Saturday, December 1, 2012
Lesson 4 of Bible Interpretation
This lesson is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.
(My words in Red)
Rule 4: The Bible is a Progressive Revelation
We come now to the middle link in this chain of seven practical rules for studying God’s Holy Word. It is very appropriate that this link should be connecting the first three with the last three. We are finding that no one link is of less importance than any other; and, conversely, no one link is actually stronger than its mates! All are vital, and each has its own place in the Bible Interpretation chain. We pick up the notes as given by our beloved teacher:
Mark 4:28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
In Mark 4:28, Jesus gives the comparison from the realm of the natural—the seed sown first produces the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear. So with the Bible revelation: it is progressive.
Study the progression concerning prayer: In the Old Testament we find David, and others, praying three times a day, with their faces towards Jerusalem. Taken alone, we would follow this as an injunction, but there is much more:
Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
1Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
There is a time for regular prayer (three times a day); a time to enter into the closet (and shut the world out), but as believers we are to always be in “prayer communication,” no matter what we are doing. “Praying always…”
In other words never say “AMEN” in your own private prayer life!
The subject of the revelations which are progressively given throughout the entire Scripture is exceedingly broad in scope. From Genesis (4:26) to Revelation (14:6) there are literally hundreds of references on the agenda of PRAYER. That this must be treated as a “progressive revelation” seem clearly apparent. If it is not handled in this manner, what have we? Perhaps we would, like Abraham, pleading for the preservation of Sodom, try to always “bargain” with the Lord as the number required to persuade God to withhold judgement! Or, perhaps, like the so-called “Christian scientists” (neither Christian nor scientific), we would do away with all public prayers on the basis of Matthew 6:6. Or, if we isolate Revelation 5:8 from the rest of the Book, and consider only “golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints,” we would soon intrude into the formal worship with much incense, and allow the odor of the incense to do our praying for us. Or, if we take one thought from Romans 8:26, and center our supplication on the “groaning which cannot be uttered,” our prayer time would be a bedlam of miserable sounds (even though it says they “cannot be uttered”)!!!
How can the believer come to a proper balance in the understanding of prayer?...the posture?...the perseverance?...the pressure?...the perimeter? Only by recognizing that the Psalmists knew more about prayer than the Patriarchs; the Disciples than the Psalmists, and the New Testament church than the Disciples. The Epistles are our final authority on the subject of prayer.
How can we apply the truth, once we have examined this progression of revelation regarding prayer? We follow the teachings in the Epistles, and we use the prayers of the prophets for helpful instructions. We do not disregard any truth revealed in any part of the Book, but we align each teaching with how the truth is applied to believers in the Age of Grace. We need it all; and we learn the lesson in the light of the progressive revelation!
The Trinity: In the O.T., the Trinity is only intimated through the use of the plural noun, Elohim, and the plural pronouns (Us, Our, etc, Gen. 1:26,3:5, etc). But a declaration is made in the N.T. where only the intimation was made in the O.T. At the baptism of Jesus: He is in the water; The Holy Spirit is revealed as a dove; and the Father speaks from Heaven.
Study what is revealed about The Holy Spirit:
1. In the O.T., the Spirit came “upon” believers, and in a few instances, “filled” them; but in no case is it revealed that He abode with them in the sense of “indwelling”. It could then be rightly prayed:
Psalm 51:11 “…take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.”
Unmindful of the revelation concerning The Holy Spirit (which we are now in the process of studying in detail), many uninstructed believers live in fear that He shall be taken from them, and that, by His Departure, they will lose their salvation. Many equate the prayer of David under the Law with the terrible fact of the unpardonable sin. If this is your problem, what lies before you on the next pages is of inestimable value to you! Although it is true that The Holy Spirit can be “greived”, (Eph. 4:30); He can be “quenched”, that is, not given His rightful place in the local church assembly (1 Thess. 5:19); and He can be insulted, held in disdain—“…hath done despite to” (Heb. 10:29), He is never from any true believer! So PSALM 51:11 should never be included in the prayer of any child of God in this Age of Grace! To see why this is so, follow the progressive revelation concerning The Holy Spirit:
2. In the days of Christ’s flesh, He gave the disciples the privilege of receiving the Spirit by asking:
Luke 11:13 “…how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
Think of the difference it would have made in the lives of the disciples if they had been alert and responded to their Lord’s magnificent offer. But they were unaware of the Person of The Holy Spirit. (They were much more concerned about who would have the place of honor at the right hand and the left hand of the Lord when he would be seated on His throne during the coming Kingdom Age!) How much they missed because…
3. None of the disciples asked, so we read:
John 20:22 “…he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:”
which is the indwelling of the Spirit.
4. Then we read o the baptism and filling, in
Acts 2:1“…the day of Pentecost…4they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,…”
5. This is followed by
Acts 8:17 “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”
Here The Holy Spirit is given by the act of laying on of hands.
6. But, in Acts 10:44, we find The Holy Spirit is given immediately upon conversion without human aid.
Acts 10:44 “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”
7. Then, in Eph. 1:13, The Holy Spirit is given upon conversion, apart from human ceremony.
Eph. 1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
And that’s where we stand now!
This chapter will continue in my next post