Class Notes: 8/27/2008
2 Tim 2:15 The mandate to be dilligent in the study of the word continued...
In our study of the mandates of the PPOG we are continuing in our study of the mandate to be diligent in the study of the word of God found in 2Tim 2:15; where the word translated "diligent" is the aorist active imperative of the Greek word "spoudazo'.
Last time we saw that in Col 1:3-12; that the highest priority of the Christian way of life is Bible study and that the believer is unqualified and incapable of serving God without spiritual growth through Bible study.
Spiritual growth is made possible by a grace system of perception that is described in:
1Cor 2:4-14; My (Paul’s) message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power.
v 5- Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the sphere of the power of God.
v 6 - However, when among mature believers, we keep on teaching wisdom but a wisdom that does not belong to this age nor to the leaders of this world who are becoming ineffective;
v 7 - but we communicate wisdom from God in a mystery which mystery doctrine has been concealed and which God predesigned before the ages resulting in our glory.
v 8 - None of the rulers of cosmos diabolicus understood it for if they had known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
v 9 - as it stands written, "Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard (empiricism) and also doctrines which have not entered into the minds of men (rationalism) are those things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
v 10 But to us (believers filled with the Holy Spirit) God has revealed them through the Holy Spirit. The human spirit investigates all things, even the deep things of God.
v 11 For what man understands the things of man except man's spirit within him? Even so, the things of God no one has known except the Holy Spirit.
v 12 But we have not received the world's spirit (human viewpoint) but the human spirit from the source of God in order that we might have a permanent knowledge of things that have been graciously given to us by God.
v 13 Such divine wisdom we teach, not by teaching from the source of human wisdom but by teaching from the source of the Holy Spirit, bringing together spiritual things to a spiritual system.
1Cor 2:14; The soulish man (unbeliever with a soul but no human spirit) does not accept the things from the Holy Spirit for to him they are foolishness and he is not able to even acquire academic understanding because they are spiritually discerned.
This passage documents a grace system whereby the believer learns the Bible and retains its principles in his soul for application to life and circumstances.
The real teacher is the Holy Spirit who instructs the believer's human spirit, making supernatural information understandable for volitional consideration. Phil 2:13;
It is through this system that the Holy Spirit is able to teach the believer with positive volition the details about the will of God for their life. This results in the renovation of the soul.
The behaviors that were developed in their life as an unbeliever are slowly removed while those that define the Christian way of life are added and strengthened.
We have studied this before as the catabolism and anabolism of Spiritual Metabolism.
Rom 12:1; I urge you therefore fellow believers by grace blessings from the justice of God that you place your bodies under orders as a living, holy sacrifice. This is well-pleasing to our Lord-your rational and spiritual worship.
v 2 Also stop being molded to this age but be transformed by the renovation of your thought, in order that you may prove what the will of God is, namely the good, the well-pleasing, and the complete.
As this renovation proceeds in the soul, the Holy Spirit also stores information in the brain which serves as the hard disk for the soul. Commands for the believer to reject old behavior patterns, character traits, and lifestyles and to replace them with new ones are found throughout Scripture, but a key passage regarding this is:
Heb 12:13; - Be making straight paths (the Greek word "trochia": behavior patterns, character traits, and lifestyle based on biblical principles acquired through the three spiritual skills with emphasis on GASP) by means of your feet in order that the crippled one (the believer who is out of fellowship) might not again be dislocated (by involvement in sin, human good, & evil) but rather let it (the listless and disabled soul) be healed and restored.
In the transformation and renovation process volition begins to reject old behavior patterns, character traits, and lifestyle choices and begins to respond to the divine standards that are revealed through consistent Bible study.
During this process the believer can know what the right thing is but may not be able to do it when under pressure. This is because the behavior patterns developed as an unbeliever, or during a period of prolonged sin nature control of the soul as a believer, are still the paths of least resistance.
Until believers learn to overcome these trends from what God's Word commands they will continue to do the wrong thing even though they are aware of the right thing.
This describes a weak believer not a strong one. Paul follows up on his dissertation about the Grace Apparatus for Spiritual Perception "GASP" that we just saw in 1Cor 2:7-16; with the following comments in chapter 3:
1Cor 3:1 And I (Paul), fellow believers, could not speak to you as spiritual (filled with the Holy Spirit), but carnal (under the power of the sinful nature), even as babies (nepios) in Christ.
v 2 I have fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not able to take it in and you are not yet able to receive it now. v 3 -For you are still influenced by the OSN.
Without the filling of the Holy Spirit the believer is incapable of learning doctrine and thus will revert to the paths of least resistance which were established as an unbeliever or while in prolonged carnality or OSN control of the soul as a believer.
Recovery from this status under OSN control of the soul requires the inculcation of the basic doctrines described by Paul as "milk," the food of infants or small children.
