Class Notes: 9/3/2008
2Tim 2:15 Being diligent in study requires a system
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 the purpose of the communication of Bible Doctrine was the preparation of believers to be tactical victors in the angelic conflict and when pastors do not use the pulpit for that purpose they are failing their local assembly as well as the client nation because there are too few believers who are prepared to take their place in the pivot of mature and advancing believers as invisible heroes for the preservation of freedom.
We are going to continue in our study regarding the mandate for diligence in the study of the word with a brief study on the principles of Systematic Theology.
The Bible itself teaches how it is to be taught.
The Prophet Isaiah was commissioned by God to warn the Jews of their failure as a client nation and the need for them to return to the spiritual life of their dispensation.
His prophecies in Isaiah 28 are directed toward both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms and warn of impending invasions by the Assyrian Empire.
These prophecies were fulfilled by the fifth cycle of discipline administered to Israel in 721 B.C. and the threat of it to Judah in 701 B.C.
Isaiah states the principle in:
Isaiah 33:6; - The stability provided by the Lord in your times is made possible by wisdom and knowledge; by these shall be the wealth of your deliverance.
In his prophecy in Isaiah 28, Isaiah first of all indicates how God's protective wisdom and knowledge is not to be acquired:
Isaiah 28:7; - These also through wine have erred, reeling! Through strong drink have, staggering, strayed! Through strong drink have erred both priest and prophet, the wine they have swallowed has swallowed up them! Through strong drink they have strayed as they staggered, have reeled even when seeing a vision! Have staggered, pronouncing a judgment!
v. 8 all the tables are filled with their vomit-vile filth! Not a spot can be found that is clean.
This passage is a metaphor that is explained in an excellent synopsis in:
F. C. Jennings, Studies in Isaiah. (New York: Loizeaux Brothers), pages 330-31:
The people have walked in the same path of uncontrolled self-pleasing, termed "drunkenness." But even the "priests and prophets" are swallowed up of the very wine that they have swallowed-for thus it literally reads.
This we may interpret as, intoxicated with the falsehood they preach, they have imbibed baseless hopes, and the false merriment these hopes give is like that due to excess of wine.
They have even received their inspiration for visions as prophets, or for giving judicial decisions that demanded the most sober discrimination from this intoxication; not a spot can be found not defiled with their filth!
This is similar to the intoxication that plagues the American clergy today that comes from imbibing the false doctrine that emerges from flawed theology, from exegeting Scripture from the English, if at all, and from the lust to accommodate the habits and fads of The people at the expense of teaching biblical revelation.
The Gospel is under assault by denominations that profess limited atonement or require something in addition to faith alone in Christ alone for salvation.
The authority of the pulpit is under assault by denominations that de-emphasize Bible study, teach false doctrine that is derived from gross distortion of clear passages, and adopt policies that appease special interest groups.
But this (verses 7-8) must most assuredly not be confined to literalism, even if it be taken literal at all. Rather does it bring before a proud self-satisfied people, what they are really like in the eye of God.
They are as repulsive in their senseless pride, in their ill-timed pleasures, as drunkards who foul their own food! Alas, are we, as the present responsible witness for God upon the earth, any better? How repellent must it be to the Lord when He says of it, because of lukewarm self-complacency, "I will spew you out of My mouth" in Rev 3:16;
The peoples of the divided kingdoms are distracted by false religions that plagued them from the time they moved into the land. Even though many of the compromised Israelites were believers they didn't have enough doctrine in their souls to provide any historical impact in their generation.
Isaiah describes this in:
Isaiah 28:9 - To whom would God teach knowledge? To whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast?
Isaiah is being sarcastic. Those who are enmeshed in the oscillating practice of worshipping both Baal and Jehovah are not capable of hearing the message of Isaiah.
Those who are positive and capable must be taught in a precise manner following a particular process defined by Isaiah in the next verse:
Isaiah 28:10; - "For God says, 'Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there.'"
When this verse is spoken from the Hebrew it reveals Isaiah's sarcastic viewpoint of their priesthood.
