God’s Word, Bible Study and Traditions

GOD’S WORD, BIBLE STUDY, & TRADITIONS

Mark 7:6-13 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

“The keeping of human commands always leads to the neglect of the divine.” – Charles Spurgeon.

Verse 9:  “Full well” – Jesus is rebuking them here by saying in effect “Are you not acting in a most self righteous and pious manner, by preferring human traditions to God’s commandments?” The guilt and foolishness of the scribes and Pharisees are exposed by this condemnation. It is a terribly sinful thing to put the traditions of men on a pedestal higher then God’s Word. It is a terribly sinful thing to establish rules of governance in a local assembly based just on traditions of men and not the Word of God. It is a terrible and sinful thing to put in effect things that will alter men’s futures and their capacity to serve God and all the while those things are based more in the traditions of men then the Word of God. – Always make sure everything is based in God’s Word. Research things out for yourself, dig deep into the Scriptures’, and come to conclusions and convictions for yourself, and do not just rely on what you have always heard; but own those beliefs for yourself by careful and exhaustive Bible study.

INTRODUCTION: We need to create the good habit of daily Bible reading. We either have good habits or bad habits. If we have not developed the good habit of daily Bible reading then we have developed the bad habit of NOT reading the Bible daily! Time is a factor in daily Bible reading. Lots of people say they do not have the time. Let’s look at the reality of time. James 4:14 says “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” As you see James teaches us that our time on earth is brief, but a vapor in comparison to eternity. If we do not develop the good habit of daily Bible study our time on this earth will catch up with us. We will have spent our life on earth not utilizing the time we had for Christ. Many Christians will meet God never having read his Word through once. Wouldn’t that be a shame; to meet God, to meet Christ, knowing everything that was done for you, because He loved you, and you never having bothered to completely read His love letter to you?

WHY IS GOD’S WORD SO IMPORTANT? – Because it contains God’s mind and will for your life, because it is the only source of absolute truth in the world, and because it is the Divine authority for your life. (II Timothy 3:16-17 – 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, throughly furnished unto all good works.) God inspired men of old with His Holy Spirit from time to time, influencing them to speak or write His will to men. (II Peter 1:20-21 – Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.)

  • God’s Word is infallible in its entirety. (Psalm 19:7 – The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.) – The written Word of God is perfect for our faith and practice, it is perfect in making all who follow it wise unto salvation; it is perfect to trust, it is perfect to accept and it is perfect in its demonstration of the atonement, the righteousness, and the intercession of Christ on behalf of man.
  • It is inerrant in its parts. (Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.) – God’s Word contains no errors or mistakes. There are erroneous versions of the Bible out there, but God has preserved for English speaking people a Bible we can rely on and use with confidence- and that is the King James Version of the Bible.

Adam Clarke speaking about these verses in Proverbs said “Everything that God has pronounced, every inspiration which the prophets have received, is pure, without mixture of error, without dross.”

  • It is complete. (Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.) – These verses are a solemn warning to those who would seek to tamper with and alter the Word of God. It is dire condemnation to them proclaimed in these verses if they add unto or they take away words from the Holy Scriptures.
  • We need to examine and review some of the changing (the adding to and taking away) of God’s Word that is happening today. There are over 64 thousand less words in the other versions of the Bible compared to the King James Version.
  • In 1611, the King James Bible translation was finished. It took 54 scholars 6 years to translate the Bible into English. That is how careful and serious they took their work. We can rest assured that the King James Version of the Bible is the complete Word of God for us today.
  • People were warned not to alter God’s Word some 2,000 years ago in this passage in the book of Revelation. God takes His Word very seriously and He expects us to take His Word very seriously as well.
  • It is authoritative and final. (Psalm 119:89 – For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.) – Although things may happen on earth that go contrary to His Word; in Heaven it is firmly settled and kept pure for eternity.
  • It is totally sufficient for our needs. (Psalm 19:7-9 – The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.) – “The law of the LORD is perfect” – the Hebrew word translated as “perfect” means perfectly complete, full and whole. So the Word of the Lord is perfect, complete, and whole. It is all sufficient to meet any and every need that arises. God’s word is sufficient to transform people completely from the inside out. This begins with our salvation and continues with our sanctification.
  • It will accomplish what it promises. (Isaiah 55:11 – So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.)