He uses the Greek word "nepios” that means "without understanding," "impotent," "weak." "Nephios” is used to describe children from infancy up to puberty and is used metaphorically for those who are immature or foolish and for believers who are devoid of spiritual understanding.
The believers at Corinth were of this category and Paul makes it clear to them by his use of the word "nepios" in describing them. However, he comes close to placing himself in this category in Romans 7. where he describes himself as not being in a state of ignorance due to reversionism but as being in a struggle to overcome his own proclivities to do the wrong thing even when he knows the right thing.
Paul experienced this problem as he grew spiritually and it created a dilemma that he describes regarding himself in:
Rom 7:14-25; Consequently, we know, that the Law is spiritual but I am carnal, I am inclined toward the trends of the sinful nature, when I have been led astray by the authority of the sinful nature.
v 15 For what I continuously do, what persistently works its way out of me, I do not understand, for what I desire to do, these things I am not practicing, but what I detest, these things I keep on persistently doing.
v 16 Now if I keep persistently doing this thing which I do not desire to do, I agree with the Law that it is advantageous (in pointing out my error).
v 17 But as the case really stands, I am no longer habitually performing this thing but the sinful nature which keeps on living in me.
v 18 In fact, I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there does not reside any good of intrinsic value, for the habitual desire to do the will of God is present in me, but habitual divine-good production of my desire is not.
v 19 For the intrinsic good I habitually desire, I do not habitually do, but the evil which I do not habitually desire, this I presently practice.
v 20 Now if, as a result of my personal volitional decision, I am presently doing what I habitually do not desire to do, I am no longer the one persistently producing the sinful act but the sinful nature which continuously resides inside of me.
v 21 Consequently, I discover this principle, that when I habitually desire to habitually do the honorable thing, the law of evil continuously resides in me.
v 22 For along with other believers, I habitually delight in God's principles in the soul.
v 23 But I see a different kind of principle in my body parts laying siege in a campaign against the principle of my mind and so making me a continuous prisoner to the principle of the sinful nature which is located in my body parts.
v 24 I … a miserable person! Who will rescue me from the body of this death (the death related to the physical body having the OSN in it's cell structure and it's proclivities toward sin and human good)?
v 25 Grace belongs to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, on the one hand, with my mind I myself am obligated to comply with the principle of God but, on the other hand, with my flesh I myself impulsively capitulate to the principle of sin.
From this we can see that Paul had a behavior problem that could only be overcome by the dominance of Biblical thought in his soul which would overcome and suppress the former dominance of sin, human good, and evil.
Once he was able to do this he enjoyed a harmony of soul that enabled him to be at harmony with God and man. From a renovated soul He wrote the following to the Ephesians some three to five years after he wrote Romans:
Eph 5:6 Let no one seduce you by means of empty words (doctrines of demons) for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disbelief (in the Gospel).
v 7 Therefore, stop becoming partners with them.
v 8 For you were formerly in darkness (cosmic viewpoint of an unbeliever), but now in light (a believer with divine viewpoint) in the Lord. Keep on walking as children of the light
v 9 (For the fruit of the light (divine viewpoint) is intrinsic good, righteousness, and truth),
v 10 … putting to the test those things acceptable to God.
v 11 Stop being involved in the fruitless works of darkness but instead expose these fruitless works;
v 12 because it is presently and will ever be a disgrace to speak approvingly of the things which are accomplished by them in secret.
v 13 But all these things when exposed are made known by the agency of the light (the execution of biblical standards makes manifest the works of the flesh).
V 14 Therefore He says (quoting from Isaiah 26:19 cp. Romans 13:11), "Wake up (awareness of carnal status) you who are asleep (out of fellowship), get up (imperative for the acknowledgement of sins) from among the dead ones (quit imitating the lifestyle of the unbeliever) and Christ will shine (impute blessings) on you.
v 15 Therefore, be mindful how you walk, not as the unwise but as wise ones,
Eph 5:16; constantly redeeming your time (converting it into something of value), because the days (assigned to you) are evil (the plan of satan and the kosmos in opposition to the grace plan of God).
v 17 Because of this disposition, stop becoming unwise, but keep on understanding (imperative mood of the Greek word " sunesis" that is a positive command) what the content of the will of the Lord is.
This final verse is a command to the believer to "understand what the content of the will of the Lord is." This is accomplished on the one hand by rejecting the seductive words of the kosmic lie and on the other hand by taking in the light of the Word of God.
These passages of scripture contain directions regarding how the pastor is to teach and a series of commands directed to believers to make themselves available to that teaching.
The reason for this emphasis on spiritual growth is so that the believer can serve God from a willing mental attitude and with a soul filled with principles provided by God through His Word.
If we believe that the Bible is God's divine guidance for life and practice then we must seek to discover someone who does the best job he can to extract from the Scripture the most accurate interpretation possible. Such a person would need to subscribe to a system that enables him to efficiently translate the Bible in a way that brings order to one's spiritual growth, resolves "problem" passages, and amplifies the harmony of Scripture.
