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Word of Truth Ministries

                II Timothy 2:15 

             "Prove All Things"

                 Will You Prove All Thing's ?

                

So where did you get your RELIGION ? How did you come to believe the things that you believe?


     It is amazing to realize how careful most people are when buying a home, for instance, as opposed to proving all things in scripture what they believe. The house may just fit their need for a number of years. But being involved with the true religion of God has to do with where they will spend all eternity.
     So where did you get your religion? How did you come to believe the things that you believe? Did you find your religious concepts in the Bible? Or did you get your religious ideas from family and friends?
     Frankly, most of you did not get your religion out of the Bible. It may hurt to have to admit that. But it can easily be proved in the vast majority of cases.
     It is very difficult for most people to admit they have been wrong. Human pride just does not want to do that. Yet, according to the inspired Word of God, that is the beginning point of true Christianity. When Jesus Christ began His ministry, He told His listeners over and over, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17). And the Gospel of Mark tells us: "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’" (Mark 1:14–15). Again, Jesus later said, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).
     The word "repent" means to change. Yet, again, most people are not willing to admit they have been wrong and they certainly do not want to change! Are we like the man Sir Winston Churchill described, who "occasionally... stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened"?
     Yet, if your eternal life is at stake, you would be very wise to consider whether you—however sincerely—have grown up in the wrong religion!
     Am I indicting "Christianity" as the "wrong religion"? Of course not! But I want to make you aware of the fact that there is both false Christianity and true Christianity. Many do not realize that. But the Bible itself makes it abundantly clear that the false form of Christianity would predominate until Christ’s Second Coming. The beloved Apostle John described this very time in which we are living: "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Revelation 12:9). Satan the Devil has palmed off on this deceived world a false Christianity!
     The highly regarded modern philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, in his Attack Upon Christendom, wrote: "The Christianity of the New Testament simply does not exist. Millions of people through the centuries have little by little cheated God out of Christianity, and have succeeded in making Christianity exactly the opposite of what it is in the New Testament."
     So each of us needs to prove what we believe by really studying the Bible. We need to drink out of the Bible what it says rather than reading our own pre-conceived ideas into the Bible.
     Think for a moment. Why is professing Christianity divided into hundreds of competing denominations and sects? Why do churches calling themselves Christian have so many differing beliefs and practices? Could it be that God is the author of confusion? Or might there be another explanation?
     Consider the warning Christ Himself gave: "For many shall come in my name, saying [that] I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:5, KJV). Jesus did not say here that only some few would come in His name, but rather that "many shall come"! They come as "Christian" preachers, proclaiming Jesus as the Christ—yet deceiving many! In other words, there was to be a mass deception based on the false teachings of the many who would claim to come "in Jesus’ name."
     Frankly, it is easy for religious teachers to appropriate the Son of God’s name as a cloak for their personal doctrine, whether or not what they say has any relationship at all to the real Jesus’ life or teachings! That is why the Apostle Paul tells us: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV). Each one of us is responsible to "check up" on the doctrines we are taught—whatever the source. Don’t make careless assumptions! Be sure you know what the Bible really says!
     Paul further admonishes: "For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted; you may well put up with it!" (2 Corinthians 11:4). In other words, Paul feared that some of the Church members of his day would fall prey to "counterfeit" ministers and would come to accept a false gospel about a false Christ!
     What about you? Is it possible that you have put up with "another Jesus"? Might you have been deceived into believing in a false portrayal of Christ—along with a false message merely purported to have come from the true Jesus? How can we know what is true and what is not?
     Again, we need to truly study the Bible to attain genuine understanding. We need to be willing to open-mindedly consider if we have been following the "traditions of men" rather than the commandments of God (Matthew 15:3).
     As we study the Bible, we need to learn to let the Bible interpret the Bible. In other words, if something seems unclear, then we should let the plain, clear verses help us understand those that are not clear. We need to learn also to study the Bible straight through like we would any other book. Many people simply skip around here and there and read sentimental verses of encouragement. While this may help at times, it does not give genuine understanding of the whole plan and purpose of God, which He reveals in His instruction manual for mankind—the Holy Bible.
     Begin by studying the Gospel of Matthew—the first book of the New Testament. Read right through Matthew slowly, marking what you feel are the important verses. Then, next day, review these verses you have studied and read slowly—meditating and marking—a few more chapters. In this way, you will become familiar with what the Bible actually says—not what misguided men may tell you that it says!
     In fervent personal prayer, ask God for understanding. Be willing to follow the Christianity of Christ no matter what. Always remember the Apostle Paul’s vital statement: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20, KJV).
     Through the promised Holy Spirit, will Christ live the same kind of life in you that He did live more than 1,900 years ago in the human flesh? Hebrews 13:8 tells us: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Did Christ keep the Ten Commandments while He was in the human flesh? John 15:10 tells us, "I have kept my Father’s commandments." 

