Newsletter for Feb 2010
How many of the following statements are true:
» Luke 6:38 is about being greatly blessed as a result of giving offerings in church.
» John 14:1-3 reveals that Christians will have palatial homes in Heaven.
» Galatians 6:7-9 explains that we are to sow financially so we can be blessed.
» Jeremiah 1:4-5 confirms that God creates the little spirits that are put in babies when they are conceived.
» Genesis 6:1-4 speaks of angels that had children by women on earth and that these children grew up to be giants.
» Hebrews 7:1-3 clarifies that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Christ.
» Romans chapter seven describes the struggles Christians have with their sin nature.
It’s interesting how that some Christians would fight to the death, figuratively speaking, to defend their convictions about the above passages, even if it can be proven from scripture that their convictions are wrong! I never cease to be amazed at how so many Believers live by the words of their pastor, church or denomination instead of living by every word the proceeds out of the mouth of God as Jesus instructed.
I remember some time ago a person was asking me about a portion of scripture, telling me what they thought it was about. I shared that how, in the entire passage, what they explained was never identified in any of the verses and that contextually it was impossible for it to mean what they thought. Not wanting to leave this person guessing, I laid out what the passage was really saying, mentioning additional scripture as points of reference. What was this individual’s response? Very politely they commented, “I’ve always heard it the other way, so that’s what I believe.”
Amazingly, this person had no desire to search the scriptures to see if what they believe is true (Acts 17:10). But I also have to admit that at one time, I too did very little study of the Bible. I lived my life according to what my church taught and was convinced beyond all doubt that we were right.
Then, at one particular time in my life, I had questions about some things in the Bible and made one of the greatest decisions of my life. I told God I was going to lay aside everything I had been taught about certain subjects and just start reading His word to see what was actually written. My questions concerned things in the New Testament, so that is where I started reading. I began in Matthew and read all the way through to Revelation.
I was absolutely, positively taken aback at what I discovered. It became plainly obvious that passages I had been told meant one thing, could not, in any way whatsoever, mean what I had been told. Let me tell you, that was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever had! Right then, I realized that I could never again just blindly accept what I heard coming from a pulpit; I needed to confirm everything with God’s word.
Over and over again through the years of my ministry I have emphatically stressed to people the need to get into the word for verification of what they hear taught. Subsequently, people have asked me how to study the Bible and often they ask what commentaries I use. Sometimes they act shocked when I tell them that I do not use commentaries. It’s almost as if they’re saying, “Well, if you don’t use commentaries, then how in the world can you properly study the Bible?”
Now, I will admit that occasionally I use reference books for historical and cultural background information. But when it comes to studying the Bible, it is my experience that commentaries usually just add confusion to the process. The truth is, studying God’s word really isn’t as difficult as some people have made it out to be. There are three primary, or foundational, instructions from God that give us direction:
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We are to study God’s word for the purpose of understanding what He has said according to His standards, purpose, and meaning. We are to be seeking His approval relative to what we believe. We are never to study the Bible to accommodate the beliefs and teachings of a church or denomination. Paul said it this way in Galatians 1:10: For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
We cannot leave out any part of God’s word in our approach to its study. He has said that all scripture is given by Him and is profitable for our spiritual development. That means even the passages in the Old Testament that seem to go on and on about genealogies are of great value to our spiritual growth. If I do not consider all scripture when it comes to studying the Bible, then it will be impossible for me to become perfect (spiritually mature) and thoroughly furnished unto all good works (God’s will for my life). Churches and denominations which refute or ignore passages of scripture as not being relevant for today will never in their existence see their members and ministers who are compliant with such teaching become perfect and thoroughly furnished unto all good works!
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little (Isaiah 28:9-10)
In these two verses we see God’s eternal, never-ending standard for studying all scripture in order to be approved unto Him. To paraphrase this passage, “God will teach His children and give them the clear understanding and knowledge of both His word and the doctrine He has firmly established for His church; but as they study His word, every verse must be left in the context of the passage, every passage must be left in the context of the chapter, every chapter must be left in the context of the book and every book must be left in the context of the entire Bible.”
What is amazing is how so many Christians have never been taught this approach to Bible study. Essentially, there is a shotgun, or hit-and-miss attitude toward studying scripture. It’s as though people forget that if there is a verse 25 there must also be verses 1-24; and if there is a chapter 12, there must also be chapters 1-11. If we eliminate studying chapters 1-11 we may never come to the full understanding of chapter 12. To reference our verses from Isaiah, verse one is the line upon which verse two is laid, verse two is the line upon which verse three is laid, etc.; chapter one is the precept upon which chapter two is laid, chapter two is the precept upon which chapter three is laid, and so forth.
Along with this, people have asked me which version of the Bible I think is best. My answer doesn’t always please everybody, but I have reviewed numerous versions of the Bible and I can say without reservation that the best English translation I have ever read is the King James Version. Here are some points for consideration:
» The content of the KJV cannot, by law, be copyrighted; it is considered to be public domain. All other versions of the Bible are copyrighted. According to copyright law, the individual (or group) identified in the copyright is claiming to be owner and source of the written content (let that sink in).
» In order for another version of a specific book to be copyrighted (e.g. a different version of the Bible), by law the content must vary from the original by at least 10%; this means that those who produce non-KJV versions of the Bible have to alter what is written by at least 10%.
» Out of all of the non-KJV versions of the Bible I have read, I have never found one that did not in some way or another contain a critical error in translation or interpretation!
Yes, but Brother Martin, I have such a hard time understanding all that King James stuff.” Interestingly, that wasn’t a common complaint until “modern times.” You see, the King James Bible was the primary book used to teach reading in the early years of our nation; thus, its comprehension was not a problem. But as we got away from the Bible, the reading skills of our society plunged dramatically.
I have verified approximately 200 different English versions of the Bible; most of them were written since 1960. The number one claim by many of these versions is that they are easier to read. “Easier to read” actually seems to mean “watered down, changed or corrupted.” More than once after I have ministered people have come to me and shared how, in their version, a passage of scripture I read either does not say the same thing or that it does not even appear in their Bible!
What I see in all of these “easier to read” Bibles is an attempt to supplant the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the following about the Holy Spirit:
…he shall teach you all things… (John 14:26)
…he will guide you into all truth… (John 16:13)
Are we really so naive as to think that the Holy Spirit is incapable of explaining the King James-style of English? One thing the Lord showed me is that many people will read something in the KJV two or three times and then declare it is impossible to comprehend; He said if they would keep reading over and over, the understanding will begin to come. This fits right in to what He said in 2 Timothy 2:15.
Along with this is how the Holy Spirit teaches us as we pray in tongues.
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned
from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here
a little, and there a little: for with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
The Apostle Paul made reference to this passage when he wrote about prophecy, edification and teaching in 1 Corinthians 14. As we pray in the Spirit, He is able to deposit the understanding of scripture into our spirit; then that understanding passes from our spirit to our mind. The more we read God’s word and sow it into our life, the more the Holy Spirit has to work with. If we do not pray in the Spirit, then the Holy Spirit will not have this avenue by which to teach us.
Studying and understanding the Bible is not difficult. We simply have to approach it according to the method and pattern God has given us. If we do, then all scripture will begin to profit our lives!
May God’s peace fill your life,
P.S. At the beginning of this letter I made mention of Melchizedek’s identity. Would you like to know who he really was? Would you also like to know about his priesthood? Then order my sermon “Who Was Melchizedek” By visiting our Website and filling out the Contact Us Form. Request this teaching by title.