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Why Bother with the Bible? (Part 2 of 6)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
December 6, 2021 3:00 am

Why Bother with the Bible? (Part 2 of 6)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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December 6, 2021 3:00 am

The Bible is unlike any book that’s ever been written. God’s Word speaks directly to our circumstances and reveals our deepest needs. But how can we properly understand and interpret Scripture? Hear the answer on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Alistair Begg
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The Bible is unlike any book that's ever been more than a remarkable piece of historic literature.

It is the word of God, and it speaks to our circumstances reveals our greatest needs. Today, untruthful life. Alastair Meg explains how to understand and interpret Scripture for that.

He takes us to second Timothy chapter 3 verse 14 wrote this Bible while ultimately God wrote the Bible but mangled by BB Warfield in a very helpful quote says if God wishes to give the people a series of lectures like walls, he prepares up all to write them and the Paul he brought to the task was up all who could spontaneously write such letters.

But here's the issue.

The church did not write the Bible prophets and apostles wrote the word to the people of God and the reliability of what the road lies in the fact that behind then is the work of the Holy Spirit. And this is the reason why the church has no right to rewrite what God has written in the Scriptures, God was and is speaking to us. If you want to listen to God will open your Bible, the safest way to hear God speak is to read your Bible and be aware of every other notion about how you're going to hear from God. The mystical ideas that have come out of the dark centuries were understandably so, when they didn't have a Bible to guide them and to keep them.

They came up with all kinds of notion I warned you that some of the craziest people you will ever meet. Are the people who have decided that the Bible is insufficient for them when it comes to hearing from God and some of the bypass Meadows of contemporary evangelicalism are directly related to a willingness to listen to books, no matter how influential the author may be, which suggests that the answer to your request is to be found over here in a corner somewhere listening for something finding out where God is going finding out what God is doing, my dear, for anyone to know where he's going and what he's doing, read your Bible see what is so important in this, incidentally, is the importance of the sermon is not that is going to come and listen to somebody pontificate something.

It is $0.10 worth of information that is gleaned a few ideas a couple of jokes and illustration how do you do what's the point in that. I have no interest in that I have no interest in being a servant to that kind of objective to be made. The vehicle of God's truth through the Bible to be simply a servant to be underneath it to be holy in one's hand to be offering it afresh, something very different in this. Incidentally, answers the question that I get all the time.

Could we have a service but all we do is saying no, why not think about what God has to say to us is much more important than what we have, to say to him, and indeed we have nothing to say to until first, we have had from indicting the new passing is one of the reasons why. Perhaps our whole approach to the study of the Bible and the praise is is upside down traditionally so little comes after having Herod from him. We are talking to him before he speaks to what Sue presupposes that we been listening every day of the week but if we haven't done we arrive, cold, uneducated, uninspired, and are exhorted to praise a god with whom we have spent no time in the preceding seven day is why the hymn writer says does what I know of the my Lord and God that fills my life with praise my lips with some what I know of you fills my heart with praise my lips with some three understand the context in which I answered no to the quest. What is the Bible is a collection of books is like no other book who wrote it while it has a jewel of authorship. Thirdly, how are we supposed to understand.

Let me give you an answer in one word properly. The Bible does not have a special esoteric spiritual meaning which can only be gleaned by setting aside the plain grammatical and historical sense, you find people in this all the time they pop up and Bible studies all over the place. While I believe that what this is saying is because I do such and such and so on is a will is in stark contrast. Maybe make a cup of coffee or something just sit over there in the corner for a little while we'll come back to you. Maybe.

But right now our concern here is to understand the Bible properly were not really interested in what it means to you and if you've been reading your Bible during the week say why got nothing out of it because he didn't mean anything to me what you expect to happen to me if you're reading the book of Leviticus. What do you really think is supposed to happen what it's about.

You need to stand back from it is like certain paintings you can see them up close.

