the O.T. and the N.T. they distort and pervert God’s message of grace and salvation through faith in what God has said.  In so doing, they frustrate the grace of God and thereby preach another gospel, “which is not another” (Galatians 1:6-10, 2:21). 

 In Paul’s day these religious wolves not only undermined the hearts and minds of sinners, they used every endeavor to turn the hearts of Paul’s spiritual children against him (1 Corinthians 4:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:11), and with great success in some cases (2 Timothy 1:15).  Then Paul would write them a message of grace and peace and do his utmost to draw them back to the faith.  In one such message he wrote: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?”(Galatians 3:1).   In plain language, these folks were “bewitched” because they received (took to heart) a religious system (consisting of do’s and don’ts) to supplement Paul’s message of salvation through grace by faith (alone).  When Paul found them as unsaved pagans, and preached to them, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:24), they were  saved and they rejoiced in the Lord.  But then the false teachers entered in, preaching, “except ye be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:5, 24), demonstrating the aforementioned truth, “The religious wolves did not spare the flock.

A preacher in England, some time ago, said, If Paul had not taken an uncompromising stand against these false teachers, who, in the first century, were determined to corrupt Paul’s gospel of grace by adding to it the do’s and don’ts of the Mosaic Law, his gospel of grace message would have been lost long before he had passed away (Galatians 2:1-10).  But later on it was so completely covered up with the corruption of Christendom for many centuries that it was lost, as far as the great majority of people were concerned, especially during the many years when the people had no Bible of their own to read and they relied solely on “the teachings of men.”  For the majority of Christendom today Paul’s message of salvation by grace through faith (plus nothing else) remains lost. 

 Not only did “false brethren” succeed in robbing many Believers of their liberty in Christ, so that they were again entangled with “the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5), but other false apostles followed Paul to Corinth and other cities, and taught the new converts that there would be no resurrection of the dead; that is, that the bodies of Believers would not be raised at the Rapture.  To them Paul wrote if Believer’s bodies were not to be raised, then Christ’s body was not raised.  And if so, what then?  All the apostles were false witnesses.  All the saints who had died had indeed perished.  The sacrifices and sufferings of saints were worse than folly.  All the preaching of a hope beyond-the grave was vain.  The preaching was vain and all the works of the saints were vain.  This is the message of the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians.  But this does not represent all the wonderful truth contained in that chapter (See also 2 Corinthians 11:7-17).

 At the present time, preachers among Christians who preach salvation by religious practices, i.e., doing this or that to please God, and who deny the bodily resurrection of Christ, call themselves “Liberals” or “Modernists.”  But in Paul’s day they were called “grievous wolves,” “false brethren,” and “servants of Satan transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).  But at this present time there are many “false brethren” who believe and teach the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, salvation by God’s grace, faith in the shed blood of Christ, and who teach the bodily resurrection, but they add things to it.  A biblical example of this is Paul’s letter to the assembly in Galatia.  The context of Galatians has to do with false teachers who crept in after Paul had established the church there and started preaching a “different gospel” than the one Paul had advocated.  Namely, one that instructed the new Believers to consider what Paul taught as “Christianity-lite.”  These folks (the Judaizers) were proclaiming to be truly saved, one had to become as a Jew, and adhere to the rigorous and strict fundamentals of the Jewish dietary and purity laws that were outlined in the Mosaic Law.  Thus, they practiced a form of Fundamentalism, as many do today, and in doing so are practicing religious heresy.  Note Paul’s short but complete answer to the religious-minded Jews who taught salvation either by works wholly or in part in addition to faith, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:21).  

Will a Christian make the death of Christ “vain?”  Sadly, for many, the answer is yes. Either by ignorance of the facts surrounding the case or by false presumption they are making the great, once and done, sacrifice of the Son of God “vain.”  For God spared not His only Son ( Romans 8:32).  Think of that hour of darkness when Christ Jesus hung on that cross of shame and cried out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-50); and this revelation from our apostle Paul: “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8); along with the apostle John’s message, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).  But what is the measure of God’s love toward mankind?  How much did God love the world that did not know Him or His ways?  God’s beloved Son dying on the cross is the answer.  

 What did the Lord Jesus Christ accomplish for all mankind on Calvary?  

 He “…put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

 Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead in sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24.)

 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).

