This series of 26 lessons was developed for classroom presentation from the book by David Miller that should be required reading for every preacher, elder, and Bible school teacher in the Lord’s church: Piloting The Strait”.  This book is available from a variety of bookstores, Sain Publications at www.sainpublicans.com as well as from David Miller at www.apologeticspress.org.

 

CHANGES IN THE CHURCH

MECHANISM FOR CHANGE - HERMENEUTICS

 

CORRECT HERMENEUTICAL PROCEDURE

 

John 7:16-18  JESUS ANSWERED THEM, AND SAID, MY DOCTRINE IS NOT MINE, BUT HIS THAT SENT ME.  IF ANY MAN WILL DO HIS WILL, HE SHALL KNOW OF THE DOCTRINE, WHETHER IT BE OF GOD, OR whether I SPEAK OF MYSELF.  HE THAT SPEAKETH OF HIMSELF SEEKETH HIS OWN GLORY: BUT HE THAT SEEKETH HIS GLORY THAT SENT HIM, THE SAME IS TRUE, AND NO UNRIGHTEOUSNESS IS IN HIM.”

 

            Doctrine is a dirty word to those people who would abandon the original teaching of the apostles during the first century and change it for something that is more pleasing to their own ears.  The word doctrine means teaching or instruction; it is a.) something that is taught; b.) a principle or system of belief, c.) a principle of law established through past decisions, or d.) a statement of fundamental policy (when applied to government).  A set principle or set of principles set down as being authoritative, a set principle or set of principles or teachings that is laid down as true and beyond dispute.  The word doctrine is from two Greek words; which if not translated doctrine in other translations as they are in the KJV; they are translated consistently with the definitions just given.

 

Romans 6:17  BUT GOD BE THANKED, THAT YE WERE THE SERVANTS OF SIN, BUT YE HAVE OBEYED FROM THE HEART THAT FORM OF DOCTRINE WHICH WAS DELIVERED YOU.”

 

Romans 16:17  NOW IS BESEECH YOU, BRETHREN, MARK THEM WHICH CAUSE DIVISIONS AND OFFENCES CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH YE HAVE LEARNED; AND AVOID THEM.”

 

Ephesians 4:14  “THAT WE henceforth BE NO MORE CHILDREN, TOSSED TO AND FRO, AND CARRIED ABOUT WITH EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE, BY THE SLEIGHT OF MEN, and CUNNING CRAFTINESS, WHEREBY THEY LIE IN WAIT TO DECEIVE;”

 

II John 9-10  WHOSOEVER TRANSGRESSETH, AND ABIDETH NOT IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, HATH NOT GOD.  HE THAT ABIDETH IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, HE HATH BOTH THE FATHER AND THE SON.   IF THERE COME ANY UNTO YOU, AND BRING NOT THIS DOCTRINE, RECEIVE HIM NOT INTO your HOUSE, NEITHER BID HIM GOD SPEED:”

 

            Doctrine, in fact more correctly right doctrine, was very important to Jesus in his teaching.  It was also very important throughout the New Testament revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through the pens of the apostles and other inspired writers.  Without right teaching, we cannot, will not restore the first century church in today’s world.  To go back to the principles taught during the past few lessons; without the right seed we will not cannot plant, nurture and grow Christians today.

            What do people mean by the statement, “That’s just your interpretation”?  Many mean: “You have your view of what the passage means and I have mine.  Who’s to say mine’s wrong and yours is right?  We should not condemn each other to hold different views.”  Does the Bible have anything to say about this idea?

            We live in a pluralistic society.  This simply means that various differing, even conflicting views are permitted to co-exist.  This attitude is very prevalent in today’s world.  Television talk shows constantly stress that there are no absolutes.  Truth is subjective and relative to many people.  Situation ethics is the accepted norm.  People insist that there are very few, if any, definites—very little black and white, but a lot of gray area.  This problem is compounded by the fact that on any religious or moral question, there are knowledgeable, sincere authorities on every side of any question.  The general posture of the American mindset is that since truth is so elusive, no one should be judgmental of anyone else; no one should be so arrogant or dogmatic as to insist that a certain viewpoint is the only right viewpoint.  Anything that calls itself a church and appears or pretends to follow the Word of God, whether they do or not is OK, I’ve got mine, you’ve got yours and everybody’s going to heaven.

