The Beginner’s Introduction to the Bible (Part 2)
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The first statement I would like to make for your consideration is that The Bible was written BY Jews, For Jews, To Jews and About Jews. The only exceptions are the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13). Paul was also a Jew and he would always go to the Jews first when traveling on a missionary journey, but his message was given to him by the RISEN CHRIST for the time we now live in. This time is known as “The Age of Grace.” I will go into more detail about this a little later so don’t let it trip you up or confuse you at this point. It will become clearer as we go.
There are several keys to learning Scripture, and how to study it and what it means. One of the major keys is in the first book, the first chapter and the first verse! “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). From this we find out right up front that God created two different spheres and we will learn a little later that he has a program for each of these areas. The funny thing is most people, including most Christians, are unaware of this important fact. The reason is, except for Paul’s epistles, the whole rest of the Bible is only about one of these spheres, namely, the earthly program which was To, For and About the Jews!!
God had a program for the Heavenly sphere, but He kept it a secret, until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul, after the earthly ministry and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, through the heavenly ministry of the Risen Christ, after His crucifixion. Again, if you are unfamiliar with the crucifixion, we will talk more about that shortly.
At this point I think it might be good to offer some logical and common sense rules for studying God’s Word, since hopefully you will soon be reading and studying it for yourself.
The first rule is to ascertain who is speaking? Now before I go any further I might state that The whole Bible was acutually written by God, the Holy Spirit, but it was penned by about 40 different men (Jews) over a period of about 1500 years, and since several of these men penned more than one book, there are a total of 66 books in the volume of books called the Bible. Now some of these men were prophets, some were apostles, some were chosen by God such as Moses, to whom the Law was given. In any case, however, the interesting thing about the Bible is that even though it was written by so many different human authors guided by the Holy Spirit, you will not find (if you.study the Bible properly) any contradictions or errors whatsoever in its pages–none, nada, zip.
The second rule is Who are they speaking to?In other words, are they talking to Jews, Gentiles, both, or to an individual? This is very important since many people don’t take this into consideration when studying the Bible and therefore try to make things apply to themselves, that DO NOT apply. It is like reading someone else’s mail and trying to make letters and information to and for someone else apply to you. For example, Joe’s girlfriend writes to him and tells him she loves him, but since you are reading his mail you
believe what she is saying applies to you, and you now believe that she loves you instead! The fact is however she was not writing or speaking to you!
The third rule is What are they speaking about? As you can see from the above example, her love for Joe might be all well and good and it might be good for you to know about it, especially since you may be thinking of asking her out, but now you know you had better reconsider as she already has someone else in her life.
The next thing you need to keep in mind is to keep what you read in context and in chronologic order. The Bible is quite an orderly book; however, some books overlap, and some actually were not written in the order in which they appear in the Bible. Therefore, consider the order and context when studying and reading God’s Word.