Thursday, December 12, 2013

Following God's Complete Instruction Book

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." - II Timothy 3:16

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. " - Acts 17:11

"Study (be diligent) to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." - II Tim. 2:15

In the church, today, I find one word that is almost shunned - the word is "doctrine". What is doctrine (in the Greek word is "didache")? Bible doctrine is simply teaching/instruction; it is that which is taught in the Bible.

I have been in churches where people did not want to learn Bible doctrine. After all, they say, "doctrine is boring". My question is, what do you want to learn? After all, Bible doctrine is to be taught/instructed from the Bible.

We're more concerned with hearing an "emotionally stirring" sermon or Sunday School lesson than we are to hear Bible doctrine! Guess what, if you're NOT learning Bible doctrine in EVERY sermon, then you are in trouble of getting into error. It grieves the heart of God that we will not invest the time in His Word to study it and see who God truly is, and what we are to believe. I try to make sure I am believing God's Word and not man's word.

Let me relate a story of something that happened to me a few years back. I had been using a computer for quite some time. Then, I felt a need to add to my software skills. So I picked up a book from the library on this new software. Then, after going through it, I went and got tested on THREE Microsoft software programs (and I studied some on all three), two I had used for approximately 7 or more years, the other one LESS than two weeks. Guess which one I scored the highest on? The one I only knew for two weeks! You may say WHY? Here's the answer, plain and simple. The two programs that I knew for years, I had only been using the applications I thought I needed for the task at hand. But when I wanted to learn the new program, I went and got a book from the library and studied ALL aspects of the software, then I tried to apply ALL the applications. This brought to light an all-too-true, but sad spiritual scenario. Many of us have been doing the same spiritual applications over and over for years, BUT we have never sought to learn the whole counsel of God (all of His Word). We have picked and chosen what we wanted to apply of God's Word. Big mistake!!! You have hindered your full(er) knowledge of God's Word! This is where doctrine comes in! We need to study ALL aspects of God's Word, NOT just the "feel good" subjects.

Understanding all the fundamental doctrines in the Bible are so essential!
You will only grow so much (and no further) if you pick and chose what you want to learn and apply. Today, go out and get a good book that covers the fundamentals of the Bible (personally I think a great book for every library and worth the long read is "Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine" (over 1250 pages) by Wayne Grudem's or his small book "Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know" (only 160 pages and low priced).  Whatever you read be sure it has a lot of scripture and make sure you look them ALL up in your Bible (and in context) to ensure it's the truth (Bible) and not man's words.

Also, launch out into your own personal study on some of those subjects such as: Infallibility of the Bible; the Virgin Birth; who is Jesus Christ; the death, burial and resurrection of Christ; who is the Holy Spirit; who is the Father; end times/last days (Eschatology); salvation; sin, etc.

As we study the Bible we can take simple steps to keep us in a Biblical view of the Bible.  These simple steps to take to keep help you in "rightly dividing the Word of God (Bible).

Step One: Observation  (I.E., Ask questions of the biblical text. Look for things that are emphasized, repeated, related, alike, and true to life.”

Step Two: Interpretation (I.E., Read in context (don't just pull a verse out of it's setting) and also compare words, themes, phrases and styles of the text with other biblical texts.

Step Three: Application (I.E., What does the text Relate to you. Meditate (think about it) and Practice it.   For more information read "Living By the Book" by Howard Hendricks

And may I add here please, please, please ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to Biblical truths as you read and study the Bible.

Today, start afresh studying God's COMPLETE instruction book!

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