You have to take them in the process. And when you stand back and you realize what God is conveying of his holiness and of his power, and of his grandeur and pointed into the nature of substitution and sacrifice, and suddenly all these elements begin to take on form great harm. You see has been done and continues to be done by those who claim infallibility for dubious, often eccentric interpretations of the Bible and again these people bones that bounce in the places all the time. I give you one illustration from from of all, two Samuel 913_the verse four union turned to is not important, but the verse reads soma for the Sheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he did eat continually at the King's table and was lame in both his feet.

The preacher announces that as his text and then he preaches are now a sermon. The outline of which was as follows .1. This verse speaks to the issue of human depravity because my finger Sheth was lame point to this verse addresses total depravity because we can see that he was lame in both feet .3. This verse addresses the issue of justification because we are told that the figure Sheth dwelt in Jerusalem. Fourthly, this teaches as the doctrine of adoption. Inasmuch as the figure Sheth sat at the King's table and fifthly it teaches as the doctrine of perseverance in that the figure Sheth sat at the King's table continually know if you were to come here and hear a sermon like that from me or from any one of my colleagues the best thing you do is grab your Bible and run for your life because I careful reading of the passage would make it clear that what we're being told there is that David is loving and he's kind and that's what that verse tells us, not that he was his lameness was a picture of this and this 2 feet with a picture of that. And Jerusalem was a picture of this and so on, everywhere you go you will find people that want to distract you with that kind of information.

That's why it's so important that I tell you how you need to understand the Bible. The reason that people make those applications is simply because they refuse to accept that the plain meaning of a passage is the plain meaning of a passage that unprepared to accept the main things of the plain things in the plain things are the main things and they have the idea that the plain meaning must always defer to some hidden spiritual interpretation, incidentally, that is why you can write a book that is fairly true and straightforward and only 10 people buy it and read it and those are all members of your family or you can write a book that takes a notion spends it into an interesting dimension Andrew retire in the islands. What because of the perversity of the human mind the idea that perhaps in this secret notion in this strange meaning in this little idea that is the answer to spiritual fitness same way that people are plugged into their televisions every afternoon listening to anybody who will get on there and tell them there is an easy answer to the complexities of your life. Simply plug this in. And the arm made vastly rich because of the longing of the human heart if you tell the person if you want to look like this. It will take this and this and that will take this effort in Saunders.

I don't have time for the pain. I don't have time for the pain. What I lame and because I have to end my time is gone by saying that the way to avoid that kind of foolishness in interpretation and application is to keep certain principles before you, and let me just give them to you quickly. Number one you going to interpret the Bible.

The answer is not. Let's go and see what the pastor has to say pastors are being given. Ephesians 411 and 12 source source to help in the process of edifying the saints, we have a unique role we understand, but we are not priests and popes and potentates were just learners from the one who knows the answers we we we have been given the privilege of spending our time to do more study than others have done, and to unearth the plane teaching of Scripture. But not in such a way that would then deprive the individual Christian all of the necessary endeavors on their own subscription is to be interpreted on the basis of the straightforward sense of the passage. The way to interpret a passage is on the basis of it. Straightforward sense in order to do that you have to interpreted first. According to its original meaning, according to his original meaning. So Paul writes to the Corinthians.

At a certain point in time at a certain place a certain latitude and long that you we must first understand the historical context to which he writes in Corinth before we start making application here in Cleveland. If you go immediately to application in Cleveland without first understanding why Corinth and you can make the Bible say just about anything you wanted to. If you're going to interpreted according to his straightforward sense.

Not only do you have to pay attention to his original meaning we have to pay attention to his literary form its literary form. I my reading .3 or pros. My dealing with a parable and I dealing with history and my dealing with allegory. My dealing with a metaphor with a simile because it makes a difference doesn't two Chronicle 69 speaks of the eyes of the Lord, ranging to and fro throughout their unless you understand that is a figure of speech that it is a metaphor that you will inevitably conclude the two great cosmic eyes scan the globe intermittently and that somewhere. Another out in the solar system.