The construction of this sentence enables Isaiah to teach the proper approach to Bible study while mimicking the sound of a priest, drunk with false doctrine, repetitiously droning in their teaching of heresies.
The line "precept upon precept; precept upon precept"; the Hebrew " Tzaw latzaw, tzaw latzaw", stresses the importance of gathering all the details revealed in the Bible on a given subject.
This refers to the categorical development of doctrines.
The phrase "line upon line, line upon line"; the Hebrew " qaw laqaw, qaw, laqaw", refers to the importance of examining each and every word of a passage through exegesis, the grammatical analysis of a word, in order to develop its exact meaning in the context.
The line "a little here, a little there; the Hebrew "ze'er sham, ze'er sham", indicates that spiritual growth demands consistent research into the Scripture.
In this study, one's knowledge is constantly expanded as they acquire a little information from each word, each sentence, each verse, each chapter, and each doctrine: a little here, there a little."
An excellent summary of Isa 28:10; is provided by:
R. B. Thieme, Jr. Tongues. 2d ed. (Houston: R. B. Thieme, Jr., Bible Ministries, 2000), pages 6-7:
Isaiah's brilliantly constructed tautology (a needless repetition of words) in the Hebrew sarcastically mimics the drunken, repetitious babbling of the degenerate priests, while at the same time he describes the method for accurate doctrinal teaching-"precept on precept, line on line."
The objective of doctrinal teaching is the inculcation of biblical truth, but doctrine in the soul accumulates gradually in increments. One precept builds upon another. "Precept on precept" describes the classifications of divine truths. "Line on line," a word-by-word, verse-by-verse analysis, lifts these truths from the pages of Scripture.
Doctrine must be presented in an isagogical, categorical, and exegetical manner not once, but repeatedly, until it lodges permanently in the soul.
When doctrine is faithfully taught and consistently assimilated, "a little here, a little there," the various portions of Scripture eventually fall into place like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Gradually, you expand your frame of reference for receiving and retaining further doctrines.
You are now able to comprehend more advanced concepts and doctrines until, saturated with divine viewpoint, you become spiritually self-sustaining.
Divine viewpoint is the thinking, value system, and problem-solving ability gleaned from Bible doctrine.
Spiritually self-sustaining refers to the absolute sufficiency of the spiritual life. To be spiritually self-sustaining is to think divine viewpoint gained from doctrine resident in the soul, relying solely on God for strength, encouragement, comfort, and problem-solving instead of relying on people or circumstances.
From these principles and those found in other passages of the Bible, the pastor is given guidance into his duties before God in managing Scripture.
The basic approach may be defined by the acronym "ICE". The I stand s for Isagogics: the interpretation of Scripture within the framework of its historical setting or prophetical environment. The Bible must be interpreted in the time in which it was written.
Thus the effort is to discover the way in which the word, phrase, or idiom was used and understood at the time the passage was written. Discovery of this requires research into not only the history of the time but also the etymology of the words in question.
Etymology involves tracking the word back in time to see how its definition might have changed from the time it was used by the writer to the way we use it today.
This effort requires the pastor to do research into biblical histories, archaeology, lexicons, and dictionaries to determine the exact meaning of a root word to determine what the speaker or writer was trying to convey to those who heard or read it when it was said or written.
The information discovered will motivate the pastor to do research into similar words, phrases, or subject matter found throughout Scripture. This requires the accumulation of all the Bible has to say on the subject and to isolate it into a category of doctrine.
This process is referred to by the letter C which stands for Categories: the hermeneutical principle of comparing Scripture with Scripture to determine the classification of doctrine.
Once the definition of the word is discovered and the pertinent doctrines that apply to it are identified, then it must me analyzed grammatically to discover its use in the sentence.
The parsing of verbs is especially important since it indicates the kind of action that is being described. Is it presently ongoing, or is it past or future?
This process is indicated by the letter E and refers to Exegesis: a word-by-word, verse-by-verse, grammatical, syntactical, etymological, and contextual analysis of Scripture from the original languages of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
Grammar is the analysis of a language by which a set of rules is used to reveal how words relate to one another and how they fit together into sentences. All words have names and functions.