     As the end of this age approaches, may God help you genuinely study His inspired Word and prove what you believe from the Bible. Then, you will be on a solid foundation. And you will come to genuinely know God—and the resurrected Jesus Christ at God’s right hand—in a way you have never experienced before.
        

                  Principles of Bible Study

Hundreds of millions own a Bible, but how many actually read and understand it? Can you understand the Bible? Yes, you can, with the help of seven vital principles of Bible study that can help you deepen your knowledge of God and your relationship with Him!


     Year after year, the Bible is the world's best-selling book! Chances are you have one on your coffee table—or stored away in a closet somewhere. But how many actually read the Bible? You could be missing out on the most exciting, mind-expanding knowledge and wisdom the world has ever known! Can you really understand the Bible?
     More than 100 million Bibles are distributed in whole or in part each year around the world. But how many people actually read the Bible? And how many really understand it? Can you understand the Bible? Yes, you can! This article will share seven principles of Bible study that can help you deepen your knowledge of God and your relationship with Him.

     According to a Gallup poll, 59 percent of Americans read the Bible at least occasionally. While that might seem impressive, readership of the Bible has actually declined from 73 percent in the 1980s ("Six in Ten Americans Read Bible at Least Occasionally," Gallup News Service, October 20, 2000).
     Studies have found a paradox concerning our Bible knowledge. "Overall, 60 percent of all adults agree that 'the Bible is totally accurate in all that it teaches.' Yet people's knowledge of the content actually taught in the Bible leaves much to be desired" ("Americans' Bible Knowledge Is in the Ballpark, But Often Off Base," Barna Research Online, July 12, 2000).
     We might expect religious people to have at least some acquaintance with the Gospels—the first four books of the New Testament. But a September 1997 study by the Princeton Religious Research Center showed that 63 percent of Americans could not name all four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
     Author Gary M. Burge pointed out that one-third of incoming freshmen at a religiously based college "could not identify Matthew as an apostle from a list of New Testament names" ("The Greatest Story Never Read," Christianity Today, August 9, 1999, p. 45). Burge went on to emphasize the Bible's importance for discerning truth from error. "To disregard this resource—to neglect the Bible—is to remove the chief authority on which our faith is built. We are left vulnerable, unable to check the teachings of those who invite us to follow, incapable of charting a true course past siren voices calling from treacherous islands such as TV programs, popular books, and enchanting prophecies displayed on colorful Web sites. I am amazed at the number of times mature Christians have come to me bearing ideas discovered in some spiritual flea market, ideas about the Spirit or prayer or eschatology or prosperity that flatly contradict the plain teaching of the Bible."
     He is right! We need the trunk of the tree—the sound, foundational truths of Scripture! None of us should be way out on the twigs of the tree, blown about by "every wind of doctrine"—as the Apostle Paul warned in Ephesians 4:14. The solution to the problem is obvious—one must read the book! When was the last time you opened your Bible? According to the above Gallup poll, 41 percent of Americans say that they rarely or never read the Bible. Only 16 percent say that they read the Bible every day. We all should read the Bible every day. Bible truths and Bible knowledge contribute to sound mindedness—and the world desperately needs men, women and children of wholesome character and sound mental health!
     How can you reap the treasures contained in the Bible? Speaking of true knowledge, the Bible states: "If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:4-6).
     How can we unlock the treasures kept in this wonderful book? Let us examine seven basic principles that should help you better understand your Bible, and grasp more clearly the amazing plan the Creator God has for all humanity—how you can have joy and happiness in this life and for all eternity.

