The Bible must speak for itself in all things that pertain to life and godliness. How often mankind reads into the Bible what they want it to say, as opposed to what it actually said. There can’t be reading between the lines in a successful effort to study the Word of God. We must take God at his word, and be willing to take the truth exactly as God has stated it, without any additions. or subtractions. Reading into the Bible what is not ‘there results always in our being led away from the truth. The Bible never changes from one generation to the next, or from one situation to the next. In all things the Bible remains the same.
1. The Bible Is It’s Own Interpreter
The same passage of scripture isn’t susceptible of conflicting interpretations. 2 Cor 1:18 God has spoken in definite and obvious terms that are plain enough for a 10 year old child to understand.
Peter makes it very clear when he said, “If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.” 1 Pet 4:11 The bible is consistent, and doesn’t attempt to mislead a sincere seeker of the Word. The psalmist David wrote that the sum of God’s Word is truth. Ps 119:160 When we read, and study God’s Word we won’t find any contradictions within it. We won’t find one apostolic doctrine saying sing and make melody in the heart to the Lord, and another saying sing with instruments in praise to God. Eph 5:19; Col 316
The scriptures were scattered, and often out of context. One only needs to read the prophesies of Christ to understand this fact. This was done to confound the wicked, and was prophesied as such by the prophet Isaiah. Isa 28:10-13; Mt 13:13-15 This is why sincere seekers must take the time to seek, and search the scriptures as did the Bereans did in Acts 17:11. We must honestly love the Word of God, less God send strong delusions to us to believe a lie. 2 Thess 2:10-12
Rightly dividing the Word of truth simply means for us to take all the scriptures in consideration, and to rightly apply it. 2 Tim 2:15 It doesn’t mean for us to bid one scripture against another, as if the writers were at odds with one another, in order to do something the bible didn’t command or prohibited. We are not to assume God’s Word changes with the times, but rather to acknowledge that it remains the same for all generations.
2. Proper Context of the Scriptures:
How often to we hear the words said: “That was written for them, and not for us”. This is true in certain situations. For instance: God commanded Noah to build an ark, not us. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son. God commanded Israel to cross the Red Sea and to march around Jericho, but not us.
However, it’s also understood, all laws governing the old testament was for them, and not for us specifically. Although there are principles, and examples we can glean from in each case. Rom 15:4 In the New Testament we must understand that Jesus gave his disciples gifts and abilities of miracles which were not for us. We must understand that until the Word of God was written, early day Christians had the power of tongues, prophesy, and knowledge from on high, but we don’t. 1 Cor 13:8
Having said that, we must also keep in mind that the apostolic doctrine was specifically for us. In other words, what they commanded, or gave us an example to do, we MUST DO IT. Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 11:1 They commanded belief-confession-repentance-baptism-faithfulness for salvation. Rom 10:10; Acts 2:38; Rev 2;10 This we must do. They commanded singing, praying, preaching, giving, taking of the Lord’s supper and meeting on Sunday. 1 Cor 14:15; 2 Tim 4:2-5; 1 Cor 16:1,2; 1 Cor 11:24-26; Acts 20:7 These they did by commandment and example, and apply to us today. We are bound by the laws of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Mt 19:9; 1 Cor 7 We are bound by all the laws of sin which were prohibited for us to commit. Gal 5;19-21 1 Cor 6 We are bound by the laws of loving our neighbor, and brethren, and even our enemies, yes and all mankind. Gal 6:10
3. The Silence of The Scriptures
Many teach if the bible didn’t say not to, then we can. Others say we are at liberty to do anything God didn’t expressively prohibit. Really?
Nadab and Abihu were condemned to death because they did not act according to the authority of God (Lev. 10:1,2). They used a strange fire which the Lord “had not commanded them” (v. 1). Maybe they thought, “But God didn’t say not to.” Even if they had good intentions, the fact remains that they acted presumptuously, without authority, and were judged accordingly.
We need to learn that what God has said can’t be properly respected unless we respect God’s silence. John tells us that to respect God’s silence, or to expect to pay the consequences of God’s wrath. Rev 22:18,19 Paul wrote to the Corinthians that they were not to go beyond that which was written 1 Cor 4:6 We should be satisfied with what God has spoken, and abide within the Word He has given. No act of worship, or good deed we do is accounted to us for good unless God commanded for us to do it. God requires nothing more than our strict adherence to his Word, and will accept nothing less.