            Even without examining God’s word, we ought to be able to see that this attitude and this position is self-contradictory and unacceptable.  Why?  Because all of those who preach and teach it insist they are correct.  They are dogmatic in their insistence that no one should be dogmatic.  They hold as absolute and certain truth that there can be no absolute and certain truth.  Therefore they have to deny their own viewpoint in order to prove that very viewpoint.  If this sounds like nonsense it is because that their argument denies itself and that doesn’t make sense; it’s illogical and contrary to sound reasoning.

            Only in religion do people take the foolish position that truth is elusive and unattainable.  Only in the task of interpreting the Bible do people take the position that truth is relative, always changing, and something we can never be sure of.  We human beings reason in religion in a way that is foreign from the way we reason is any other facet of our lives.

            Every single day that we live, we interpret thousands of messages accurately.  You read the newspaper, fully expecting to understand what you are reading.  You read books with the same expectation.  You watch the news on TV, you go to the mailbox and get your mail and browse through it, fully expecting to interpret properly the messages being conveyed to you.  The fact that we sometimes misunderstand does not eliminate the fact that we, through examining some additional facts, can correct that misunderstanding.  We go through this process constantly every waking hour of the day, day in and day out, year after year.  We give ourselves credit for having the ability to operate sensibly and communicate with one another intelligently.  Yet people turn around and imply that God, the very one who gave us our minds and ability to reason, can’t communicate with us in a way and manner that is understandable.

            Was the Bible written by God through inspired men with the purpose of making His will known to us?  Did God have the Bible written in such a way that we can grasp the meanings which he intended to convey?  The Bible declares; “yes”!  God has given man written revelation with the understanding that it can be correctly interpreted, understood and applied to our lives.  This means that for every teaching, for every passage, for every verse, for every word in the Bible, there is a meaning that God originally intended to convey.  That’s what Peter meant when he said:

 

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.”

 

Prophecy - the speaking forth the mind of God, we restrict the meaning of this word where the Bible usage doesn’t.

            Man didn’t decide what information to include in this inspired book; God did.  God has given every responsible human being the task of interpreting that one correct interpretation.  There is only one correct interpretation to any given passage of scripture—the right one, God’s interpretation.

            Then let us turn to the New Testament and to Jesus Christ Himself; examine his approach to interpreting the Scripture, look at His attitude toward truth and revelation and examine how the Master Teacher Himself used the Scripture and “go and do likewise.”

 

            Jesus clearly considered Scripture to be divinely inspired.  David recorded:

 

Psalms 110:1  A PSALM OF DAVID.  THE LORD SAID UNTO MY LORD, SIT THOU AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE THINE ENEIMIES THY FOOTSTOOL.”

 

            Jesus said that David spoke by the direction of the Holy Ghost:

 

Mark 12:36  FOR DAVID HIMSELF SAID BY THE HOLY GHOST, THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT THOU ON MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES THY FOOTSTOOL.”

 

Daniel:

 

Daniel 9:27  “AND HE SHALL CONFIRM THE COVENANT WITH MANY FOR ONE WEEK: AND IN THE MIDST OF THE WEEK HE SHALL CAUSE THE SACRIFICE AND THE OBLATION TO CEASE, AND FOR THE OVESPREADING OF ABOMINATIONS HE SHALL MAKE it DESOLATE, EVEN UNTIL THE CONSUMMATION, AND THAT DETERMINED SHALL BE POURED UPON THE DESOLATE.”