Principle 1 — The Bible Is a Complete Book

     Many cannot truly understand the Bible because they throw out 77 percent of it. They ignore, reject or even despise the first 39 books of the Bible called the Old Testament. When Jesus quoted scripture, it was from the Old Testament. You may recall that in His tremendous spiritual battle with Satan the devil, Jesus said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God'" (Luke 4:4). Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3! You and I, like Jesus Christ, must learn to live by every word of God, if we are to be happy in this life and throughout eternity!
     Writing to the young evangelist Timothy, the Apostle Paul spoke of the genuine faith that was in him, and also in his mother and grandmother. Paul encouraged Timothy 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" (2 Timothy 3:15). Timothy had been taught the Scriptures from childhood—but what were those Scriptures? They were what we today call the 39 books of our "Old Testament." The New Testament was not complete when Timothy was a child. So the Apostle Paul plainly stated that Timothy had understood salvation through faith by reading the Old Testament and accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior!
     Yes, the Bible is a complete book! And just as we must not reject any part of Scripture, neither must we add to it our own ideas, as do some who call themselves prophets or even claim that their message is a hidden part of Scripture itself! God gave a sobering warning: "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18-19).
     Even Jesus Christ's two "great commandments" had first been taught under His inspiration in the Old Testament. The first great commandment—to love God with all our heart, soul and strength—was given in Deuteronomy 6:5. And the second great commandment—to love your neighbor as yourself—quoted Leviticus 19:18. These key New Testament teachings came from Old Testament scriptures! These are commandments of God.
     So you cannot understand the truth of God and the plan of God unless you study the whole Bible as the Word of God. As Paul wrote to Timothy, "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" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Or as the NIV translation accurately renders it, "All Scripture is God-breathed."

Principle 2 — The Bible Is Always Relevant

     Many believe that since the Bible was completed approximately 1,900 years ago, it cannot be relevant for us today. But as we have demonstrated in article after article in this magazine, not only is the Bible relevant for today, but its prophecies reveal the near future as well as humanity's incredible destiny. Through it we learn the good news that the earth will not be destroyed by man's evils, because Jesus Christ will return to save humanity from itself. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is always relevant. Jesus said, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).
     Not only have biblical accounts of history been proven accurate again and again, and its prophecies sure, but the Bible's practical advice remains as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. Human nature has not changed! The book of Proverbs gives sound principles of human conduct, and the Psalms speak to human emotions, with every bit of the effectiveness today as when they were first written! Every word of God has some application in our lives today.
     Whether or not we have actually considered the Bible relevant enough to read, most of us own at least one copy. Barna Research Online reported that in 1993, "among households which own a Bible, the typical count is three Bibles per household," and that "almost every household in America (92 percent) owns at least one copy of the Christian Bible. This includes most homes in which the adults are not practicing Christians as well as the home of hundreds of thousands of atheists."
     If there are any atheists reading this article, I challenge you to open your Bible and simply read it! I expect you will be amazed at the plain, solid, principles and precepts of successful living that you will find. Just start reading the book of Matthew and the other three witnesses (Mark, Luke and John). Read their eyewitness testimony and evidence with an open mind! And for those households with three Bibles or more, encourage every member of your family to read the Bible. It can profoundly change your life for the better, as you immerse yourself in its history, eternal truths and practical advice!

Principle 3 — The Bible Interprets the Bible

     This is an extremely important principle, though rarely understood. More than 25 percent of the Bible is prophecy—and it is often expressed using symbolic language. The books of Daniel and Revelation contain much symbolic language. How can you understand it?
     Look at one example in the first chapter of Revelation. "He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength" (Revelation 1:16). But how should we understand this description of the glorified Messiah, the Son of Man, standing amidst seven lampstands, holding seven stars? What do these images symbolize? We need not guess; the Bible itself explains the meaning just four verses later. "The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches" (Revelation 1:20). In Bible symbolism, stars are angels—and lampstands are churches. If a symbolic word is not clear, look elsewhere in the Bible for its meaning. This leads us to the next principle.

Principle 4 — Study All the Scriptures on One Topic

     Ministers and religious teachers who fail to do this often end up teaching false and misleading doctrines. For example, some teach falsely that God's grace does away with a Christian's obligation to obey the Ten Commandments and the moral precepts of God's law. Yet when we read all the scriptures on this topic, the truth is plain.
     Grace is God's gift through Jesus Christ. After genuine repentance, and faith toward Christ's sacrifice, God forgives us of sin. He extends unearned, unmerited forgiveness, favor and pardon. That is God's grace. But can one then live a life of rampant sin and blatantly disobey one's Savior? Not at all! Jesus said plainly: "But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17). Jesus then went on to mention several of the Ten Commandments. The Bible does not contradict itself. God's grace does not grant permission to transgress God's law. The Apostle Jude warned of false teachers who would "change the grace of our God into a license for immorality" (NIV). As the Anchor Bible Dictionary states, "Paul clarified that God's grace brings liberty from sin and not liberty to sin" ("Antinomianism," Vol. 1, p. 263). Romans 6:1-2 also makes this point.
     As another example, some take Ephesians 2:15 as an excuse to abolish God's Ten Commandments and the moral law. But actually this verse is speaking of "dogma"—in this case man—made laws that caused division between Jew and Gentile. Remember the principle of studying all the references on one topic. If we read Ephesians 2:15 apart from the rest of the Bible, we could come to a wrong conclusion.
     Note this comment from the NIV Study Bible (emphasis ours): "Since Mt. 5:17 and Ro. 3:31 teach that God's moral standard expressed in the OT law is not changed by the coming of Christ, what is abolished here is probably the effect of the specific 'commandments and regulations' in separating Jews from Gentiles, whose nonobservance of the Jewish law renders them ritually unclean." This comment and its approach are consistent with Principle 1 discussed above—that the Bible is a complete book. Study the scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments of your Bible.

