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How We Learn From The Bible
Part One

How we learn from the Bible is not as complex as some present it to be. No special classes, catechisms, orientation or human creeds are required. Paul wrote to the Ephesian church, "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, hereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ). - Eph. 3:1-4.

The mystery was revealed, made known or manifest. It was not hidden in cryptic messages that need special means of decoding. Timothy was a reader of the Old Testament and he knew what he read. He learned the message he studied -2 Tim. 3:15-16. Reading has to be done with a hunger and thirst after what is true and right -- never just to prove a point. Jesus chided Jews of his day for their faulty reading of scripture. They searched the scriptures but failed to understand what the scriptures meant - John 5:39-40. Such a thing is always dangerous.

How should we apply what we read? The will to obey or comply with what is read from holy writ gives assurance of knowing the truth. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" - John 7:17. The truth, once understood and obeyed brings freedom from sin - John 8:32.

Jesus commissioned his chosen ambassadors with the task of teaching or making disciples. Disciples are students who are taught. They are made by being taught the truth. Once a learner learns the truth and is baptized into the name of the divine Godhead, he still needs teaching. Thus Jesus told his apostles to make disciples (learners), baptizing them into the name of the sacred Three. The Lord gave his apostles the duty of "teaching them to observe all that I've commanded you. . ." - Matt. 28:19-20.

There are ways to learn what the Lord told his apostles to teach the church. One is reading, the other is hearing and another is putting what is learned into practice - James 1:21-22. We read not only what the apostles taught but also what they did -- and we imitate them. This was the method of Jesus - Acts 1:1. The apostles had the commission to set forth precedents that are to be imitated by the church - Phil. 4:9; Heb. 13:7 (assume this last reference to be the apostles who had spoken the word of God to them).

Jesus also said to his apostles, "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" - Matt. 18:18. The apostles, under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit, were to bind or loose as they were instructed. No man or set of man has that right. No mere human being has the right to bind anything the Lord and his apostles didn't bind, nor does anyone have the right to loose what they did not loose. The only legitimate and right binding done in the church is based on apostolic teaching and/or practice.

What precedents set forth by the apostles are binding on the church? More to follow.

Go to Part Two.

By Dudley Ross Spears

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