Comparative Bible Study Guidelines
I. Explaining spiritual truths with spiritual words
How did the Apostles explain the Spiritual truths written in the Bible?
In I Corinthian 2:13: Apostle Paul cite this unique characteristic of a Holy Spirit inspired Preacher—like the apostles—with a unique method of teaching.The Apostle Paul tell us that . . . . ."This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." (New English Bible)The same verse in other versions of the Bible:When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths. (New Living Translation)These are the things we are saying. We are not using human ideas of wisdom which man taught us. Instead, we are using words which the Spirit teaches. We explain Spiritual things with Spiritual words. (1 Corinthians 2:13, International English NT)
- they express spiritual truths in spiritual words, or
- they use Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths, or
- they explain spiritual things with spiritual words.In explaining spiritual truths the Apostles never used words taught to them by human wisdom.What should we do if an explanation of a biblical verse is needed?
- Like the Apostles, if an explanation of a biblical verse is needed, we must refer back to the Bible and look for the verse that explains it. By doing this, we let the words of God explain the words of God.Why should we let the Bible explain itself or let the words of God explain the words of God?
- By using the verses of the Bible to explain the Spiritual truth written in other verses of the Holy Bible, we will be using the words given or taught by the Spirit of God.
- Thus, if we use the words given by the Spirit to explain the truth taught by the Spirit, then we are sure that no contradiction will result because the words of God will never contradict the words of God.How then should we know the incorrect or wrong explanation of a verse?
- The incorrect or wrong explanation of any verse is the explanation that contradicts any part of the verse and to other verses in the Bible.How then should we know the correct explanation of the verse?
- The correct explanation of any verse is the explanation that does not contradict any part of the verse and to other verses in the Bible.Thus, we should be looking for explanations that is in conformity with other verses and with the biblical truth written in the scriptures.Determining the correct explanation of a verse:
- First - is to compare the questionable verse to clear passages or verses dealing on the same subject. If the questionable verse contradicts the clear verse or verses dealing on the same subject, then you will know that the questionable verse is wrong.
- Second - is to compare the questionable verse to the Biblical Truth- which is the teaching of the Bible as a whole. If the questionable verse or teaching contradicts the teaching of the Bible as a whole, then you will know that the questionable verse or teaching is wrong.This is the unique way the Holy Spirit teaches, we "use Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths" (I Cor. 2:13, NLT)
II. No prophecy in scripture is a matter of personal interpretation:
III. No contradiction in the Holy ScripturesWhy should "spiritual truths be explained in spiritual words" and not in words taught us by human wisdom?Apostle Peter made this explanation in II Peter1:20-21:First of all, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever originated through a human decision. Instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ISV)The same verse in other versions of the bible:Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God. (NAB)"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (NKJV)First of all, everyone must understand that. . . . .
- "no prophecy in the scripture is a matter of personal interpretation" because no prophecy ever originated through a human decision.Thus, the scriptures which are the words of God can only be explained by the words of God and not in words taught by human wisdom.How did the "prophecy of scripture" come to be written in the Bible if not through the will of man? How did God reveal His words to man?In the following verses these are written:"God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets," "has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds." (Hebrews 1:1-2, NKJV)"'Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying: 'Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you.'" (Jer.30:2 NKJV)In times past, God spoke to His people at various times and in different ways to the Fathers through the Prophets. And in these last days spoken to us by His Son. God also commanded His servants to write all His words in a book. Thus, the words of God in times past came to be written in many books and now compiled as one - the Holy Bible.
What would be the result if spiritual truths or spiritual things written in the verses of the Bible are explained using spiritual words (verses) also written in the Bible?When Spiritual words are used to explain Spiritual truths or Spiritual things.
- It will not result in contradiction,
- It will not result in inconsistency
- It will not result in disagreement with the Biblical Truth.This is the unique way the Holy Spirit teaches (I Cor. 2:13). In this unique method of teaching, nothing is added to or taken away from the word of God.Why does the Bible contain no contradiction?In the following verses it is explained:In it's original form the Bible contains no contradiction because. . . .and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:15-17 (NKJV)for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter1:21 (NKJV)
- "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" ( II Timothy 3:15-17).