The great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon had these thoughts of this verse “So we are invited to trust in an effectual gospel which can by no means fall to the ground.  We have no cunningly devised fable put before us, but the infallible truth of God who cannot lie.  All things else may fail, but the promise of God will be fulfilled as surely as God is God.

THE GOAL OF COMPREHENSION– We need to do more than just topical studies in the Bible. A topical study is looking up all the relevant passages to a certain topic and studying those. This is not a bad way to study the Bible, but we also need to study the Bible book by book, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse as it was written. Why work at studying the Bible as whole and not just topical studies? Because with topical studies you risk taking or applying a verse out of context; we need to consider all that God has revealed to us in His Word. (Psalm 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.) 

“The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.” – A. W. Tozer 

“The Bible is a harp with a thousand strings. Play on one to the exclusion of its relationship to the others, and you will develop discord. Play on all of them, keeping them in their places in the divine scale, and you will hear heavenly music all the time.” – William P. White 

  • Study and learn the Bible both privately and at church. Come to Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study. The Bible warns us on this subject – “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” II Peter 1:20.
  • Some study only at church and none at home. Others only study at home if they study at all and neglect church services. (Hebrews 10:25 – Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.)
  • Those that study only at home by themselves are more likely to get a false understanding of passages, along with false application of passages. They are more likely to fall for false teachings and false teachers.

BASIC BIBLE STUDY TOOLSSome suggestions for some tools to use as you study the Bible to help and get the most out of your Bible reading/study time. We are told to study God’s word, and we need to study it as efficiently as possible. (II Timothy 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.)

First you need to make sure you are using the right Bible. The King James Version is the Bible English speaking people should be using. Some Bible’s have a paragraph layout instead of a verse layout. The paragraph layout helps you get the complete thought of the writer but can be difficult to use.

  • Dictionaries, maps, study Bibles are also good tools to have as you read and study your Bible. You use these to look up the meaning of words, geographical information, and comments to help explain the meaning of the passage. Make sure you are getting a good reliable study Bible. Consult your Pastor’s opinion on one.
  • Markup tools. Such as colored pens, highlighters, a straight edge to use in aiding underlining of verses. Write notes in the margins of your Bible about what you learned from that passage.

LEARN TO LOOK FOR A BIBLICAL VIEW ON ISSUES – AND NOT JUST A TRADITIONAL VIEWTitus 1:9 says “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Notice the verse says “by sound doctrinenot by tradition of men but by well thought out, researched, studied and reasoned teaching based on God’s Word and God’s Word alone.

We always need to be thinking toward a Biblical view and not just a traditional view. (Mark 7:8a & 13) To get a proper view on any subject we must take into account both God’s terrible holiness, and His gracious forgiveness in view of the sinfulness of man.   To find the Biblical position on issues, we must:

  • Approach the Scriptures open-mindedly. We all have the tendency to believe what we’ve always been taught, without looking at our views critically to see if they are consistent with Scripture. The person who desires to know God’s mind must always come to the Word with a pure heart and an open mind, leaving prejudices and preconceived ideas behind. What is most important is that we find out what God’s Word says not what our traditions or culture say.
  • Look at all of Scripture as a whole on a subject. We cannot just rely on those verses which support our cherished positions.  That is how we so often argue Scripture.  For a view to be Biblical, it must fit every Scriptural text into the view without denying or doing interpretive violence to any position. Scripture must agree with Scripture.
  • Look at each Scripture in its context. The context of a passage will never change the meaning of a verse, but it will clarify the meaning. Each text must be studied on its own, faithfully understanding it in context.  Then, we seek to put all the verses together into a unified and consistent whole.  If the Bible is God’s Word, then every verse’s clear meaning will fit just like a puzzle piece perfectly in the whole of His Word.
  • C.I. Scofield had a great thought on the proper interpretation of scripture ““Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one and never use an if to contradict a verily.”

