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Of The Spirit of God
A Study in Scriptural Integrity:
Understanding the Things of God
In these studies on scriptural integrity, our mission will be to find keys on how the scriptures convey their meaning, for we believe that as originally given, they were inerrant and explained themselves.
We at Free Christian Ministry believe that God's Word, as it was first given, did not contain the contradictions many of today's translations seem to have. We believe that in the languages first used, many passages that today are difficult to understand were readily obvious in meaning. The hard to understand passages were clear to those who spoke the language and who also wanted to see.
We also believe that the full meaning of scripture is available to all of God's people today. We believe this in part because in Psalm 100 the Scriptures report that His truth endures to all generations. And we believe that through a relatively small commitment of time and resources, one seriously interested in finding out what the scriptures really meant when they were first written can still know.
Such a seeker can begin to recognize the intended meaning of scripture through learning and recognizing a few simple and logical keys, as long as they couple these keys with prayer to the Author.
This class will endeavor to point out for the student of God's Word these keys.
These keys we will show you are not keys that "were revealed" in these later days at a matter of God's convenience. They are firm foundations of spirituality that were revealed in the giving of Scripture, coupled with insight regarding the use of language as it pertained to scriptural usage.
We will show you some of the basic keys displayed in the Word of God itself, that are clear both in ancient Greek and Hebrew and in modern English.
We hope to help you better understand the origins of Scripture, not that you may be a heady scholar of Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin and Greek (the original languages of the Bible,) but that you can better fellowship with God and with Christ, that you may be certain of the things you believe in as Christians.
For, your faith is not to stand in guesswork or in man's theology. It is to stand in the power and truth of God's Word. And God's Word is as living and real today as when it was first revealed to the prophets.
It is a Word that will reveal itself powerfully to the honest seeker, so that when all is said and done, your faith will not stand in the feeble attempt we at Free Christian Ministry will make to share nice things about religion. Your faith will stand in the very real relationship you have with Christ as your leader, and as Lord of your personal interaction with other Christians.
Your faith will stand in the real relationship, the real fellowship, that you have with God Almighty as YOUR Father and YOUR God.
And so, without further introduction, we say that the first key to Scriptural understanding is perhaps the simplest: Go to God in prayer for understanding.
It will not matter to you how accurate a class you do not believe is. It will not be good for you to accept the precepts of even the most accurate class on blind trust.
Thus, go to God. Better you trust one thing God Himself opens up to you than a 100% accurate class that you buy into only because you think "we're nice people."
Solomon read Scriptures, and went to the priests to hear preaching, but he received wisdom from God. Moses was given words from God to speak to Pharaoh. Luke had "understanding from above." Paul said what he received was not of men, but of Jesus Christ. John also received by "revelation of Jesus Christ."
"For This cause I bow my knees
Unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
"Of whom the whole family in heaven
And earth is named,
"That he would grant you,
According to the riches
Of his glory,
To be strengthened with might
By his Spirit
In the inner man;
"That Christ may dwell
In your hearts by faith;
Being rooted and grounded
"May be able to comprehend
With all saints
What is the breadth,
"And to know
The love of Christ,
Which passeth knowledge,
Might be filled
The fullness of God.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.
If there be no God, it would be understandable for the scriptures to make little sense, and to contain contradictions.
But if God is real, then it might make sense that the glue adhering all scripture together into a cohesive script is visible only to those with spiritual insight and God-given spiritual eyes.
"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."
I Corinthians 2:14
Men have problems with the accuracy of scripture for one reason.
They simply refuse to go to the Author of the scriptures. They will go to the blueprints of a building to defer to the architecture in adding to a construction. They will go to Ford in understanding tune-up specifications for an automobile.
But men and women often fail to ask the Author of the Scriptures in prayer for the sake of understanding their meaning and usage.
"Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
"Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
I Corinthians 2:6-10
We see from this section that the Scriptures are shrouded in mystery.
A mystery is something that is secretive outside the fold, outside the circle of those that are "perfect," which simply means, outside of those who are "mature."