Over the history of the Church Age such a system has been hashed out after centuries of biblical research. Seminaries have been founded for the express purpose of teaching this system to budding pastors. The main objective of this system is to develop a clear and precise translation into the English (for us) of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that make up the Old and New Testaments.
Some of the essentials that would define this Systematic Theology are the eleven major subjects addressed in the Bible:
Theology (the study of God),
Bibliology (the study of the Bible or Canonicity),
Angelology (the study of elect angels),
Satanology (the study of Satan and fallen angels),
Anthropology (the study of man: body, soul, and spirit),
Soteriology (the study of salvation),
Ecclesiology (the study of the church),
Eschatology (the study of prophecy),
Christology (the study of the Person of Christ),
Hamartiology (the study of sin and the sinful nature),
and Pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit).
Every passage contains one or more of these categories and the pastor must be able to identify these since they have very definite impact on the interpretation of a passage.
The pastor must also understand the context of the passage that is being examined which requires him to apply hermeneutics, the science of interpreting ancient manuscripts.
There are systematic ways of deciding these things. Much of the confusion about the Bible today has to do with how it is interpreted. Some assume that all is fable, myth, allegory, or metaphor designed to teach concepts or principles but that no one should consider taking its content literally.
But since the Bible is the Word of God it must be taken literally unless God indicates it is to be taken otherwise, indicated by the way it is constructed grammatically, contextually, and syntactically.
We have seen that any passage of scripture that under review must be analyzed systematically.
Isagogics determines the historical context of the events in question take place. The Bible must be interpreted in the time in which it was written.
Examining the passage categorically determines what the entire Scripture has to say about the subject. This requires an examination of the entire Bible's revelation on the topic and developing it into a doctrine.
Exegesis determines how to translate the passage. This requires a grammatical analysis of the passage taking into consideration each word, its part of speech, the sentence structure, idiom, and the parsing of verbs.
It might be noted for example that in Greek the words that appear first in the sentence reveal the emphasis the writer was making. This is quite different from English that depends on word order for emphasis.
By staying with the system, the members of the congregation who are willing to follow along, are able to fully understand the meaning, application, and purpose of the passage.
The idea is to acquire epignosis or spirit taught knowledge and understanding of God's message.
Other less involved approaches to the Scripture will pick up a few principles and offer an axiom or two but such a superficial approach provides no real understanding of context, divine intent, or means of application.
God took a great deal of time to assemble His Word for our benefit and it should be studied seriously.
Taking the Word seriously requires academic discipline.
Emotion is an appropriate response when one comes to understand a principle, a doctrine, or their application, but no one can learn through emotion because it contains no thought.
Emotion can only respond or react to thought. Emotion in its proper place is wonderful such as when it is a response to the application of doctrine.
When the believer who is under pressure decides to apply doctrine to a problem and leave the details in God's hands, subsequently sees the doctrine work through God's grace system then there is a legitimate emotional response from the recognition that God backs His Word and that the believer is not only in His plan but also that the plan works.
When believers are under pressure, they should never stress their own personal desires but should instead submit to what our heavenly Father instructs them to do in his word.
If we do this we will place more emphasis on submitting to what God commands us to do in our worship of Him rather then what we want to do in our worship of Him.
This submission was clarified by our Lord when He said in John 14:15, 21; 15:10, and 1 John 2:4-5 "If you love me, keep my commandments." You cannot keep what you do not know. And you cannot love God unless you know His Word.
Jesus' intercessory prayer to the Father at Gethsemane provides the answer as to what He would have us do.
John 17:17 "Sanctify them [set believers apart for special service] by means of Your truth. Your word is truth."
The Lord's prayer for us was for our experiential sanctification which can only be accomplished through spiritual growth. It is by means of our willingness to learn the treasures of wisdom and knowledge contained in Scripture that enables us to function as God would have us to the Invisible War.
We are privileged to be in training so we can become those who prevail as tactical victors in that conflict.
The assault on serious Bible study and the application of its principles to one's life is the present-day equivalent of the problem identified by Elijah during the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel over the Northern Kingdom between 874-853 B.C.
1Kings 19:14 - And Elijah said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
We are experiencing these assaults in our society today, but they are more sophisticated and much less obvious but the result is the same.
Failure to teach the Bible is to forsake the Word of God. Failure to use the pulpit of the local assembly to communicate the precise message of God to man is a defilement of that pulpit.
To discredit those who make honest attempts teach the accurate message of God is a metaphorical killing of these pastors, because if the pastor can be discredited then his message can be ignored.
This is what is happening in client nation USA today and as a result the client nation staggers in unbelief while very few form the pivot of believers who must stand fast as invisible heroes in the preservation of freedom.
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