There are two gigantic eyes looking all around. Is that what it is, say, a personal I'm taking the Bible literally. Therefore, yes, it is my different you're taking the Bible literalistic lay to take the Bible literally is to take it in the genre in which it is conveyed and this is clearly a metaphor what it is teaching is the omniscience of God. It is a picture to convey a truth as a first point Scripture has to be interpreted according to straightforward meaning.

Secondly, Scripture needs to be interpreted by Scripture. There is a harmony to the Bible, there is a unity to the Bible, there is a self consistency to the Bible that you would expect given a single divine author and when you interpret Scripture with Scripture you need to interpreted according to the purpose of Scripture.

What is the purpose of Scripture or come to this. Eventually he says to Timothy as a young man he says you should be paying attention to all these things you should be thankful that you known the Bible for a very long time. The Bible, which is able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. What is the purpose of the Bible is to make men and women wise under salvation is not a book about astronomy in a scientific textbook. The booklet is been written to make us wise for salvation, so we should be very very careful. Then about trying to extrapolate scientific terminology and deductions from the book does not have that is expressed and we need to understand a passage or a writer in relationship to the purpose. I can illustrate this for you easily. People come to me from time to time the civil life on a contradiction between James and and Paul, I know what policies it is all grace and I was reading James read his little five chapter think and it seems to me that he saves all works is an obvious contradiction. While it is an apparent contradiction to you interpret Scripture with Scripture and in doing so, you acknowledge the fact that you have to understand the purpose of the writer.

What is the purpose of James in writing his letter is to address a group of people who are going around saying my morality and my social involvement is irrelevant. All that matters is that I have faith in Jesus and James writes to them to say you better be very careful of us stare while faith you show me your faith without works and I will show you faith with works so he's addressing people who are tempted to say. All I have to do is believe in Jesus or nothing matters. He says oh yes, everything doesn't matter if you're a snob you call in question your commitment to a humble Christ.

If you simply say be warm and do nothing to help.

Then you apparently haven't understood what it means to prepare your enemies and allow those who despise you.

But when Paul writes to the Galatians he's writing to a group of people who have the exact opposite problem. He's writing to a group of people who are so convinced that on the basis of their own good works and their own good deeds there made acceptable to God.

They keep themselves going by what they do and Paul writes this is not what you do that matters is the grace of God that might know how you understand according to the purpose of each writer and therefore it's obvious that you need to interpret other passages in the light of passages that deal with the same thing you see a difficult part and you look elsewhere in the book to see if it's the same issue is dealt with in a way that is easier to understand. You understand that you do it all the time in a textbook and also as I said earlier interpret the earlier, in light of the later and the fuller the New Testament interprets the Old Testament and the epistles interpret the gospel were about have this movie come out a movie on Jesus as our trailers for this week powerful description of the passion of Christ horribly brutal and gory, and disgraceful in every aspect. If it stays it it is it will never have any English text and it will all be in Aramaic ever will be totally unintelligible. Therefore, the viewing audience will only have the opportunity of gazing at this atrocity and making deductions will be a problem course would be a problem to be the same problem of reading the Gospels are never going on to read the epistles because in the Gospels, it is clear that Christ died, but it is really only in the epistles that it becomes perfectly clear why Christ died that he died for our sin and that he died for our sins according to the Scriptures, according to what scriptures according to the Old Testament Scriptures so you read Peter and he says Christ died reason we know that I saw in the gospel he died for our sins, or that explains and he did so, according to the Scriptures, will that make sense of Isaiah.

That's why he was saying he was led like a lamb to the slaughter as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, he never opened his mouth. He was wounded for our transgressions, and he was bruised for our iniquities in the chastisement that brought us peace was upon him. I read that I had no clue what it meant. I saw it in the Gospels and I wonder perhaps this is how it fits and then I read the epistles in the epistles of Christ died got it for our sins understand according to the Scriptures and suddenly reading from the back to the front it begins to make sense to statements and I'm done.

