If we are to speak where the Bible speaks then we must study the Bible. How can we “give an answer to every man” for our faith without study? (1 Peter 3:15) How can we “speak as the oracles of God” if we don’t know what the oracles of God are? (1 Peter 4:11)
A little boy listened intently as his Sunday school teacher talked about Sodom and Gomorrah. He asked, “Did you say that Sodom and Gomorrah were cities? I thought they were husband and wife like Dan and Beersheba.”
The only way to overcome a lack of knowledge of the Word is through study. “Study to show thyself approved unto God.” (2 Timothy 2:15). “Search the scriptures.” (John 5:29). On one occasion Jesus said, “Ye do err not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29).
Ignorance can destroy. God said, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6). These people were Old Testament dropouts. Similarly, a lack of knowledge can bring destruction to God’s people today.
Through rightly dividing the Word, we can learn that there are two main divisions of the Bible: (1) the Old Testament consisting of 39 books and (2) the New Testament consisting of 27 books. The Old Testament is divided into four main divisions: (1) law, (2) history (3) poetry, and (4) prophecy.
The New Testament is likewise divided into four selections: (1) biography or life of Christ, (2) history, (3) letters, and (4) prophecy. The Old Testament was abrogated when Christ died upon the cross. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” (Colossians 2:14). All of the blessings of salvation that men receive today are upon the terms of Christ’s last will and testament. “And for this cause He is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” (Hebrews 9:15-17). This explains why the thief on the cross was not told to be baptized. He lived and died before the will of Christ was effective.
We must understand that there are three ages of Bible history if we are to be effective students of the Word. The first age of Bible history is called the Patriarchal age. It lasted for some 2500 years, beginning with the creation and ending with the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. The second age, known as the Mosaical age, began with the giving of the Law of Moses and lasted up to the death of Christ on the cross. The third and final age, known as the Christian age, began with the death of Christ and will last until He comes again.
If, as members of the church of Christ, we are to present the restoration plea, we must have a good, working knowledge of the Bible.
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
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