 

Jesus:

 

Matthew 24:15  WHEN YE THEREFORE SHALL SEE THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, SPOKEN OF BY DANIEL THE PROPHET, STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE, (WHOSO READETH, LET HIM UNDERSTAND:”)

 

            When Jesus stood in the synagogue in Nazareth in read from Isaiah 61 he declared the this prophecy was fulfilled within their hearing

 

Luke 4:21 “AND HE BEGAN TO SAY UNTO THEM, THIS DAY IS THIS SCRIPTURE FULFILLED IN YOUR EARS.”

 

            There are more examples where we could read each scripture in the Old Testament and Jesus verification of its meaning and inspiration in the New but it is sufficient to site just a couple of more examples:

 

            In Malachi 4:5 the Scripture tells us that the Messiah was to be preceded by one like Elijah; Jesus confirms this in Mark 9:11-13.

            In John 13:18 Jesus tells us that his selection of Judas as a disciple was the inevitable fulfillment of Psalm 22:1.

 

            Jesus recognized Scripture as originating in Heaven in the mind of God, thus imparting a controlling unity to its whole that would be impossible otherwise.  To Jesus the Old Testament was inspired of God from Genesis to Malachi.  His concept of inspiration included what we call “verbal” and “plenary” inspiration.  One author describes “plenary” inspiration as follows:

 

“…The Biblical writers…were preserved from the errors that appear in other books and thus the resulting book, the Bible, is in all its parts the very Word of God, completely true in what it says regarding matters of fact and completely authoritative in its commands.”

 

            Not only did Jesus receive and use the predictive elements of Old Testament Scripture, but He acknowledged the accuracy and credibility of the history contained therein.

 

Jesus confirmed the historical existence of Daniel:

 

Mark 13:14  BUT WHEN YE SHALL SEE THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, SPOKEN OF BY DANIEL THE PROPHET, STANDING WHERE IT OUGHT NOT, (LET HIM THAT READETH UNDERSTAND,) THEN LET THEM THAT BE IN JUDAEA FLEE TO THE MOUNTAINS.”

 

Jesus confirmed Jonah’s fish experience:

 

Matthew 12:40 “FOR AS JONAS WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE WHALE’S BELLY, SO SHALL THE SON OF MAN BE THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH.”

 

And folks, don’t call it a whale.  The Greek word “ketos” is translated incorrectly in the KJV here, it means great fish or sea monster.  Whales are not fish; they’re air breathing, warm blooded mammals who bear their young just as any other mammal on earth.

 

Jesus confirmed the divine creation of Adam and Eve:

 

Matthew 19:4  AND HE ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM, HAVE YE NOT READ, THAT HE WHICH MADE them AT THE BEGINNING MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE.”

 

Jesus confirmed the reality of Noah and the Flood:

 

Luke 17:26-27  AND AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOE, SO SHALL IT BE ALSO IN THE DAYS OF THE SON OF AMN.  THEY DID EAT, THEY DRANK, THEY MARRIED WIVES, THEY WERE GIVEN IN MARRIAGE, UNTIL THE DAY THAT NOE ENTERED INTO THE ARK, AND THE FLOOD CAME, AND DESTROYED THEM ALL.”

 

Jesus confirmed the destruction of Sodom and the fate of Lot’s wife:

 

Luke 17:29-32  BUT THE SAME DAY THAT LOT WENT OUT OF SODOM IT RAINED FIRE AND BRIMSTONE FROM HEAVEN, AND DESTROYED them ALL.  EVEN THUS SHALL IT BE IN THE DAY WHEN THE SON OF MAN IS REVEALED.  IN THAT DAY, HE WHICH SHALL BE UPON THE HOUSETOP, AND HIS STUFF IN THE HOUSE, LET HIM NOT COME DOWN TO TAKE IT AWAY: AND HE THAT IS IN THE FIELD, LET HIM LIKEWISE NOT RETURN BACK.  REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE.”

 

            Jesus believed without any doubt that all scripture written prior to his coming was God breathed, verbally inspired - this means that the very words written were given by God, not just the thoughts for His penmen to transcribe.