 This is what Christ did with sin by His sacrificial death and bodily resurrection.  He has obtained redemption for us.  What kind of redemption?  The answer: an unending redemption.  But what did God do with that religious system of do’s and don’ts man identifies as one form of religion or another?  In Colossians 2:8-23 Paul tells us:

 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespassesBlotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.  (Therefore) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.  Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?  Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in twill worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”

 In plain language, if  righteousness came by keeping the Law, then Christ died in vain.

If the lost sinner turns away from the grace of God, from Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of all (2 Corinthians 5:15), where else might they go?  There is only one other place to turn, and that is to Mount Sinai with its “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not;” with its ordinances, ceremonies, and the blood of animals that could never take away sin: “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).  

 Thus the question the apostle Peter raised at the Jerusalem Council:

 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples (converted gentiles), which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10)

For they could not endure that which was commanded” (Hebrews 12:20a).

Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15).

 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you is justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law, by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him Who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Romans 7:4).

 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).

 To turn to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 5 thru 7 and 10 thru 13), His Golden Rule, or anyplace else other than the writings of Paul for your salvation in the Age of Grace is to find spiritual death not life (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).  There is no salvation or justification in the ethical philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth.  Now I know some people are going to be offended by that remark but please read on.  The scriptures tell us mankind, by nature, is dead in their trespasses and sins.  They act according to the flesh for they are earthly by nature.  The sin nature is that aspect in man that makes him or her rebel against God.  When the Bible speaks of the sin nature, it’s referring to the fact that we all have a natural inclination to sin; given the choice to do God’s will or our own, we will naturally choose to do our own thing, but I prefer to let the Scriptures speak here and elsewhere:

 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jerimiah 17:9)

 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:10-11).

 They that are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8)  

 The penalty for sin is death” (Romans 6:23)  

 Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3)  

 everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34)

 To put anyone under the Law means, “bondage again;” for they are then obligated to keep the whole law and not found guilty of breaking one lest they be found guilty of breaking them all (James 2:10-26).  In short one little “white lie” is enough to condemn you.  But, by faith in the redemptive work of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, the Believer is free from the law of sin and death and they are free of the Law of Mt Sinai (See Romans 8;2, 7:3-6).   

 The apostle Paul wrote: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

 Paul took the time to express God’s truths re: the Galatian’s freedom in Christ in Galatians 4:21-31.  Why?  They needed to hear this message because they were in the process of deserting Paul’s gospel (Romans 2:16) for another along with their “liberty” in Christ, as are many Christians today for they have and are turning from God’s free gift of grace to legalism as a means of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

 Here I take the time to remind y’all that freedom is not free.  The purest example of this truth is the Creator God’s sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross for all.  But to be clear freedom as Paul used the term in Galatians 5:1, refers to freedom from the frustrating struggle to keep the Law in its entirety in order to please God; freedom also means we have been freed to engage in any activity not expressly forbidden in the Bible.  In 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 Paul put it this way, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.  Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth (highest good);” freedom is knowing the Believer is accepted by God; not because of something they did or did not do, but because of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for the Believer: “ If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).  Thus, He alone is our sure foundation and the source of our liberty: (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 6:7, 18, 22; 2 Corinthians 3:17). 

Speaking of a sure foundation, any reputable building contractor know it’s foolhardy to build a home on shifting sand, or whatnot, so when a firm foundation has been laid they then erect the structure.  Paul, God’s uncompromising apostle, is the wise master builder of the Body of Christ; an organic organization made up of saved individuals who are “in Christ Jesus” and not a building where churched-people gather:

 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11).

Therefore, before the Believer can “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called,” (Ephesians 4:1) and “walk well-pleasing unto the Lord” (Colossians 1:10); before they can serve the Lord satisfactorily (Romans 12:1-2), they must obey Paul’s command in Galatians 5:1.  He or she must stand fast in God’s grace being assured that it’s a firm foundation.  So, Stand fast in the liberty that is yours in Christ Jesus for “Ye have not received the spirit of, bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15).

