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Torah
See also... Bible Numerics
Studies on the word of God
The Purpose For Our Studies

These presentations are designed to help the reader hear clearly and distinctly from God when reading the bible in a simple and easily understood format—uncluttered with the theological jargon that does not always help the ordinary person in practical or workable terms.

The academic approach deals with the construction and background of certain parts of the bible looking at such things as the parsing... tense, verb, mood, or the various other theological terms like exegesis, homiletics, hermeneutics and the like. Whilst they may be good and valid, most average believers need to “get something” out of the bible that really means something to them—something that works or applies to them personally. Many times the terminologies employed might not mean as much to the reader as it does to theologians who are interested in things like situational, normative, existential perspectives and triperspectivalism. Without wanting so seem rude, you might not even understand what those things mean, so why get bogged down in the things that are meaningless to you as an individual.

From my experience it seems that most people do not talk like theologians do. They want to hear God speak to them on a personal level in a way that they can readily understand and apply in their lives.

A term often used is exegesis. It relates to how our speech changes over the years so that something that was commonplace in one generation may not be used as much in later generations. My father grew up in an era when men doffed their hats when meeting a woman. We no longer wear hats in the same way today so that word doff is most likely foreign to us, even though It is still real and valid.

For your information it simply means to take off.

In biblical terms, what was easily understood and common practice once may no longer be customary now and their meaning may be lost to us.

If we want to understand the meaning of these ancient texts, some hard work is probably required.

The problem here is with the word work. Whilst we are not to be lazy and avoid putting in some effort, the word work implies self effort and that is something God dislikes, as it can come into the realm of good works, The things of God such as salvation are free gifts. We cannot earn them, work for them, buy them or live in a code of conduct that earns them. They help of course. We shall see later that the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in revealing through to us is what matters most. Paul elaborated-

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10

Nevertheless, studying is essential. He advised Timothy, a young pastor, to study, so we do need to study and that does mean putting in some effort to it.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

In plain language it means to do your best to show God that you can dissect scripture correctly and thus meet His requirements. If we can “rightly divide the word of truth”, we can incorrectly divide it.

We thus must ensure that we “get it right”, but this is where we face problems. By what standards do we measure accuracy?

The problems we face is that there are many different “versions” or translations, presenting differing points of view in knowing precisely what God actually said.

The differences seen in various parts of the church have often led to translations that led to be flavoured by a particular denominational belief or structure that may or may not be totally accurate.

For example we have the Book of Mormon that is influenced by their beliefs and the Roman Catholic bible that includes the Apocrypha that is not readily accepted as being authentic by most Protestants. I personally have a problem with the Apocrypha as it lacks that certain ring of authenticity, or inspiration and revelation, that I find elsewhere.

In turn the Protestant bibles can be flavoured by certain denominational beliefs that often differ. There could be a Presbyterian influence, a Baptist influence, an orthodox influence, a Charismatic influence and so on.

Unless the reader is listening to the Holy Spirit who is our teacher now according to Jesus, he or she may not understand what God really said and if we do not know what God is saying to us, our lives may suffer or we could live at a lower standard than what God wants.

God wants us to both know—and apply correct doctrine. He wants us to receive correction and when necessary, reproof and wants us to know how to live righteously as Paul just revealed and it is not simply to be well educated and versed in bible knowledge, but to be perfect, and thoroughly furnished in good works. The Jewish scholars of Jesus’ day excelled in their knowledge of scripture. They could tell us if there should be a comma or a semi-colon in a passage, but they lacked a personal relationship with God and lacked the revelation knowledge contained within. They may have been “right” in their doctrinal assertions, but lacked the elements that were of greater importance and Jesus rebuked them for their attitude. It is possible that modern day theologians are falling into the same traps.

In an attempt to make the bible more readable, such as avoiding the old King James words that seem antiquated, certain words have been replaced by more modern English. In the translation process however, errors can and do occur. When there is a particular word in the original language that the translators found difficult, another word is substituted that could be totally wrong and perhaps change the whole meaning of the word or sentence.

We also need to be mindful that our modern bibles are divided into chapters and verses, not found in the original texts. It is easy to misinterpret something as a result.

We also must remember that God talks to different groups of peoples. He deals with Jews who have a covenant uniquely theirs, with The Church that has another covenant and with the Gentiles who have no relationship at all. If we do not take this into consideration,we could think that He is talking to The Church, but in fact is talking to the Jews only and vice-versa.

Making such a mistake could lead to error. Therefore we would like to show you a good way to read God’s word for yourself.

The Role of the Holy Spirit

Most Christians acknowledge in some way that God has spoken to us through His word and that all scripture is God breathed, or Divinely inspired. Often times however, many professing believers do not allow the Holy Spirit to speak to them through the written word of God.