            Jesus based his powerful defense of the reality of the resurrection of the dead upon the tense of the grammar in Exodus 3:6

 

“MOREOVER HE SAID, I am THE GOD OF THY FATHER, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB.  AND MOSES HID HIS FACE; FOR HE WAS AFRAID TO LOOK UPON GOD.”

 

If God was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the very moment He was speaking to Moses, though the three had been dead for centuries, then they must still be existing beyond the grave, and of course we understand that they do, waiting the resurrection just as we will.

 

Matthew 22:31-32  “BUT AS TOUCHING THE RESURRECTIOIN OF THE DEAD, HAVE YE NOT READ THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN UNTO YOU BY GOD, SAYING, I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB?  GOD IS NOT THE GOD OF THE DEAD, BUT OF THE LIVING.”

 

            The argument Jesus worded to the Sadducees depends upon the grammatical accuracy of Exodus 3:6 and grammar is used to show that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob still live, albeit in the spirit world.

 

            When Jesus challenged the Pharisees to clarify the identity of the Messiah, He focused upon David’s use of the single term “LORD” in Psalm 110:1

 

“A PSALM OF DAVID.  THE LORD SAID UNTO MY LORD, SIT THOU AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES THY FOOTSTOOL.

Matthew 22:41-45  WHILE THE PHARISEES WERE GATHERED TOGETHER, JESUS ASKED THEM, SAYING, WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST? WHOSE SON IS HE?  THEY SAY UNTO HIM, the son OF DAVID.  HE SAITH UNTO THEM, HOW THEN DOTH DAVID IN SPIRIT CALL HIM LORD, SAYING, THE LORD SAID UNTO MY LORD, SIT THOU ON MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES THY FOOTSTOOL?  IF DAVID THEN CALL HIM LORD, HOW IS HE HIS SON?”

 

            Jesus’ allusion to the “jot and tittle” constituted an implied declaration of belief in verbal inspiration:

 

Matthew 5:18  “FOR VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, TILL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS, ONE JOT OR ONE TITTLE SHALL IN NO WISE PASS FROM THE LAW, TILL ALL BE FULFILLED.”

 

            Archer aptly observes “This indicates that not only the thought conveyed by Scripture, but also the individual words themselves, as valid vehicles of those thoughts and as spelled out by individual letters, are possessed of infallible truth and will surely find their fulfillment and realization.”

 

            The same may be said of Jesus’ quotation of Genesis 2:24 in His discourse on divorce.  “THEREFORE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE UNTO HIS WIFE: AND THEY SHALL BE ONE FLESH.”  Note the wording:

 

Matthew 19:4-5  “AND HE ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM, HAVE YE NOT READ, THAT HE WHICH MADE THEM AT THE BEGINNING MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, AND SAID, FOR THIS CAUSE SHALL A MAN LEAVE FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE: AND THEY TWAIN SHALL BE ONE FLESH?”

 

            The verse Jesus refers to occurs directly after a statement made by Adam.  No indication is given in the text that the words are a direct quote of God.  In fact, these words, if you just read them without understanding their source, would seem to be no more than a comment by Moses, the author of the Pentateuch.  Yet Jesus attributes the words to God.  In other words, God is the author.  This passage is not a record of what God wanted said; it is what God said.

 

            In like manner, all of Scripture is God’s words:

I Corinthians 6:16  WHAT? KNOW YE NOT THAT HE WHICH IS JOINED TO AN HARLOT IS ONE BODY? FOR TWO, SAITH HE, SHALL BE ONE FLESH.”

 

As Warfield and Hodge wrote back in 1881:  “The Scriptures not only contain, but are, the word of God, and hence that all their elements and all their affirmations are absolutely errorless.”  Jesus clearly considered Scripture to be the plenary, verbally inspired word of God.