One ultimately the Bible can only be interpreted for us by the Holy Spirit because true understanding is not natural to us. Milner is right when he says what we understand of God's truth is related less to the capacity of our brain than to the extent of our obedience. What we learn of God's truth is related less to the capacity of our brains than to the extent of our obedience and that my dear friends, is why it is that a young Christian begins to lack this older believer because the older believer, thinking that they simply sit on the pew and flatten out the pristine air over time, never taking seriously the Bible never absorbing its truth, never applying into their lives and suddenly this young believer comes along and are so crazy to think you know if you go to the morning service. Presumably you go to the evening service to after all God's word is preached, and apparently you do what the Bible says, yet you believe in, you get baptized. Let's get baptized and apparently the people got baptized, they join the fellowship concerning to join the project and he got involved in the read their Bibles and suddenly there laughing you and your saying why is it that there are way ahead of me know what it is because is not directly related to the length of time you sat listening to sermons or the length of time that I have preached sermons. But it is directly related to the obedience of my and my friends. That's why it's so important and finally for the understand the Bible. We need to recognize that it needs to be interpreted dynamically, dynamically, there is a dynamism to look at the passage and we understand it what it meant in its own time considered in the light of its surrounding context. We placed it in the in the framework of the whole purpose of Scripture and then and only then did we ask what is this mean in my life and in my family and in my congregation in my church, and in my culture in the Scriptures, God was and is speaking to us, which then goes part of the way to answering the question, why bother with the Bible, will answer more fully from Paul's insights here in two Timothy three when we returned. That is Alastair big country for life with a message titled why bother.

The Bible will hear more of the topic tomorrow.

Please keep listening Alistair's good to be back in just a minute to close today's program with prayer. It is a great privilege for us to be able to open the Scriptures with you every day here in Truth for Life.

This program is possible because of generous support that comes from blisters like you Truth for Life is 100% listener funded. In fact, your financial partnership not only takes care of the cost of this daily program, but you're giving is what makes Alistair's entire teaching library free to access and share by people all around the world.

So as we are moving toward the end of 20, 21, we want to ask you to reach out to us make a one time end of your donation. This will help us move into 2022 ready to press forward to serve you with another year of ministry. It's easy to donate online at or you can call us at 888-588-7884 and you can donate by phone and when you give. We want to say thank you by inviting you to request a copy of the book titled Spurgeon on the power of Scripture.

This is a collection of seven compelling sermons preached by Charles Spurgeon. It's a great supplement to our current series. The content in this book will strengthen your confidence in the authority of the Bible. Again, you can give and request Spurgeon on the power of now, here's Alastair with the closing prayer God our father, we thank you that you have spoken, and therefore as a result of that we are enabled by your grace to respond. We thank you for the Bible that it is a lamp that shines on our feet. It's a light, which opens up our path that the entrance that brings light to us. We pray that you will shine your light into our lives so that in understanding its purpose to make is wise to salvation.

You may understand that we are in need of that salvation in need of this Jesus to die on our behalf in order that we might be forgiven and then in embracing him and in bowing before his Lordship that we might be thoroughly equipped for every good work. We long desperately father that were not simply a group of people who are stoked by an interest in the Bible, but that we are stirred by your spirit as we read the Bible that you will make as a people of the book and then a people of Christ to people that live to proclaim your wonderful grace, having called us from darkness into your terrific light. May the love of the Lord Jesus draws to him the joy of Jesus fill our hearts the peace of Jesus garden keep our minds. We pray in his precious name. Amen Bob the peen God's word is clearly more than just words printed on the page, but have you ever ask yourself what's the Bible really for. Join us tomorrow is Alastair answers that question and then leads us to an even greater question Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by truth or lying with the Learning is for Living

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