(Perfect in verse six is "teleios" in the olden Greek texts, which means "ended" or "finished." It did not mean "without flaw.")
Mature Christians are selected to understand "mysteries."
Does that mean only those in a select priesthood might understand the scriptures in all fullness and richness?
It says that these mysteries were secrets to the princes of this world, those referred to as "the spirits that now worketh in the children of disobedience" in Ephesians 2:2, and "the rulers of the darkness of this world" in Ephesians 6:12.
But now his Spirit reveals it to EACH of us, as we go to Him. Now, not in olden time, but now.
"Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
"But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
"To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen."
It is God , to whom we pray, that can establish us; it is God the only Wise who commands mysteries to be made manifest. From God Only-Wise comes wisdom.
And this wisdom, containing these mysteries, has been preached to all nations. How?
It comes through the scriptures of the prophets.
Which scriptures does this wisdom come through, and which prophets now reveal these hidden things?
We read before that they were hidden prior to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Were they not then hidden, had they been known by the rulers of this world , the rulers never would have crucified Christ.
Then, these mysteries are revealed in the events portrayed in scripture after the crucifixion. Not before the crucifixion, but after.
There were certain hints of the mysteries spoken of from Genesis to Malachi, and even in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, that have only been revealed by the scripture of the prophets who came after the crucifixion of Christ.
The Spirit of God reveals to us wisdom. And the Scriptures pertaining to events after the crucifixion reveal certain mysteries kept hidden until then.
If these mysteries were then secrets, kept hidden then no one knew them.
Thus the Old Testament and the Gospels, which took place before the crucifixion, were often written in riddles and figures of speech. They were clear enough to be acted upon, but hid in parables and analogies many great truths.
To more clearly understand these riddles and figures of speech we must therefore interpret the Old Testament and Gospels according to the Scriptures given to Paul and the other epistle writers. We must go to Scriptures given regarding events that take place after the crucifixion, and regarding information given after Christ's ascension.
In other words we must focus our understanding in the light of Christ's resurrection.
We must become "Resurrection-Minded" in our understanding of all Scripture, knowing that the Glory of God to be revealed in us pivots upon the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
All Scripture from Genesis on forward help develop a tale of God's love, but it is in the Scriptures written to the Christian Church that the mysteries once shrouded in riddles and figures of speech become clear.
And after the Scriptures of the Bible were given, was any more given through the ages?
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
"Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
"As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
No other "great revealings" were given.
See? We can preach no other gospel, no other message. The fulcrum of Truth, the revelation of Mysteries, all centered on the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just as the Lord himself spoke in parables and riddles prior to his crucifixion, he then revealed his mission and nature fully to those who immediately followed.
Of course God can share wonderful truths with His people that aren't described in the Bible.
But anything that contradicts it or alters its message is a perversion of that gospel.
"For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
"For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Yes, Paul was the servant of Christ. And he spoke of encroachment by another gospel which was not another, but was a perversion of the gospel that he spoke and wrote of.
As students of the Scriptures, our first goal is to understand scripture as God intended, without the perversion of centuries of interpretation. This is true not only for ministers, but for "laymen" who wish to know the Scriptures more richly for themselves, to achieve a richer relationship with God and with Christ.
And yes, it is true for "ministers" to God's people who desire to provide richer service to God's people.
In this class Scriptural Integrity we will endeavor, by prayer and study, to come closer to first Century Christian teaching in our understanding, rather than relying on centuries of tradition.
In this class Scriptural Integrity we will pursue a course that will enrich our ability to understand for ourselves, rather than being spoon-fed ideas we have no way of verifying.
And in the end, when you are "finished," may you stand not in the wisdom of men, or of man's doctrine, but in the wisdom and power of God. No man will follow you after this class to see that you are practicing or believing "correctly," for you stand approved or disapproved only before the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and yours.
But as you work this material, embracing only that which you see is explained by Scripture, that God Himself works in your heart, you will see the miracle of how the Bible explains itself.
God bless you, and may God Himself grant you "enlightened eyes."
His servant in Christ,
R. Scott Stewart
Go To: Study Two