Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller

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Part 1: How to Understand the Bible

2Peter 1:16-21

All a lot of people know about the Bible is the Ten Commandments and maybe the Golden Rule. It is a big book that people used to swear on when they testified in court. The Bible stays in the pulpit in church, an intimidating and large volume read in solemn tones by the preacher on Sunday. For those brave enough to read it, the Bible may seem completely inscrutable and confusing-a bunch of \"thee\'s\" and \"thou\'s\".? To others it may be merely a piece of literature to be studied like any other book.

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But the Bible is so much more than a dusty work of unapproachable prose. It is the written communication of God\'s mind to humanity. In many ways it is God\'s love letter to us and His plan for saving humanity. In this study, part 1 of 2, I will talk about the two reasons we need to take the Bible seriously, 4 reasons we need to be teaching from the Bible, a little bit on why I teach verse by verse, and then how to study God\'s Word.

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Holy Spirit Inspired

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1 John 2:20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

ESV

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John 14:25-26 \"These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit , whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. ESV

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You have to know God to understand His word, other than that it is just the gospel that is important.

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Jesus focused

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2 Cor 3:14-17 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. ESV

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John 5:39 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, ESV

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The Old Testament looks forward to Jesus, the New Testament looks back to what He has done.

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Why Teach It?

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It\'s Useful for Building Strong Christians

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2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

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2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ESV

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Acts 20:32-33 \"So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. NKJV

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It\'s What God Wants Us to Do

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2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. ?ESV

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The Gospel is what we are supposed to be teaching

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Acts 1:7-8 \"It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. ESV

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Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, \"The righteous shall live by faith.\"? ESV

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To Develop Good Doctrine and Avoid Heresy

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It makes us aware of what may be in us that is incorrect

Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. NKJV

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It makes us aware of what is around us that is incorrect

Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. ESV

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Why Go Verse by Verse?

It helps us teach ALL of what God wanted to tell us

Acts 20:27-29 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. NKJV

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Topical teaching only allows us to determine the topic rather than the book we are in providing the subject matter. We end up teaching our own favorite or well known topics but leave out others that are vitally important for the believer.

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Each book has its own point, structure, context, and flow. To teach Luke by just picking out verses here and there loses the awesome flow that the author creates.

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It makes sure we don\'t leave out anything important

2 Tim 1:13-14 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. ESV

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We learn that \"pattern\" by looking at the whole thing-not just part of it. Imagine trying to guess at what a puzzle looks like with only random pieces.

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The Dangers of Not Teaching the Word

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Many teachers decide that when they see people suffering or doing things that are not right that they should use the pulpit to 1) motivate people to help others or 2) tell people how to behave.

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Both of these things are good, but we have the cart before the horse. We should teach people to come into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ where they are then filled with the Holy Spirit who begins to change them from the inside out-then they will have a character that wants to please God and is able to through the Spirit\'s power and they will naturally want to give and help others. We do this by teaching the Word, letting God do the work, not us.

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Picking random scriptures also takes them out of context and can easily lead to misunderstandings of the Bible.

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How To Study The Bible

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The Bible is the Word of God - not something man made up

2 Peter 1:16-21 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory:\"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.\" 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,?? 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. NKJV

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The Bible is not a textbook or user manual so not everything on every subject is covered

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So don\'t make the Bible say things it is not-like trying to get a science textbook out of Genesis 1. The point is that God created.

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Let the Bible interpret itself

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How do you understand the Law? By letting Paul the Apostle interpret its purpose for you.

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Galatians 3:22-25 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. NKJV

The simplest explanation is probably the correct one

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Use ALL of what the Bible teaches on a topic, not just one verse

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For instance, letting 1 Corinthians 14 be all that is taught about spiritual gifts would leave out the purpose, which is found in Acts 2 and Luke 24, that we are to use them to be witnesses.

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Consider the genre: the Bible contains many: historic narrative, poetry, apocalyptic, prophecy, epistle, gospel, etc.

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Each one should be understood within its type, so apocalyptic literature has symbols and deals with end times, poetry has pictures for concepts, etc. It isn\'t literally a fire breathing dragon, but it represents evil in the form of Satan.

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Let culture inform the verse, look for universal application that best reflects the character of God.

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What did the text mean to the audience, what are the differences between them and us, what is the theological principal of the text, and how should it be applied today.

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Example: Jewelry. 1 Peter 3 and 1 Timothy 2 suggest that women shouldn\'t braid their hair or wear gold or fancy attire. Is this a Biblical principal for all time? No. In that culture, women who dressed this way were seen as prostitutes. That sends the wrong message about the women and about Jesus Christ. The Biblical principal is to let nothing about you detract from your Lord.

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The purpose of the Bible is to (A) reveal God\'s plan of salvation, (B) bring people to faith in Christ, then (C) grow them into mature believers who can reproduce (and go to A).

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