Seek Biblical answers not just traditional answers, not just good sounding answers, not even at first glance what would appear to be “Biblical” answers, but seek to actually examine the Scriptures for what they truly and actually say. Scripture cannot contradict Scripture and remember and keep at the forefront of your mind that our Lord strongly condemns placing mans traditions above His Word. Learn to always make sure the position you are taking or the stand you are making on an issue is based on God’s Word and not just mans tradition. (Mark 7:6-8a & 13 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.)

WHAT SHOULD BE MY REPSONSE TO THE WORD OF GOD? – Because the Bible is so important to us, because it is so important to learn and heed its teachings and truths, the Bible teaches us that our response to it should consist of the following:

  • Believe it. (John 6:68-69 – Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.) – Do you really believe the Bible? A lot of Christians will say they believe the Bible; but you could not tell it by how they are living their lives. Live your life in such a way it is obvious to all those around you that you actually believe every word of the Bible.
  • Honor it. (Job 23:12 – Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.) – Are you honoring the Bible with your actions? Are you honoring the Word of God with your attitude?
  • Love it. (Psalm 119:97 – O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.) – If you love something, it will be very important to you. You will want to spend lots of time with it. You will make it a priority. Do you really love the Word of God like you should?
  • Obey it. (I John 2:5 – But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.) – Are you obeying all the Word of God or just certain parts of it? We are commanded to keep the whole Word of God. Do you have pet sins you allow to stay in your life that go against teachings in the Bible?
  • Guard it. (I Timothy 6:20 – O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:) – We need to be guarding the Word of God and not being flippant with it, but being sincerely thankful we have such easy access to it as we do.
  • Fight for it. (Jude 3 – Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.) – Sometimes, now it seems more often than not, we will need to take a stand and fight for what we believe the Word of God teaches. If the world comes into conflict with God’s Word, the Bible makes it clear what we are to do “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29.
  • Study and teach it. (Ezra 7:10 – For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.) – This is something we all need to be doing. We all need to be diligently studying the Word of God and we all have someone within our influence who knows less about the Word of God than we do that we could be teaching His Word to.

IN CONCLUSION – For the person willing to study the Bible carefully, there is great reward. (Psalm 1:1-3 – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.) We need to create the good habit of daily Bible reading. Many Christians will meet God never having read his Word through once. Wouldn’t that be a shame? This is why we need to develop the habit of Bible reading and study and keep it up the rest of our life. You need to make reading the Bible a pleasurable experience in order to make it a habit and keep it up. Don’t make it like work, start out small and with the New Testament, Genesis, Psalms and Proverbs then progress to the rest of the Bible. Make use of Bible study aides, make sure you study in context, and make sure you study in church and at home. Most importantly make sure you are studying out of the correct Bible so you can trust you are learning correct doctrine and teaching and not missing others that are left out of the wrong versions of the Bible.

Why is studying the Bible so important to us and “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” The Bible is so important because it contains God’s mind and will for our life, because it is the only source of absolute truth in the world, and because it is to be the Divine authority of our life. The Bible can cleanse our way because it is infallible, because it is inerrant, because it is complete, because it is all sufficient, and because it provides assurance for our salvation.

The Bible is the source of absolute truth, it is the source of victory, it is the source of spiritual growth, it is the source of power and it is the source of guidance. In God’s Word, a genuine Christian may have unlimited confidence. We can wash our minds and our souls by the studying of, meditating on, and praying over the Word of God. The Word of God is of extreme importance in our life. The Word of God is essential to the cleansing of our soul, minds and spirits.

Because of what the Word of God is, what it does, and how it benefits us, we need to respond to it appropriately. We need to first of all simply believe in it as the living Word of the all powerful, omnipresent, omniscient God. We need to honor it, we need to love it, we need to obey it and when necessary, be willing to fight for its truths and teachings. Most importantly we need to be sharing it with others. We need to be witnessing from it to others in order to bring more into the household of faith. What are you doing with the Word of God? Are you neglecting it? Are you not honoring its teachings? Do you need to recommit yourselves to God and His Word? Do you need to put God’s Word back into the proper place in your life? Make that decision and make that commitment to God to make His Word paramount in your life.

 

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