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How Shall We Interpret Scripture #3

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
June 28, 2022 8:00 am

How Shall We Interpret Scripture #3

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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June 28, 2022 8:00 am

Today, as Pastor Don Green continues teaching God's People God's Word, he'll bring us the 3rd, and final part of a message called -How Do We Interpret Scripture,- taking one last look at how we can benefit the most from the Bible, by learning to rightly divide the words contained in its the icon below to listen.

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Pay attention to context. Pay attention to other scripture.

Distinguish historic from didactic material. You're well down the road to be able to read the Bible profitably for yourself with a sense of confidence that, you know what, I think I'm getting it right here. Sometimes God's Word simply doesn't say or mean what we think it does, no matter how badly we might want it to. And by the end of today's lesson, you'll be thanking the Lord for that fact. Hello, I'm Bill Wright and welcome back to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green. Don is founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Today, as he continues teaching God's people God's Word, he'll bring us the third and final part of a message called How Do We Interpret Scripture, taking one last look at how we can benefit the most from the Bible.

By learning to rightly divide the words contained in its pages. Let's join Don now for today's lesson here on the Truth Pulpit. One of the things that people use to deny that repentance from sin is an integral part of the gospel message and of his saving response to Christ is this. They say, you know what, the Gospel of John does not use the word repentance.

And therefore, watch their logic on this, I'm not misrepresenting them. They say, therefore, since John was written to teach people how to come to Christ and he doesn't use the word repentance, therefore repentance is not part of the gospel. That is foolish because the other gospels have a lot to say. They're introduced on the premise, repent and believe in the gospel, Mark 1.15, Matthew 4.

And what do they do? They try to cut out, they try to ignore what the other gospels say about repentance by narrowing it down to the one gospel of John and saying this is the only thing that matters. And they pit one gospel against the other.

That's deplorable. You don't pit scripture against scripture, you take it as a totality and you say, how can we read these things in harmony? How can we read that particular thing in harmony?

John wrote 30 or 40 years after the three other gospels were completed. What they had said was established and so he's bringing out another dimension, another aspect of salvation that he wanted to emphasize. Not contradicting, not denying the totality of biblical teaching on repentance.

Well, if you would just interpret scripture in harmony with other scripture, you wouldn't make those kinds of errors. And so, you see, beloved, and here's the thing. As much as anything, I want to deepen your reverence and commitment to God's word.

I know that you come in here with that already in place. And what we're doing now is just digging a little bit deeper and making that go even further in your mind. We revere God's word, we fear God, we honor him, we respect him, we defer to the scriptures. To such an extent that we say, I respect scripture enough that I'm not going to manipulate one passage against another in order to achieve my theological objective. I'm going to defer to scripture and let it all speak equally because it all comes from God and therefore it all ought to be weighed before I make basic pronouncements about what the nature of salvation is. You see, your view of scripture starts to inform how you do these things. Now thirdly, this is the final principle for interpretation here today. There's a lot more, but these are just basic things to help you as you read the Bible for yourself. And understanding that for someone, if someone was going to get up and teach in our church, there would be a lot more that we would need to say. The goal here is for everyone to have some basics in place where you can read the Bible profitably for yourself.

That's my goal, that's why we're doing it this way today. Now I need to give you just a couple of more technical terms maybe. We said you pay attention to context, you pay attention to other scripture. Thirdly, this principle will do wonders for you. Distinguish between historical and didactic material.

That's a mouthful, I'll say it again. Distinguish between historical and didactic material. This is a very important point that is easy to miss. When we say historical, we're simply saying that there are parts of scripture that are designed to recount history and to give an accurate account of what actually happened. Didactic material is that material that is designed specifically to prescribe for us how we are to believe and to behave. Now, the message of scripture between historic and didactic, properly interpreted, is consistent with each other. But as you are reading scripture, you need to be mindful of the distinctions lest you make a very serious mistake. Some Bible books are primarily historical in nature.

Follow me. This is very important, but it's not all that technical really. The terms are technical, but what they're saying is obvious and easy to understand. The historical books are describing past actions of men and women in history. And so we have the twelve Old Testament books between Joshua and Esther in our English Bibles that we call the historical books. They're describing the history of what happened in the people of Israel from the time they crossed over into the Promised Land until Esther's queenship some 1,000 years later. Historical narrative. Watch this. I'm going to illustrate this.

This is going to be so easy and so obvious that it's all going to go on like a light bulb in your mind. Historical narrative may or may not be telling you what to believe or do. Its primary purpose is to record what happened.

You need to be careful about whether it's prescribing things for you to do or not. I'll give you an easy, undeniable example. And when you see how simple this is, a smile will light up your face. Genesis chapter 4 verse 8. Cain killed his brother Abel. That is a historic description account of what happened. Do you know what? It is not a commandment for you to go and do likewise to your siblings.

Right? It's describing an action that was wrong and sinful. But it described it accurately. But you understand that you shouldn't go out and kill your brother because Cain killed his.