            On the basis of this divine origin, Jesus also clearly demonstrated His attitude that Scripture is authoritative and that men are obligated to follow its precepts.  When he described Abraham’s chat with the rich man in Hades, He quoted Abraham’s remark Luke 16:29 “ABRAHAM SAITH UNTO HIM, THEY HAVE MOSES AND THE PROPHETS; LET THEM HEAR THEM.”  By doing so, He manifested His high regard for the authority of the Old Testament as the ultimate voice and guide for men in that day.

            To Jesus Scripture was the ground of belief.  When he appeared unto certain of his disciples as recorded in Luke 24 he upbraids them because they did not believe the words of Scripture:

 

Luke 24:25  THEN HE SAID UNTO THEM, O FOOLS, AND SLOW OF HEART TO BELIEVE ALL THAT THE PROPHETS HAVE SPOKEN.”

 

He told the Jews:

 

John 5:39  SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES; FOR IN THEM YE THINK YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE: AND THEY ARE THEY WHICH TESTIFY OF ME.”

 

John 5:46-47  FOR HAD YE BELIEVED MOSES, YE WOULD HAVE BELIEVED ME: FOR HE WROTE OF ME.  BUT IF YE BELIEVE NOT HIS WRITINGS, HOW SHALL YE BELIEVE MY WORDS?”

 

Jesus asserted that the Old Testament bore authoritative divine witness to Himself and, in so doing, bore witness to its own authority.

 

More examples:

 

Matthew 12:39-40—Jonah’s experience (Jonah 1:17) foreshadowed Jesus’ own burial:  (Luke 11:30) “FOR AS JONAS WAS A SIGN UNTO THE NINEVITES, SO SHALL ALSO THE SON OF MAN BE TO THIS GENERATION.”

 

Matthew 4:17 (following) Jesus opposed Jewish traditions and scribal commentary for making void the word of God.

 

Mark 12:10  To confirm the point of his parable Jesus introduced an authoritative Scripture with the rhetorical query, “HAVE YOU NOT READ THIS SCRIPTURE?”

 

Luke 4:21 – Jesus declared Isaiah 61:1-2 to be applicable to those who were in his presence on that occasion.

 

Luke 24:27,44 – Jesus expounded the Old Testament Scriptures and declared the necessity of their fulfillment as being authoritative for His listeners.

 

John 15:25 – Words from a Psalms 35:19 and 69:4 are described as “law.”

“BUT this cometh to pass, THAT THE WORD MIGHT BE FULFILLED THAT IS WRITTEN IN THEIR LAW, THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.”

 

            Perhaps the most striking proof that Jesus viewed Scripture as authoritative is the occasion where He ascribes legal authority to the entirety of Scripture—a view also held by the people.

 

John 12:34 “THE PEOPLE ANSWERED HIM, WE HAVE HEARD OUT OF THE LAW THAT CHRIST ABIDETH FOR EVER: AND HOW SAYEST THOU, THE SON OF MAN MUST BE LIFTED UP? WHO IS THIS SON OF MAN?

 

He maintained that the “scripture cannot be broken” in John 10:34-35, Jesus was asserting that its authority cannot be annulled, denied, or withstood.  Scripture’s authority is final and irrevocable.  It governs all of life and will be fulfilled come what may.  Clearly, Jesus’ uniform attitude toward Scripture was one of complete trust and confidence in its authority.

            Jesus also viewed Scripture as propositional, absolute and objective.  Phrases like “IT IS WRITTEN,” “GOD SAID,” “THROUGHT THE PROPHETS,” and “SCRIPTURE SAYS” show that Jesus and His apostles esteemed the Old Testament as divine and regarded its precepts as absolute truth.  Its objective and absolute quality is seen in His frequent allusion to the Jewish writings as a unit—a well defined total collection of that which is sacred scripture.

 

Matthew 5:17-18  THINK NOT THAT I AM COME TO DESTROY THE LAW, OR THE PROPHETS: I AM NOT COME TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFIL.  FOR VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, TILL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS, ONE JOT OR TITTLE SHALL IN NO WISE PASS FROM THE LAW, TILL ALL BE FULFILLED.”