Most people want to know that God loves them, that He has a good plan and a future for them, that they are wanted and that they have a purpose for their existence without having to struggle with terms that are not used in their everyday vocabulary.
A simple answer to such a question as, “God, do you love me?” is what they want. It is “Yes” and a clear yes at their level at a given point in time.
If someone is in a desperate predicament facing a life or death situation, a theological approach could be totally useless. A quick, “Lord, help. Save me” prayer is all that is required. This person could be staring down the barrel of a gun pointed at them, or in an airplane that is going down, so it probably would not matter about the parsing of a passage, or if a particular word is in the masculine or not. A quick, “Help me” is what is required.

Reading the word of God can be a simple matter, whereby the reader can come to God in a simple and workable manner, or become bogged down in terminology without having God actually “touch them” or “speak to them”. This is what matters most and this is the approach in my studies. I would like you, a real person, with real needs, issues and problems, real experiences in life, to know not just about God, but actually know Him and understand how you can relate in real terms with each other. I must be careful in what I say and how I say it, but I have found that the pure academic or theological approach does not always achieve this. It often discounts the role of the Holy Spirit in imparting truth to us.

Paul advised Timothy-

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.
Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.
This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus.
They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith. But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The LORD knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the LORD must turn away from evil.” 2 Timothy 2:13-19

A portion of this in the KJV reads-

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

The word approved is dokimos. It relates to the assaying of precious metals. Gold or silver is purchased by weight and if you paid a certain sum for the precious metal, you would not like to be cheated and not receive the correct weight in return for your money. It can also refer to counterfeits whereby base metal is coated with a thin layer of gold or silver.

Unscrupulous money changers often shaved rough edges of coins and saved the filings. When they collected enough, it was a considerable amount.
The term used to ensure that after appropriate testing, the gold is genuine and is correct weight  is dokimos. God wants us to have the full, pure and accurate measure.

Another word to look at is orthotomeo that is derived from two other words. One is orthos and it refers to  being right, correct, honest,level or straight. The other is tomos and it means to cut. It speaks about making a clean, sharp, clearly defined single cut as opposed to repetitive hacking. Medical terms are derived form  these words and it can relate to the work of a surgeon whose operations are performed with sharp instruments and the making of precise incisions.

Summing them up it simply means that God does not want us to guess, and chop and change, but accurately know for sure what He has said.

The word workman refers to fellow-labourers, co-workers, labourers and teachers. Part of the original word is ergon that talks about energy or to toil. Whilst some reference is made to this as one’s occupation, it applies to all believers, who are to spend some time and effort, hence, energy, in studying God’s word.

There are 10,080 minutes per week. We could watch TV for, say, 800 minutes a week, go to our job for  2,400 minutes, sleep for a similar time and still have at least 4000 minutes remaining. With proper time management as good seawards of what God has given us, surely we could spend some of that time with the Lord
It is up to the individual to do what is possible and we can all do that.

The role of the Holy Spirit is to teach us and to reveal truth. 

If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 
Jesus answered and said unto him,
 
If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.John 14:15-31 

...when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. John 15:26-27 

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto youJohn 16:7-15 

It is my belief that, based on such scriptures and personal experience in my walk with the Lord for more than 50 years, that if anyone really wants to know the truth, the Holy Spirit is the way to receive it. When we read scripture, He and He alone is our best source. Trust Him!

The Bible Is Not To Be Altered

Whilst there are scores of different versions or translations of the bible, in which during the translating process, certain parts of the original texts may have been changed, I am not suggesting that we avoid them completely. It is good to compare texts and do a comparison in our studies as I do. My electronic library consists of many more versions than I care to name.

What I am referring to is an attempt to deliberately “change” the text either by way of totally removing portions, or by adding additional words that may or may not be divinely inspired. It is one thing to disagree with certain teachings, merely because we do not agree with a particular doctrine or have not yet seen the truth embodied within, but a different matter altogether by wanting to tear it out of the bible altogether.

What we call “canon of scripture” is our safety net. What it means is that the words are considered to be authentic. They have that certain ring of authenticity about them that other writings do not possess.

The Hebrew and Greek languages themselves may verify this. In a topic called Bible Numerics it is possible to see a “code” woven into scripture that is consistent throughout the bible. If, for example the Hebrew or Greek letter a could also be the equivalent of number one. The letter b could also be the number 2 and so on. Each number can take on definite symbolism. There if only 1 God so one speaks of unity etc. The number 5 can often speak of God’s grace. Man’s number is 6. The number 40 describes trial, probation and testing. To see more on this matter, please visit the page Bible Numerics (click the link).

When we read scripture therefore, it is quite possible to see a definite pattern that indicates divine origin. Deliberately changing this in any way can “break that code”.

By ensuring that we refer as much as possible to the original language, we can both receive the inspiration and revelation that God wants us to receive and avoid error.

Jesus said that His word would last forever in Matthew 24:3; Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33. Because God’s words are creative and true, we dare not presume to change them. The scriptures themselves tell us not to do that.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Revelation 22:18-19

References:

Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, 18:20, 27:26
Psalm 119:161
Proverbs 30:6
Jeremiah 23:36, 26:2, 36:23
Zephaniah 3:4
Matthew 5:19, 15:6
2 Corinthians 2:17, 2 Corinthians 4:2
Galatians 1:8
1 Timothy 6:14
2 Peter 3:16


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