Sometimes you just need the most basic thing to establish the principle to understand that. And so as we read the Old Testament, now, today, as New Testament believers, we understand that there are a lot of things that are recorded there that are in God's Word but that are not meant for us to go out and do ourselves. So we don't slay bulls as a sin offering. We don't shout hosannas to human kings of Israel.

Why do we not kill a bull? Because Christ was a sacrifice slain for our sins. And so the didactic portions of Scripture help us understand why we wouldn't repeat something that was done in the Old Testament. In like manner.

In like manner. Not everything that Jesus did in the gospels was something that we're supposed to do likewise. Jesus went to the cross and offered himself as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. That's not a prescription for us to go and do likewise. That's for us to believe and to receive. We're not supposed to go out and imitate everything that Jesus did. We're not supposed to go out and do miracles like Jesus did. We don't go and die on a cross like he did. Some of the things that Jesus did as a Jew, he did in a way to fulfill them so that we wouldn't have to. He fulfilled those ceremonies so that we wouldn't have to continue those and carry them over into our Christian life. Not everything he did is something that we are supposed to do ourselves. Some things he did to fulfill Scripture and to do it on our behalf so that we wouldn't have to.

Historic, you have to understand the nature of historic literature and be careful with the way that you handle it. Even if something seems righteous by something that they, by what a biblical character did, don't automatically say, therefore I must go and do this myself. Watch that.

Be careful. So many people go astray on that very point. Now, by contrast, other portions of Scripture are didactic. They are designed to prescribe what you are to believe and to do.

The epistles are especially this way. Look at 1 Corinthians 14. 1 Corinthians 14, verse 37.

Paul says, 1 Corinthians 14, verse 37. If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment. Paul says, what I am writing is authoritative.

This is what you must believe and do. He could say those things because he was an apostle of Christ. He was doing what Christ appointed him to do.

He spoke with the authority of Christ as an apostle of Christ. And so in these didactic portions, Paul is laying out, here is what you must believe, here is what you must do. And in thinking just to illustrate that, in 1 Corinthians 5, there was an immoral man in the assembly who had his father's wife. And Paul says, you've got to get rid of him.

Cast him out. Protect the purity of the church. 1 Timothy, chapter 3. I'm going to end this with an illustration that I think will be really helpful to you and encouraging to you. 1 Timothy, chapter 3, verse 14.

Somewhere down the road, a couple, three, four years down the road in our church, Lord willing, we'll have a whole class on hermeneutics and we'll do 10 or 12 weeks of this to really flesh all of this out. But this is enough to guide you to read Scripture profitably for yourself. 1 Timothy, chapter 3, verses 14 and 15. Paul says, I am writing these things to you.

Uh-oh. Remember, principle of context, purpose statements, your ears perk up when a writer says that. Why did you write these things, Paul?

In case I'm delayed, I write so that. Ah, so that could become some of the most precious words in all of Scripture for you. I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. Paul says, I am writing to tell you as a Christian how the church is to function.

This is not material that maybe we do or don't. Paul is saying this is authoritative. What I'm writing is binding on the church. That's because he's writing didactic material. And so, beloved, with those simple thoughts, pay attention to context, pay attention to other Scripture, distinguish historic from didactic material. You're well down the road to be able to read the Bible profitably for yourself with a sense of confidence that, you know what, I think I'm getting it right here. Now, I want to give you, as we close family time here, a true personal story that will illustrate all of these principles for you. We just finished the third session. It's hard for me to believe that.

I'd like to go for six more, but I won't. The amens were a lot softer on that one for those of you listening at home. A true personal story to illustrate this and to let you see how sweet, precious, and determinative these things are. The story that I'm about to tell you is why I went into ministry. It was that important and significant in my life.

And this is emotional to me because it shows the preciousness of God's Word. I had been a Christian for less than 30 days. I had no church. I had no Christian friends. I had no Christian books.

None. I had one Bible. And in the process of reading and all of that, my antennas started to come up for other Christians. I was attracted to, God brought providentially into my life. There was a Christian radio program on a secular rock network out of Indianapolis that I got connected to.

I think they broadcasted like midnight on Sunday. You know, it was some very late hour. And they played Christian rock music, which I don't recommend to you now, but I'm a newborn infant. In the words of Ezekiel, I'm still in all of the juices of new birth. No one had come to wash me up and to wrap me in clothes to get me started as even a baby Christian.

I was brand new. I knew nothing except that God's Word was true, and these people claimed to be Christians, and so they had my ear. And so I called them. I didn't know these guys. And they said, come up. Come up to the studio and be with us at our next studio show. And so I did that. They're broadcasting live. And I'm there and listening to them as they're doing the program that I had listened to.

And one of those guys there, I'm not going to be critical of him. I'm just going to tell you, this is historical, not didactic, okay? One of the two guys that was there asked me, he said, So, Don, do you have the gift of the Holy Spirit by which he met? Do you speak in tongues? And I said, and I didn't know anything about tongues at that point. The only thing that I knew was that my unsaved father hated that manifestation of spirituality, and that was the only thing that I had to go on. And I said, you know, my dad, who was not a believer, said that tongues were a bad thing.