Principle 5 — Understand the Context

     Read all the scriptures around any particular verse you are studying. For example, some cite Acts 15, the Jerusalem conference, as evidence for abolishing the Ten Commandments. Notice the decision pronounced by the Apostle James: "Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood" (Acts 15:19-20).
     But what does this prohibition mean in context? When the Apostles specified these four prohibitions, were the Gentiles freed to sin in other ways? Were they freed to transgress the commandments that say "you shall not kill?" or "you shall not have other gods before the true God"? Of course not! The Apostles in no way abrogated the moral law of God. To understand the Jerusalem conference, we need to read these verses in context. What were the Apostles deciding at the conference? Scripture explains: "And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved'" (Acts 15:1). The issue was circumcision. The conference determined that Gentiles need not be circumcised to be saved. Later the Apostle Paul wrote to the Gentiles in Corinth: "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters" (1 Corinthians 7:19).
     As Gary Burge wrote in his Christianity Today article, "Historical exegesis is fast becoming a lost art in the pulpit. Rather than explaining the historical setting of the passage, texts become springboards for devotional reflection. Biblical passages are taken out of context as the preacher searches for those stories that evoke the responses or attitudes desired" (Burge, p. 45). We must not make that mistake when we study the Bible!

Principle 6 — Prove All Things

     Teachers and ministers may preach many wonderful-sounding doctrines, but we must not blindly accept what we are told. Scripture instructs us to check for ourselves. "Test all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Or as the King James Version puts it, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." The Bereans were commended for their positive and investigative attitude in reading the scriptures. "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).
     One way to test, or prove, the Bible is to practice its principles and precepts. Jesus emphasized that one must live by the Bible, by "every word of God." He asked those who would seek to be His followers: "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). If we do what Jesus Christ said, we can have a good understanding. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments" (Psalm 111:10)
     The Bible is a treasure book of spiritual truth and knowledge. But one must seek out its nuggets of knowledge. You can enrich your life immeasurably, if you rely on this revealed instruction book given by God Almighty to human beings made in His own image. Many have proved, from its effect on their own lives, that the Bible is the written Word of God. As Abraham Lincoln once stated, "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book" (Halley's Bible Handbook, p. 18).

Principle 7 — Pray for Understanding

     God is the great Educator. And Jesus Christ is the Master Teacher. The Bible is divine revelation to all humanity, and it emphasizes that we need a teachable attitude. The New Testament book of Acts reminds us that ancient King David was a man after God's own heart (cf. Acts 13:22). Notice David's teachable attitude in praying for understanding. "Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day" (Psalm 25:4-5).
     Pray for understanding as you read and study your Bible. Pray for guidance. God blesses those who respect the scriptures, who reverence His holy Word. "But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:2).
     The Bible is the most important book in the world. If you have neglected reading the Bible, now is the time to make a change. Those who neglect the Bible are missing out on the most exciting and mind-expanding information the world has ever known! Not only can your life be enriched with understanding and inspired living, but you can even understand the future and your incredible human potential and destiny! I urge you to find your Bible, wherever it may be stored away. Begin reading in the book of Matthew. If your attitude is right, you will be greatly blessed and your life will be changed. As Jesus said, "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). You may
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     The Bible is not only a book for today, but it is also the book of the future. As Jesus said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Luke 21:33). Thank God, that He has shared with us the truth and purpose of life. Keep studying your Bible and you will continue to learn amazing truths about your Savior and His plans for your life and your future in tomorrow's world—and in eternity!

                Principles of Interpretation

2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.                       

As we study the Word of God, we should apply both the spiritual and literal principles of interpretation. The spiritual principles include prayer                                      Psalms 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. cleansing                                1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. and the illumination by the Holy Spirit                                 1Corinthians 2:12~16 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The Principle of literally understanding Scripture is to interpret it according to:

(1.) the mind of the author

(2.) its historical background

(3.) the context of the passage

(4.) the basic rules of grammer

Joshua was promised success if he meditated on the law Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. and he won that success when he conquered the kings of Canaan. As a disciple of Moses, and as one who had a personal relationship with God, he could interprete the law of God and understand the Will of God for his life.

If we desire the Will of God in our lives, we must regularly and systematically interprete the Word of God according to its proper meaning.

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