Are you a saved child of God?  If so, how did you become His child?  What did you have to do with it?  Was there any doing on your part?   If so, what did you do?  All good questions but I’ll add a couple more.  Do you believe the Lord Jesus Christ obtained eternal redemption for all (Hebrews 9:12)?  Was His redemptive work perfect?  If not, what work(s) does God require a lost sinner to add to the cross of Christ so that they might be redeemed?  Do those works of the flesh pave your way to salvation or are we made “free” because of what the Son of God did?  Those were rhetorical questions and meant to cause you to think on them before proceeding.  The Scriptures reveal Christ Jesus has set us free, so there isn’t one thing we have to do to obtain God’s mercy and grace.  The sum total of doing is to believe and receive (take to heart) Christ and His perfect work of the cross (! Corinthians 15:1-4).  Then, “stand fast in the liberty” He has secured for us.    

Beware of the ravenous religious wolves, i.e., the false brethren that proclaim any message of salvation that involves “thou shall” and “thou shalt not.”  Christ has set us free, so believe it and stand fast in the liberty that is now yours.  For the Believer is no longer a slave to sin, headed for the wrath of God and His divine judgement, and then the second death.  Religious practices cannot save anyone, so, “Be not again entangled with the yoke of bondage.”  The only religion God ever gave to man was contained in the religious system He gave to Israel, through His servant Moses, which was in effect until “the time of reformation” (Hebrews 9:10).  

Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4);

The kingdom of God is no longer meats and drink, but righteousness” (Romans 14:17);

With the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10).

Believing and taking to heart what God has said, dispensationaly speaking, results in righteousness, “for by grace through faith are ye saved” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Religion is not righteousness.  God’s adopted children today have Christ and Christ is the Believer’s righteousness, redemption, and sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30).  God’s people under their religious program received the spirit of bondage unto fear (Romans 8:15).  They did not receive the Spirit of adoption, crying Abba, Father.  But the Believer has eternal life; Believers are “in Christ” and Christ is in the Believer; Believers are accepted in Christ and are without condemnation; and they are complete in Christ (Ephesians 1:6; Romans 8:1; Colossians 2:10; Galatians 2:16-21), so “stand fast.”

Be ye Steadfast

 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Paul’s saying do not sit on the sidelines get involved.  Do not stand around idle, if you are sure your trust is in God’s grace and His redemptive work.  Get busy; waste no time.  Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,”

The Lord Jesus Christ died not only to save us from the penalty of sin and death, but (He) gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).

Please carefully note the phrase, “to purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”  The Lord’s redeemed ones are to demonstrate they are a peculiar people and this is done by performing “good works.”  We’re not performing good deeds so as to achieve God’s favor because, clearly, these peculiar people were already saved.  We know this because Paul only wrote to Believers or those who have been saved by God’s grace through faith (alone). 

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.  And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19). 

Departing from iniquity is included in the good works.  The world says, “show me your faith by your works.”  However, the Lord’s peculiar people are in the world but they are not of the world.  They are dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11).  The unsaved people, those who are outside of Christ, are dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-10).  Paul refers to those who are in Christ as “new creatures.”  They are “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that they should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). 

But God says to all those that are His, “ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price.”  They love, the Lord because He first loved them (Romans 5:8-9; 1 John 4:19):

For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all then were all dead.  And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

What’s more, God reminds His people He “…is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love  (Hebrews 6:10); “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11); “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward” (1 Corinthians 3:14). 

No true Believer that serves God satisfactorily, or in accordance with His expressed will, will ever come up empty-handed.  They will receive a reward, and we may be certain the Lord’s rewards are worth striving for.  Our good works done in the Lord, or for God’s glory and His honor, are not done in vain: (1 Corinthians 15:58).  In Colossians 3:17 Paul instructed us Believers how to serve God if you expect to receive a reward: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Read carefully Hebrews 12:1-2: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Here I note two things.  1) The Lord Jesus Christ’s path to glory went through the cross of shame and not around it.  2) I note that we cannot depend upon our own abilities, no matter how clever or talented we might be.  And while the Lord’s redeemed ones should always help one another to run their race well and fight the good fight of faith, we know that they often fall well short of the mark.  So, if we look unto ourselves, or if we fix our sight upon our human circumstances, then most likely we’ll not be steadfast.

To be steadfast (unmoveable) means a great deal.  Note Paul’s words in Colossians 1:23: “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

To be steadfast (unmovable) means to be spiritually grounded.  The true Believer knows what he or she believes and why; they cannot be “…tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, (nor) by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; ” (Ephesians 4:14). A steadfast person can recognize false teaching in whatever form it takes, engage non-believers about spiritual matters, and defend the truth of God’s Word without having their faith shaken.