Syntax deals with the grammatical relations between words. It is the process of analyzing the modes of expression presented by a language. It does not govern language; it deals with the facts of language as they are found.
Language is the means whereby thought is communicated from one mind to another or the means by which one mind is enabled to think with another. Written language is simply a system of symbols which represent spoken sounds.
The Bible is the means whereby God has communicated His thought to us so that our minds can think in harmony with His.
Language is the medium for conveyance of thought and the divinely selected languages for the communication of divine revelation are Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek.
The Bible was not written in English. Paul spoke in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. He was able to read the Old Testament and compare what he read there with its Greek translation called the Septuagint.
Although Paul was highly educated, the other writers of the New Testament possessed these same abilities with sufficient proficiency under the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit.
The job of the pastor is not to interpret the Bible from English translations but from the writings of the original manuscripts in the original languages.
Etymology deals with individual words and tracks the history of each by tracing its development from the earliest recorded occurrence in the language in which it is found.
Context refers to the environment in which the word or passage under consideration is located. Too often people become confused because they take words or verses out of context and in doing so construct false doctrines.
One of the best examples of this is false doctrine that presents the idea that salvation is by works.
An example of a passage that has led some to this conclusion is:
1Cor 3:10; According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.
Paul is making reference to the church at Corinth which he founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The growth of that church became the duty of others such as Apollos ("I planted, Apollos watered, but God causes the growth." [1 Corinthians. 3:6]) Those who responded to the Gospel became the original members of the church and their duty was to build on the foundation of Christ by growing in grace. This is brought out in the next verse.
v 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.
The foundation is identified as salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. A foundation is a base for something is built.
The foundation is the result of grace but the structure that rises from it occurs as a result of works.
Two sets of building materials are mentioned as being chosen by believers as they build on this foundation:
1Cor 3:12; Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood hay, straw,
The first set of building materials is presented by the metaphor of gold, silver, and precious stones. These represent works empowered by the filling of the Holy Spirit, inspired reciprocal love, supervised by knowledge of doctrine, and often executed through one's spiritual gift.
The second set of building materials is presented by the metaphor of wood, hay, and straw. These represent works empowered by the sinful nature's area of strength, inspired by self-righteousness, supervised by knowledge of human viewpoint, and often executed dependent upon one's talents and abilities from first birth.
The paragraph we are examining begins with verse 10 where we are introduced to a foundation. That foundation is identified in verse 11 as Jesus Christ.
All those who have the foundation of salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone have the liberty to use their free will to build upon it.
What they build will be determined by their attitude toward the Word of God. Some will choose to make Bible study a top priority while others will put it in some lower priority.
Those who advance will grow spiritually and will apply what they learn to life and circumstances. Others will not grow spiritually and their application will be distorted by traditional attitudes about what Christian behavior is from kosmic viewpoint.
Those who advance will submit to the system that produces works classified as gold silver and precious stones while those who do not will adopt a rationale they believe represents the Christian life but only produces works classified as wood, hay, and straw.
It is often impossible to distinguish which set is being utilized by any given individual since the very same action can be carried out using either source of production. as shown in:
Mark 12:41; And Jesus sat down opposite the treasury [in the Court of the Women], and began observing how the multitude were putting money in to the treasury.
The Greek word translated treasury is "gazophulakion" that was used to describe thirteen trumpet-shaped chests into which the temple offerings of the people were placed; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
v42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins (the Greek word "lepton" that is also often translated as "mite”), that was equivalent to about 1/4 of one cent (the Greek word "kodrantes" meaning 1/4).
v43 And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
v44 for they all put in out of their surplus (human good motivation), but she out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on (divine good motivation)."
God knows (our motivations) and identification becomes evident to all at the Judgment Seat of Christ following the Exit Resurrection of the church:
1Cor 3:13;each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.
Notice that there is nothing in the context of the first four verses of this paragraph about sin, the lake of fire, loss of salvation, or access to heaven by means of works.
The context shows that believers are the subject and that their works are classified into two categories which will be "tested" on a certain "day."
The critical word in the passage is the word "day." The correct identification of what day helps us understand what is being tested, where it is tested, and why it is tested.
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