 

Luke 24:44 “AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, THESE are THE WORDS WHICH I SPAKE UNTO YOU, WHILE I WAS YET WITH YOU, THAT ALL THINGS MUST BE FULFILLED, WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, AND in THE PROPHETS, AND in THE PSALMS, CONCERNING ME.”

 

Matthew 24:35  HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY, BUT MY WORDS SHALL NOT PASS AWAY.”

 

            The evidence that Jesus viewed the Scripture as an objective body of truth was evident in several ways:

 

His dazzling of the doctors of law at age twelve: Luke 2:47  AND ALL THAT HEARD HIM WERE ASTONISHED AT HIS UNDERSTANDING AND ANSWERS.”

 

His contradiction of those who opposed Him by declaring their source of religious error to be their ignorance of the Scriptures:  Mark 12:24 “AND JESUS ANSWERING SAID UNTO THEM, DO YE NOT THEREFORE ERR, BECAUSE YE KNOW NOT THE SCRIPTURES, NEITHER THE POWER OF GOD?”  This kind of ignorance is the source of much of the error being taught today as well; that plus man’s refusal to accept the authority of God.

 

He prodded the Pharisees to consult the Old Testament and learn its lessons; his response to the Pharisees in Matthew 9:13 refers directly back to Hosea 6:6 “BUT GO YE AND LEARN WHAT that MEANETH, I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE: FOR I AM NOT COME TO CALL THE RIGHTEOUS, BUT SINNERS TO REPENTANCE.”

 

We summarize Jesus attitude to the sacred Scriptures:

 

1.     Jesus consistently treated the historical narratives as straightforward records of fact.  As Wenham pointed out, “it is evident that he was familiar with most of our Old Testament and that he treated it all equally as history.”

2.     Jesus accepted the very narratives that modern critics find unacceptable.

3.     His application of the historical record was normal and literal rather than allegorical or figurative.

4.     He took issue with the deceptive interpretations of the religious leaders of his day.  Matthew 15:1-9

5.     The scribes and Pharisees never accused Him of unnatural or illegitimate use of Scripture.  Matthew 7:28-29  AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN JESUS HAD ENDED THESE SAYINGS, THE PEOPLE WERE ASTONISHED AT HIS DOCTRINE: FOR HE TAUGHT THEM AS one HAVING AUTHORITY, AND NOT AS THE SCRIBES.”

 

            Jesus’ own attitude toward Scripture was sound and the same as we should have.  One writer concludes “the New Testament itself lays the basis for the grammatical-historical method of modern evangelical hermeneutics.”

 

            We spent a considerable amount of time and effort looking at examples that tell us about Jesus attitude toward the sacred Scriptures; now we’re going to take a brief look at His use of Scripture before we examine the basic principles of good Bible hermeneutics.

 

            Jesus quoted from the Old Testament frequently and relied very heavily upon Scripture.  He constantly reiterated to His disciples the need for complete saturation of the life of a faithful follower of God by the written Word of God. Luke 24:27.

He constantly affirmed the certainty of Scripture’s fulfillment in the world Luke 24:44-46.  He possessed a sense of the unity of history and its completeness and relationship to the current life and times Luke 11:50-51. 

            Preachers among churches of Christ were once distinguished by their “book, chapter and verse” approach to preaching.  This very quality was typical of Jesus and a reflection of His example.  Yet many of our preachers and members today are far more impressed by the words of Swindoll, Dodson, Stott, Skinner, Kierkegaard, and Barth than with the words of John, Jesus, Peter, Paul and Moses.  Many have abandoned the primary sources of truth in exchange for that which is secondary, inferior and in many cases in error. We are now the most academically educated generation in the churches’ history -- yet at the same time the most ignorant when it comes to plain Bible knowledge.  The brethren that fit that description have made a bad trade.

            In addition to His heavy dependence on the quotation of Scripture; Jesus also repeatedly demonstrated an incredible capability (after all He is God) for the sharp, potent, penetrating use of logic and sound argument.  The first example we find at the age of twelve.  Luke 2:45-51.