In his second letter to the saints in Corinth, Paul expressed his concern for that church because some of them were being led away from the faith: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Even through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).  Here we note these Believers who had been personally taught the Word of God by Paul were victims of deception.  To remain steadfast, therefore, we have to know the Word of God, especially that which is written directly to us, i.e., the Body of Christ.  In 2 Timothy 2:15 we find an oft ignored or overlooked command of God to every true Believer (See 1 Corinthians 14:37):  “(Insert your name here because this is addressed to you) Study (God’s Word) to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, (by) rightly dividing the word of truth.

The flip-side of this marching order from Head-quarters is rather obvious.  If you are not “studying” the Bible and using right division, then you’ll stand before God saved but ashamed.  So then, how does one become a spiritual workman (craftsman), skilled in their understanding and teaching of the Word of God?  The answer is found in the verse.  The Believer must “study.”  The Koine Greek word for study is spoudazo (pronounced spoo-dad-zo), a verb, Strong’s Greek #4704; meaning:  to agonize, to hasten, be eager, zealous. I pray that info helps you understand what Paul’s implying.  He’s saying you are to apply yourself wholly to getting this good work done, i.e., to diligently study the Word of truth.

Now a few words to those folks who have dealt irresponsibly with the expression “rightly dividing” as found in the KJV Bible.  Some of the modern versions have changed the term “rightly dividing” to “rightly handling” (See the Revised Standard Version, the NIV, and the New American Standard Bible).  Thus, we learn the whole idea boils down to dealing correctly with what God has said in His Word, rather than dividing it correctly.   

Generally speaking, these modern Bible versions do not believe in “rightly dividing the Word of truth.”  But the Koine Greek word, “dividing” is Orthotomeo (pronounced or-thot-om-eh'-o); Strong’s Greek #3718, meaning:  to cut straight.  Paul most likely had a carpenter (craftsman) in mind when he used this term because they were known to measure twice before making one straight cut.  You’ll find the Orthopaedic Surgeons diligently doing likewise. 

So, “to cut straight,” so as to “divide” truths on one side from those on the other, and this the Scriptures themselves instruct us to do so.  For example, Paul in his letter to the church at Rome makes a sharp “division” between law and grace.  On the one side of this “division” (as under the Dispensation of Law) it would be wrong to fail to bring animal sacrifices for one’s sins, while on the other side (as under the Dispensation of Grace) it would be wrong to bring them to church with you on Sundays.  This is but one example, but it’s an important one, that’s why I selected it, but it’s also a telling demonstration of the importance of “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

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” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Here our apostle Paul referred to the sacred Scriptures, also called the Bible and the Word of God.  All of it he said is “God-breathed and profitable,” to “teach,” to “reprove,” to “correct,” and to “instruct.”  Since that’s true, why have so many heresies and false teachings sprung up over the years?  Why have so many thousands of sincere people been led astray by these same false teachings?  The reason is that preacher and teachers and their followers have failed to heed God’s command to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 

To be clear, the Bible can prove “profitable” to us only as we obey God’s command to “rightly divide” it.   We do this for the simple reason that if we do not do this we pervert the truth of God’s Word and change it into error.  Through the centuries God has periodically altered His dealings with mankind.  Many religious rites which were commanded in O.T. times are positively forbidden in this present dispensation of grace.

For example, according to the Mosaic Law, God required that His people bring animals to be sacrificed for one’s transgressions, and from the appearance of John the Baptist through to the Day of Pentecost water baptism was required for the Jew (Leviticus 17:11; Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38).  But some years after the death of Christ Paul was sent forth with “the preaching of the cross,” and he declared that: “We have redemption through (Christ’s) blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7); “Being justified freely by (God’s) grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

And then we have his own words communicated to the Corinthian assembly:  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). 

Summing up, studying the Bible dispensationaly might seem confusing at first, but it actually dispels confusion, solves difficult problems, and resolves those so-called contradictions people continue to refer to.  But make no mistake God is not the author of confusion – man is.

(To be continued)

 © Copyright 2011

GJ Heitzman’s Ministry

All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

(To be continued)

 

© Copyright 2011

GJ Heitzman’s Ministry

All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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