- for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter1:21)The Bible contain "No Contradiction" because God is the ultimate author of all the books and letters in the Bible though it was spoken and/or written by the Prophets, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles as they were inspired and moved by the Holy Spirit.
IV. Do not go beyond what is written
What is Apostles Paul counsel to those who might be tempted to use their human wisdom instead of the words taught by the Spirit?In I Corinthians 4:6, Apostle Paul warns us not to go beyond what is written:"Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. (New International Version)The same verse in other versions of the Bible:Brothers, I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, so that you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written. Then you will stop boasting about one person at the expense of another. (International Standard Version)
My brothers, it is because of you that I have taken Apollos and myself as examples of these things, so that in us you might see that it is not wise to go farther than what is in the holy Writings, so that no one of you may be lifted up against his brother. (The Bible in Basic English)Apostle Paul admonish the early Christians "Not to go beyond what is written in the Holy Scriptures". , in other words, "We should simply follow what is written in the Bible". This is to avoid difficulties in understanding the words of God.What does "do not go beyond what is written" mean?
How does God consider this transgression?"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. (Deuteronomy 12:32, NKJV)You shall not add to it nor take away from it.
Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mathew 5: 19. NIV)Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
V. No speculations about God and Jesus Christ
Why people should not use their limited human wisdom and intellect to speculate or study speculations, things that are not written in the Bible, about the Lord God and the Jesus Christ?How could anyone know that false beliefs are being taught even if they tell you it is the truth?In the following verses, these are written:The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever, to observe all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29, NRSV)Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. (John 7:16, NKJV)
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. (John 20:31, NASB)Let us be satisfied with what is written in the Bible for these are the revealed things that belong to us, and not worry about the secret things that belong to the Lord our God. Let us also be satisfied with what is written about the Lord Jesus Christ and His teachings (doctrines of God), for these are the things we need to attain salvation and eternal life. Let us concentrate on studying what is only written in the Bible because these are the things that are revealed to us by the Spirit.What will result if we simply follow what is written in the Holy Bible?
- No difficulties would arise because all our biblical questions will be answered by the verses of the Bible.
- The biblical truth or teachings will be made clear and meaningful to us by the verses of the Bible.What will result if we unwittingly come to subscribe (adopt as a belief) unscriptural doctrines or teachings that are not written in the Bible?If we unwittingly subscribe to unscriptural doctrines or teachings, say for example things about God and Jesus Christ that cannot be read in the Bible, then. . . . .
- we will encounter so many questions that cannot be answered or explained by the verses of the Bible.
- we will come to believe unscriptural doctrines or teachings that are considered by some people as mysteries because . . . . .
- no one will be able to understand it
- it cannot be fathomed by the finite mind
- it is an absurdity―a contradiction in termsThen, we will never come to the knowledge of the truth written in the Bible.What is the basic reason why people who unwittingly come to believe unscriptural doctrines will never come to the knowledge of the truth about God?In Romans 1:21-22, this is written,21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. 22. Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves] (Romans 1:21-22, Amplified Bible)The same verses in another version of the Bible:21. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused.
22. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. (NLT)Because such unscriptural doctrines or teachings are product of vain imaginings, foolish reasoning and stupid speculation done by people whose senseless mind are darkened and confused; people who claim to be wise but are utter fools in the sight of God. Surely, such unscriptural doctrines or teachings about God will lead people to believe what is false, because such beliefs are contrary to the truth written in the Bible. These false beliefs will surely lead people to damnation and not to salvation on the Day of Judgment.
In Isaiah 5:20, this is written:
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (NKJV)When the teachings being taught are contrary to the truth written in the Bible, then, you will know that these are false teachings. These false teachings are simply speculations or ideas about God and Jesus Christ that are not written in the Bible. As always, false teachers will call their teachings the truth when in fact it is false because it is not written in the Bible. Thus, false teachers will call their teachings good and light when in fact it is basically evil and dark. Also false teachers will call their teachings sweet when in truth it is bitter. Certainly these false teachers will lead people to destruction and not to salvation.
The same verse in another version of the Bible:
Destruction is certain for those who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark; that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. (NLT)___________________
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