That's all that I know. And he said, let me help you. He opened up his Bible.

That's impressive. And he turned to Acts 2, verse 4. He said, listen to what Scripture says. He says, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit was giving them utterance. He read Scripture and he closed it. And he said, you see, Don, you need to speak in tongues like we do.

Wow. You know, and I'm a brand new Christian. I'm in the juices of new birth.

I'm covered with blood, so to speak, because I'm such a new Christian. Something seemed wrong, but I didn't know what. But I knew that in my heart what I wanted was I wanted the truth.

I didn't care what the implications of it were. I just wanted the truth. But I had a hard time believing that what he had told me was true, but I had no ability to refute it as I stood there with him. So I drove home. It was a 50-mile drive home, which means it was a 50-mile drive to get there.

And I was driving home in a blinding blizzard from Indianapolis to Bloomington on Highway 37. And I'm thinking through these things, and I think at one point, see if anything came out. Nothing came out. And so I'm really confused, and I'm really concerned, and there's a lot at stake, because the future of my Christian life is at stake here. Something seemed wrong, and I didn't know what, and what did I do when I got home? I opened my Bible. And in the back of that Bible, which I no longer have, it's somewhere in the land of Russia right now, was a concordance. And I went to the concordance, and I just looked up tongues.

And it pointed me to 1 Corinthians 12, verse 30, where it says, All do not speak with tongues, do they? I immediately knew that that guy was mistaken. He was wrong, even though he had the radio show.

He had the audience. But he was wrong! You can't say that every Christian should speak in tongues when the Bible says not all speak with tongues, do they?

Expecting the answer, no, they don't. Now that incident illustrates many things. First of all, that incident illustrates why that man was in error.

He was in error because of what we just discussed right here. He was using historical biblical material to make a didactic point. Acts 2.4 is not designed to teach that every person should speak in tongues. We know that because elsewhere, when we compare Scripture with Scripture, we go to the didactic portions that says not everyone does.

So whatever else we say about tongues in the future, we know that it's not a command for everyone to do that. Watch this. Watch this bigger point, and you'll see why this is so precious to me. Embedded in that true story is the clarity of Scripture and the illumination of the Holy Spirit. I was a nobody.

I still am. But I was a nobody, three o'clock, alone in my single bedroom apartment in Bloomington, Indiana, and all I had was a Bible. And my heart was really disturbed about what I had just heard. And I opened up a Bible that is clear, that is known for, which is made by its perspicuity. It can be understood by the simplest of believers who are sincere in seeking the truth. And the Spirit of God enabled me to understand and to discern the truth on a major doctrinal point, just through the Bible. As a nobody believer in a nobody apartment in a nobody town, God's Word led me in the truth as the Spirit opened my understanding when I read it. I couldn't have explained anything about interpretation to you. I didn't have to know the things that we've discussed here in order for the Scriptures to guide me rightly in my Christian life.

You know what? That same reliable guidance is available to you as a believer as well. And maybe there's going to be different issues for you than it was for me, but that's how trustworthy Scripture is. That's how clear it is. That's how precious it is that someone of no account could open it and find the truth of God contained within it. In my story, it's not unique. Precious to me, but it's not the point.

It's just an illustration. God uses His clear Word to help His sincere people. People just like you can read His Word.

You can honor His Word, you can read it naturally with the confidence that God will give you understanding that will lead you in the true knowledge of Christ. That's precious. Will you be that Christian man, that Christian woman, that Christian young person just on the start of your life? Will you be that man that says, I'm going to trust this Word, I'm going to believe this Word, I'm going to protect this Word, I'm going to defend it, I'm going to teach it, I'm going to proclaim it, I'm going to treasure it.

It's the most precious thing that I have. Your words were found and I ate them. And your words became for me the delight and the joy of my heart because I have been called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts. Will you be that person? Blessing awaits you. Amen.

And may we all be that kind of person. Well, friend, you've been listening to The Truth Pulpit with our teacher, Don Green. Well, friend, if you'd like a copy of today's message, the entire series, or you'd like to find out more about this ministry, just go to

Again, that's Now, before we go, here's Don with a closing word of encouragement. Well, you know, my friends, as I'm recording this, I just preached from Psalm 136 that says over and over again that God's loving kindness is everlasting, and therefore we should give thanks to Him.

That's so true, my friend. You think about the Lord Jesus Christ and the loyal love that He showed to His people, loyal love in leaving heaven to come to earth, loyal love in living a perfect life, loyal love in laying that life down at the cross in order to pay for the sins of people like you and me, loyal love in keeping us by His Holy Spirit, loyal love in one day taking us to heaven. Oh, my friend, be encouraged by the love of Christ.

He is a loyal Savior to those that look to Him and a gracious Lord to all who submit to Him by faith in Jesus Christ. Thanks, Don. And friends, there'll be more from our series called Effective Bible Study next time. I'm Bill Wright inviting you to join us then as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word here on the Truth Toolkit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-29 04:23:44 / 2023-03-29 04:32:34 / 9

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