About Understanding God’s Dealings with Mankind

[The Question Of Divine Patterns]


With regard to any subject it is necessary that we determine standards before we proceed. The concept of standards or the following of patterns is not simply a biblical philosophy, the idea of patters is important in ever major human endeavor. Whenever a plan is devised to build any new building [a house, a shopping mall, or an automobile factory the creators and planners will first prepare a pattern that is to be followed by those that build the edifice]. Whenever a new automobile comes to the showroom of our automobile dealers, the car has first been planned by its creators based on a drawn scale or blueprint. The same is true whenever we want to make a measurement of distance, we have to appeal to a rule, [i.e. a foot is 12 inches, a yard is three feet, a mile is 5280 feet, a football field is 100 Yards or 300 feet], you see, in every endeavor it is necessary to follow a pattern.

Understand this, if there is no pattern to follow in building anything or determining values of materials, distances, weights, measure, and any other quality we could not exist in the world in any orderly fashion. As we come to understand this fact about patterns, measurements, and gauges, we are better prepared to follow the Divine Pattern that our Creator has given to us.


Matt 5:48, “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ASV

God cannot give an imperfect pattern to mankind because HE IS PERFECT and HE HAS CREATED MAN. Since HE HAS CREATED MAN the GUIDEBOOK THAT HE HAS GIVEN MAN IS ALSO PERFECT. The Bible is perfect because God is perfect and God would not provide mankind with a guidebook that contained error or patterns that were imperfect. God has given mankind a Book to guide him through life and acquire eternal life as he understands and complies with God’s instruction. This is absolutely the truth – one cannot understand further than this if one is an atheist, agnostic, an individual that doubts the accuracy of the Bible or anyone that rejects the Bible or any part of it.

GOD HAS GIVEN MANKING A GUIDE [A Pattern], The Bible is a book of patterns:


1. 66 Books make up the Bible

2. There is an Old Testament and a New Testament

3. There are three primary dispensations:

· Patriarchal Dispensation – From Adam to the Law of Moses [Ten Commandment Law]

· The Jewish Dispensation given at Mount Sinai [Horeb], from Law of Moses to the establishment of Christ’s church [Kingdom], Matt 16:18; Mark 9:1; Acts 2:1-47

· The Christian Dispensation beginning at Acts 2:1-47; 11:15


God gave Adam and Eve a pattern to follow – Gen 2:16-17 - “16 And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” ASV

God gave Noah a pattern to follow – Gen 6:8-22, “8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah.

9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, (and) perfect in his generations: Noah walked with God.

10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

12 And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

13 And God said unto Noah. The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

15 And this is how thou shalt make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

16 A light shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

17 And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon this earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is in the earth shall die.

18 But I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

20 Of the birds after their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

22 Thus did Noah ; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” ASV

God gave Moses a pattern to follow –Heb 8:5, “who serve (that which is) a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses is warned (of God) when he is about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern that was showed thee in the mount.” ASV

Joshua followed the Divine Pattern - Josh 22:28, “28 Therefore said we, It shall be, when they so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we shall say, Behold the pattern of the altar of Jehovah, which our fathers made, not for burnt-offering, nor for sacrifice; but it is a witness between us and you.” ASV

King Ahaz followed the Divine Pattern - 2 Kings 16:10, “10 And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw the altar that was at Damascus; and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.” ASV

David followed the Divine Pattern – 1 Chron 28:11-12, “11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch (of the temple), and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper rooms thereof, and of the inner chambers thereof, and of the place of the mercy-seat; 12 and the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit, for the courts of the house of Jehovah, and for all the chambers round about, for the treasuries of the house of God, and for the treasuries of the dedicated things;” ASV

God gave a pattern to follow Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego – Daniel 3:1-29

Daniel followed the Divine Pattern – Daniel 6:1-28

God gave Christ a pattern to follow – Matt 11:27, “27 All things have been delivered unto me of my Father : and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father ; neither doth any know the Father , save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal (him.).” Luke 2:49-50, “49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? knew ye not that I must be in my Father's house?

50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.” ASV

Heb 5:8-9, “8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation;” ASV

Christ gave his apostles a pattern to follow – John 1:17, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

John 8:32, “and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth. for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, (these) shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come.” ASV

John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.” ASV

Paul Instructed Timothy to follow the pattern - 2 Tim 1:13, “Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

Christ gave the church a pattern to follow – Matt 28:18-20, “18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” ASV

Composed of members – all have followed the same pattern to become Christians:

They have heard [or have learned] the truth – Rom 10:13-17, “13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard ? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So belief (cometh) of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” ASV

They have believed the gospel – Mark 16:15-16, “15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.” ASV

They have repented of sins – Acts 2:37-38, “37 Now when they heard (this,) they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?