            He reasoned with John in order to convince him to go ahead and baptize Him.  Matthew 3:13-15.  Perhaps the greatest example of all is found in Matthew 4:1-11 where he reasoned with Satan as Satan attempted to snare him into sin.

 

            Jesus also demonstrated a marvelous mastery of debate and logical disputation.  He used this talent throughout his ministry.  He consistently responded to His contemporaries with piercing, devastating logic.  This is something that “modern scholars” condemn and ridicule – we’re just not supposed to even hint that those who misinterpret, misapply, misunderstand the scripture; or more often try to make it say what they want, are wrong.  Teaching Biblical principles by reasoned, logical, public discussion according to our “modern scholars” is unloving; we’re not supposed to do that.  Jesus wouldn’t understand that because that was a way he used frequently:

            The exchange with the Pharisees over eating grain; Matthew 12:1-9.

            The dialogue with chief priests and elders over authority; Matthew 21:23-27.

            The interaction with the Pharisees over taxes; Matthew 22:15-22

            The response to the Sadducees concerning marriage and the resurrection Matthew 22:23-33

            The argument posed to the Pharisees over the identity of the Messiah; Matthew 22:41-46

            The demonstrations of healing on the Sabbath Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:14-16; and Luke 14:1-6.

            The response to the lawyers concerning the source of His miraculous power; Luke 11:14-26.

            The answer concerning fasting; Luke 5:33-39

            The handling of Simon’s disgruntled view of the sinful woman; Luke 7:36-50

            The exchange with the Pharisees concerning His triumphal entry into Jerusalem; Luke 19:39-40

            The comments upon the occasion of his arrest Luke 22:47-53.

 

            Jesus was so sensible and rational in His discourse that when hard-hearted Jews declared Him to be mad or demon-possessed, others set them straight.  John 10:21 “OTHERS SAID, THESE ARE NOT THE WORDS OF HIM THAT HATH A DEVIL.  CAN A DEVIL OPEN THE EYES OF THE BLIND?”

 

            Next we address Jesus’ use of implication or what some call “necessary inference” as a principle of applying Biblical knowledge to our lives today.  Jesus relied heavily on implication.  Modern “scholars” are surely uncomfortable with Jesus use of what has come to be called “necessary inference.”  Indeed within churches of Christ, cries which call for an abandonment of implication in interpreting the Scriptures are growing ever louder.  Not only is such thinking self-contradictory, it is foolish in light of Jesus own accurate use of implication.  A few examples follow:

 

            In Matthew 4:1-11 every case of Jesus use of Old Testament Scripture to counter Satan’s arguments requires proper reasoning and drawing of correct conclusions implied by his explicit statements.

            In Matthew 12:1-9, Jesus implied that if the Pharisees accepted David, who clearly violated Old Testament law, they should have no problem accepting the disciples, who did not violate Old Testament law.             In Matthew 22:41-45, in response to Jesus’ question, the Pharisees identified the Christ as David’s son, no doubt alluding to II Samuel 7:11-17.  Jesus cited Psalms 110:1 in order to encourage the Pharisees to fit two distinct concepts together by reasoning correctly about them and inferring what is clearly implied by them.  In Psalms 110:1 in its original context refers to the supremacy and conquest of the Messiah over the world.  But Jesus focused upon an implication of the passage – that the Messiah would be both physically descended from David and yet Lord over David.  He implied that His Jewish hearers were refusing to recognize His Lordship over them.  By rejecting Him, they were rejecting David’s Lord – the Son of God.!

 

            Jesus approached Scripture with the abiding conviction that the Old Testament is the authoritative, absolute, propositional, plenary, verbally inspired words of God.  In His handling of Scripture, He relied heavily upon extensive Scripture quotation, proper logical reasoning, and the use of implication.  Those who refuse to imitate him today; place their spiritual wellbeing in jeopardy!