38 And Peter (said) unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” ASV

They have confessed Christ with the mouth – Rom 10:9-10, “9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus (as) Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved:

10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” ASV

They have been baptized for remission of sins – Acts 2:38, “38 And Peter (said) unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” ASV

1 Peter 3:21, “21 which also after a true likeness doth now save you, (even) baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ;” ASV


The above plan of salvation is a pattern from God revealed to all mankind so that man may be saved from sin – no person will be saved from sin unless this Divine Plan is followed. Everyone that is saved from sin follows the same plan and receives the same results [i.e. “salvation from sin”].

They have been added to the church by Christ – Acts 2:47, “47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.” ASV

Composed of men and women of all nations, all have followed the same pattern –

Matt 28:18-20, “18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” ASV

Acts 20:21, “21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” KJV

Rom 3:29, “29 Or is God (the God) of Jews only? is he not (the God) of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also:” ASV

Composed of pattern worship – “In spirit and in truth” – John 4:24

Assemble - Heb 10:24-25, “24 and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting (one another); and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.”

Pray - 1 Thess 5:17, “pray without ceasing;” ASV

1 Tim 2:8, “I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing.” ASV

Acts 12:5, “Peter therefore was kept in the prison: but prayer was made earnestly of the church unto God for him.” ASV

Teach/Preach - Acts 20:7, “7 And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and prolonged his speech until midnight.” ASV

Lord’s Supper - 1 Cor 11:23-29,

“23 For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread;

24 and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink (it), in remembrance of me.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till he come.

27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern not the body.” ASV

Contribution into a common treasure - 1 Cor 16:1-2,

“1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye.

2 Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.” ASV

Sing with out mechanical music – Heb 2:12, “saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, In the midst of the congregation will I sing thy praise.”

1 Cor 14:15, “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” ASV


2 Tim 2:15, “15 Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.”


There is no reason to go elsewhere for information about God or how to live acceptable to God.

2 Peter 1:3, “seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue;” ASV

2 Tim 3:16-17, “Every scripture inspired of God (is) also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.

17 That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.”

WE WALK BY FAITH - 2 Cor 5:6-9, “6 Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord

7 (for we walk by faith, not by sight);

8 we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.

9 Wherefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well-pleasing unto him.” ASV


The “faith” in Jude 3 is the system of truth:

Walking by faith means that we live out our lives according to God’s pattern - Jude 3, “3 Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.” ASV



The individual, who for whatever reason decides to resist the teaching of the Bible will not become a Christian. The person with a disposition to dispute the teaching of the Bible or any part of it will not come to Christ on His terms, but will be as the Pharisees and Sadducees of Christ day, “will become a blind leader” who will attempt to lead others but will lead them only to his/her own philosophy. Whenever one comes to God’s Book there is humble acceptance or stubborn resistance.

Those actions by Christians and those actions performed by the congregation are to be performed according to the Divine Pattern [i.e. the Written Word of God]. Indeed, the Bible is to be correctly interpreted and this action is dependant upon the actions of men with pure and holy motives. The Bible is a Book that is divided into dispensations, these dispensations consist of Patriarchal, the Law of Moses [i.e. the Ten Commandment law given to the Jews], and the Law of Christ [the Christian].

The first step to rightly dividing the Divine Pattern is to understand that mankind lives today under the Law of Christ, the other three dispensations have been taken out of the way. Since the other two dispensations have been completed, the Law of Christ is the Divine Pattern now to be followed by everyone [i.e. both Jews and Gentiles].

The Law of Christ consists of several patterns within God’s Book of instructions for mankind, they are:

Pattern for the salvation of mankind:
Salvation for the individual [i.e. the plan of salvation – a pattern]:
Hearing, Believing, Repenting, Confessing Christ as Messiah, being baptized “for the remission of sins”].

The life of the individual Christian [i.e. manner of life – lifestyle]:
“Faithful to the instructions that God has provided for us in the New Testament [examples: no fornication, no lies, no stealing, etc and, love one another, forgive the sinner who repents, faithful to God in all things, etc.].

Pattern for the church [congregational relationship of the Christian]
Lord’s Day worship [A Biblical Pattern]:
Assembled, In Spirit and in truth, Singing, Prayer, Teaching, Lord’s Supper, Giving



Since God is perfect, God would not give to man a book that contained error of any kind.

Since the above point is true we may rightly conclude that the Bible has no error in it.

Since we are God’s created beings we will follow God’s written instructions for us even when we do not understand everything about God’s wishes for us.

Whenever we study God’s Written Word, we will always seek to understand it as it has been written.

We will also consider the WRITER,
The TIME of writing,
Whether the statement is a GENERAL or a SPECIFIC statement
We will be honest about the conclusion that we are forced to accept.

We will also understand that expedients are used in interpreting the Bible but we will also understand that any expedient must be authorized by Scripture before it is acceptable.

There are three factors involved in an acceptable interpretation of Scripture they are:

A direct command
An approved apostolic example
A necessary inference

We will also seek to understand FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE and we will not press prophetic language beyond its fulfillment unless the context demands a secondary application.

We will also examine parables and other figures of speech in their proper setting so that we will correctly understand God’s intention for us.

… Prepared by Garreth L. Clair - Monday, July 18, 2005 …

Return to the General Articles page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /