The following lecture is provided by Blue Letter Bible. This course, The History of Redemption, is taught by Pastor David Shirley.
Lord, we come, with fear and trembling because whenever we are to exegete Your Word verse by verse, we feel so comfortable because it is Your Word. And yet when we go into any class that is not a verse-by-verse exposition it seems like man’s thoughts enter in and get in the way. It causes a little bit of fear and trembling. It reminds us of what James says—“Be careful and do not many of you be teachers because there is going to be a judgment, a scrutiny about it” (cf. James 3:1). So Lord, I pray that You would certainly keep me from twisting the Scriptures in any way. Keep us from that peril of 2 Peter 3 where they twisted the Word to their own destruction. Help us to see the whole and the unity of the Bible. Help us to follow sound principles in all of our exegesis and interpretation. May this prove to be something that keeps us from error, Lord. We ask for Your help in this. We bow before You and pray that You would give us childlike hearts. Make us babes in the heart, Lord, willing to submit and obey. If You reveal anything in Your Word to us, may our hearts be willing to put it into practice, to observe it, and to do it. Lord, open our eyes that we might see Your perspective. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
This class is called “The History of Redemption.” It is a survey of the whole Bible. We will go through the whole Bible twice from Genesis to Revelation. The first time we go through it we will emphasize what God did; the second time through, we will emphasize what God said. It is a history but it is a special history. It has two main objectives. The first objective is to see the unity of the Bible as it presents God’s plan of salvation for mankind from Genesis to Revelation. We want to string the pearls onto the same chain, so that we can see that there is a unity to the sixty-six books of the Bible. The Old Testament begins in Genesis 1:1 with God; the New Testament begins in Matthew 1:1 with Christ. There is a unity, a wholeness, and an integrity about the sixty-six books of the Bible. So, one of the purposes is to for us to see that integrity.
The second objective is to review the general content of the books of the Bible in order to see what the Bible is all about. We want to review the general content of each of the books of the Bible in order to see their integration and thematic relationship. The theme of the Bible is redemption—the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. We want to keep that theme in mind as we move through the sixty-six books of the Bible. As we begin to see how God has worked in this world to provide salvation for man, our appreciation for God and His Word will no doubt grow.
Actually, the term I like to use for this is “logical mapping” of the Bible because that is what we will do. We want to set the Bible out like a map. When we hold the map out completely open, we get to see the relationships of the main roads, the side roads, the freeways, the interstates, and the states. We can get perspective when we know where we are because we can see the whole map. And that is what this class is about.
So we approach the survey of the Bible from two points of view. First, we will look at what God has done and is accomplishing in history. Secondly, we will look at what God has spoken or revealed in terms of Scripture.
We have two basic theologies today in the church. One of them is called dispensational theology and the other is covenant theology. When a person focuses on what God has done and how He has acted through the periods of history, he will become a dispensationalist. If a person focuses on what God has said, then he will become a covenant theologian. What I hope to show in this class is that we do not need to become either one; when we read through the Bible, we are going see what God has done and what God has said are never in conflict. We do not have to polarize and choose a theology. We need to step back and see the whole forest and not get lost in the trees.
I see more false teaching and false doctrine—even among Calvary Chapels—because people focus on the trees and do not ever bring the relationship back to the forest. We are hoping to step back during this course and see the whole forest in order to keep the theme of the Bible, which is redemption, before us.
First of all, when we go through the Bible, we are going to look at what God did. And then when we go through the second time from Genesis to Revelation, we are going to look at what God said.
The purpose of the class is to make sure that we go through things point by point, because we hear and understand and retain about 62% of what we do hear. And so hopefully, by the time the class is over we can step back and see these things.
In Acts 20:27 we read, “I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” Paul did not just preach part of the Word; he preached the entire, complete message of God. He gave the whole counsel of God.
We are told to, “Study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen who do not need to be ashamed.” Why? It is because we are “rightly dividing the word of truth” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15). How can you rightly divide something if you have never seen the whole thing?
Let’s say your room orders a pizza and you get a whole pizza. Maybe three people in the room paid for the pizza. Maybe six people in the room paid for the pizza. Or maybe three paid but you are still going to share it with five of them, even though they did not have money. The point is that you do not know how to divide that pizza until you know the whole deal. Unless you want to just divide it in twelve slices and everybody just digs in. One guy eats three and by the time the last person gets there, there is one little slice and somebody has picked off the olives. That is a bummer. But if you see the whole thing then you can rightly divide it. Likewise, people often try to rightly divide the Word of God, but they have never even seen the whole picture. They are trying to make some kind of division on a little bit of information and they have not stepped back to see the whole thing.
It is like having a puzzle with sixty-six pieces. You throw out those sixty-six pieces, shuffle them like a card deck, and then you are going to have to put them together. You fit a little piece at a time until finally you get to where you can see the whole thing. You say, “Right! Now I have the picture!” And now it is not so puzzling. Then the next time you go on vacation, you may take some friends with you and you can take the same puzzle. This time when you throw it back out you will probably be more prepared to put that puzzle together again, won’t you? You will remember, “Oh yeah, I remember this piece. I remember that. I had trouble with that. That fits right over there.” And the more you get back and see the whole thing, the easier it is to put the pieces where they belong.
Whenever we are interpreting and applying the Bible we want to make sure that we keep before us the central theme of the Bible, which is the theme of redemption. That is the basic hermeneutic principle. You must always bring things back to redemption and we are going to try to do that in this class.
The unity of the Bible is Christocentric as a whole. The key to the interpretation of the Bible is Jesus Christ. Christ is the theme of each of the eight sections of the Bible. The first section is the Law. We have the foundation that is laid in Jesus Christ in the Law. Next in Genesis we have the doctrine of election, which comes from the seed that is Christ. After this we have redemption. Then in Leviticus we have sanctification and the setting apart of His people. In Numbers we have the direction of God’s people. In Deuteronomy we have the instruction of God’s people, not unlike the Epistles that explain to us these things. So that is the first section of the Bible, the Law. This is laying the foundation for all the rest of the Bible.
The second major grouping of Scripture is history and that is recorded from Joshua to Esther. The history is just a preparation for Christ. Joshua goes in and possesses the land, and then Saul comes and stabilizes the land. David shows up and expands the land. Solomon comes on the scene and glorifies the land and the nation. But beginning in 1 Kings 12 there is a division. The land begins to be divided and they deteriorate from Samaria to Jerusalem. The Israelites are deported to Babylon for seventy years. But even after that we see evidence of God’s faithfulness as Esther is providentially protected, Ezra comes back to restore, and Nehemiah comes back to reconstruct everything. And so God is still faithful.
The history is just a preparation for Christ; and so, as you read the history, you always want to keep in mind why the history was written. It is possible to come up with some real wild interpretations of Scripture within the history of Israel. But if you will always go back to the fact that the history of Israel was to prepare the world for the coming Messiah and you relate your interpretation to that theme of redemption, you will be kept from error. What is the history of God’s people? It is the story of their failure and God’s faithfulness, and it is a wonderful history.
Then you get into the third section of Scripture that is poetry. In poetry what you are seeing is an aspiration for Christ. That is what is expressed from Job to the Song of Solomon. If you will interpret the poetry section of Scripture on the basis of it being an aspiration and desire for Christ, again, you will not find yourself in trouble or off on some tangent somewhere. You will always bring it back to the purpose of that section of Scripture. It is all about aspiring and wanting a relationship with Jesus Christ. That is why it was written.
Prophecy is the fourth section of Scripture. Prophecy is the expectation of Christ. From Isaiah to Malachi it is one prophecy after another.
Then the fifth category is when you get to the Gospels and you see finally there is the manifestation of the Christ that was promised. The Messiah is here. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give us four pictures of Him that are quite beautiful.
In Acts the sixth area of Scripture is the propagation of Christ throughout the world.
The seventh category is the interpretation and application of Christ in the Epistles, from Romans to Jude.
And finally, the eighth section in Revelation gives us the consummation of Christ.
So, we have the same plan from the very beginning; from Genesis 15 to Romans 4 there has been one plan that God has given. What is that plan? It is the plan of redemption. You can become redeemed because you can be made righteous by faith in Christ. The Old Testament and the New Testament have exactly the same plan. It has not changed. Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4 reveal the same exact plan. It is the same promise. God said that He would come and dwell in Abraham’s midst. God took His name and put it right in the middle of Abram’s name. He put Yahweh right in the middle and made it “Abraham” (cf. Genesis 17:3-5).
So the plan and the promise are still the same today. If we will separate ourselves, set ourselves apart, God will come and dwell in our midst. That is what God has always wanted—to live, to abide, and to dwell in us.
In Genesis 17, the Old Testament sign that someone was in a relationship with God was circumcision. What is the sign in the New Testament? It is still circumcision. In the Old Testament, it was a circumcision that was outward. But God wanted it to be inward not just outward. In the New Testament He makes it clear that outward circumcision really does not do you any good, but it is an inward circumcision of the heart according to Romans 2:28 and Colossians 2:11. So the sign has not changed; it is still the same sign—it is circumcision.
And the Mediator is the same from beginning to end. It has been the one Man, Jesus Christ. So in all of these sections of Scripture, God has kept the same plan. He has kept the same design. He has kept the same covenant. He has kept the same relationship. He has kept the same mediator and nothing has changed in all of these things.
So we want to take a few moments to focus on Christ. I want to go through and read these because even before we get started in the class, I want to think about Christ and how He is the theme of every single book in the Bible.
Begin in Genesis and think about it; He is the Seed of the woman. God said to Satan,
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed: He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. (Genesis 3:15)
That is where the whole concept of election begins. It is in the Seed. Just as when a seed comes forth and forms a flower, everything about it—the smell, the shape, the texture, the size—was in the seed. It develops into this beautiful flower. So it is with our salvation. It is in the Seed. The Seed is Jesus Christ and He is what develops. So in Genesis, He is the Seed of the woman.
In Exodus He is the Passover Lamb.
Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house. (Exodus 12:3, KJV)
Our redemption has been based on the Passover Lamb that shed His blood as a perfect, spotless sacrifice. Christ is the Lamb of the book of Exodus. We cannot read Exodus without realizing that all of the deliverance that takes place in Exodus reflects the deliverance that is in Jesus Christ. We want to point to Him.
In Leviticus He is the atoning sacrifice.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11)
The one thing that really sanctifies us and sets us apart is the blood of Jesus Christ. Even in the New Testament that is why communion is such a heavy issue. We read in 1 Corinthians 5:11 that with certain people we are not to eat. Does that mean that we cannot eat an In-n-Out burger with them? No, it means that we cannot partake of communion with them. It is okay to go have a sandwich with them and share with them no matter who they are. But communion, His atoning life blood, is the one thing that sets us apart from everybody else. That is our sanctification. People can come up with all kinds of weird concepts from the New Testament about sanctification. If they would just get back and see the big picture in the Bible, they would not have all this weirdness in their doctrines because it is Christ who sets us apart.
In Numbers He is the smitten rock. In Numbers 20 He says,
Take the rod, gather the assembly together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes and it shall be to you his word. And you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock so that you shall give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses lifted up his hand and with his rod smote the rock twice and the water came out abundantly and the congregation drank and their beasts also. (cf. Numbers 20:9-11)
The Lord is giving direction to His people. If you read the book of Numbers at one sitting, and relate the theme of Numbers to the theme of the Bible (which is redemption), you will see that receiving direction from God is all about the smitten rock. What does that tell you? What is the first question you should always ask in terms of direction? Most Christians today do not ask it; that is the last question you ask. You usually ask, “Will every thing work out so I have enough money? Will every thing work out so that all is hunky-dory?” No, the first question in terms of direction should always lead you to the smitten rock, which is a picture of Christ on the cross. And the first question in terms of direction you should ask, as a Christian is: “How much of the cross is involved in it?” But isn’t that often times the last question you ever ask? Well, let’s go do it. And the Christian thinks, well, if it all works out so perfectly for me, well then, maybe that is God’s will.
The reality is that God is directing your life to the cross. The Holy Spirit is leading you to the cross. Your direction should be toward the smitten rock. And the whole book of Numbers is about how God directs His people. But if you do not see the big picture, you will come up with weird ideas about how to find direction from God. Instead of asking all your friends and getting a hundred opinions, ask this simple question: What does the smitten rock have to do with the cross? If you are moving in that direction, it is the Holy Spirit who is leading you and not the flesh or the desires of the fleshly mind. This is a huge issue.
But notice how gracious God is in terms of His direction. Even when leadership fails, God is still gracious. Moses was supposed to speak to the rock because it was a picture of the resurrected Christ who would lead the children of Israel. But he smote the rock twice because it worked for Moses once before. When leadership fails to do what is right, you might think that your life could get messed up because you were following the wrong leaders. However, even if leadership has failed, God is still gracious. He pours out water abundantly and supplies our needs.
There is great comfort in God’s grace because you cannot be led in the wrong direction. God is somehow going to work to pour out blessings in your life and bring you to the place where you ought to be.
One of the reasons He gives you the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit is so that you can lay your life down at the cross, so that you can take up the cross and follow Him. That is the real demonstration of power and dynamic in your life. The knowledge of that comes to you as you stand back and see the big picture of how the book of Numbers fits into the theme of redemption.
In Deuteronomy Jesus is the faithful prophet. God says,
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. (Deuteronomy 18:18)
Jesus is the true prophet and the faithful one. “Never man spake like this man, Christ” (cf. John 7:46).
Look at some of the other things here. They are amazing in terms of history. How is Christ portrayed in the books of history? In Joshua, the first thing we see is that Christ is the captain of the Lord’s host. He is the Savior.
And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:15)
Here is the pre-incarnate Christ and Joshua is having a “Christophany” because he is seeing Christ, the captain, who has come to possess the land. It is Jesus and Jesus only who can lead you into victory. You will not be able to come up with some system to do it yourself, or some program to accomplish it. It will have to be done by the captain of the Lord’s host. He is the one who will conquer all your enemies. Look to Him. You need to take your shoes off your feet, recognize how holy He is, bow before Him, and expect Him to bring the deliverance and the victory into your life. He is the captain.
In Judges He is the divine deliverer.
And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. (Judges 2:18)
Even when we are oppressed, the Lord is our deliverer. Often times we are oppressed because we bring it on ourselves. In the book of Judges, why were they oppressed? They were oppressed because they had not obeyed God or done what God asked them to do. They were sitting there crying, moaning, and groaning, saying: “Oh, my life is so bad. I have got all these enemies and they are coming in and attacking me. There is spiritual warfare going on. It is too hard and I am vexed.” We often bring it on ourselves just because we do not have faith and we do not obey God. But what does God do? He is still the deliverer. He stays with a judge here and there and He delivers the people. Jesus Christ is portrayed as the deliverer of His oppressed people, even when they bring the oppression on themselves.
In the book of Ruth, we see that He is the kinsman redeemer. He says,
And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. (Ruth 3:12)
This is a picture of Jesus Christ purchasing a gentile bride, just as Boaz becomes the kinsman to purchase the field for Naomi in order to get Ruth for his bride. Ruth shows us that our devotion and loyalty also ought to be to the Lord. Wherever He leads us, that is where we go; that is where we follow. Christ is the kinsman redeemer in this book.
In 1 Samuel He is the anointed one, the Messiah.
The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. (1 Samuel 2:10)
And so He raises up Saul—in that sense, a type of Christ, the Messiah—because he was anointed by Samuel the prophet and he stabilized the nation. Jesus Christ is the anointed one.
In 2 Samuel He is the son of David.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men. (2 Samuel 7:14)
David did commit iniquity and God did chasten him. But David was a picture of a greater one than himself, the Son of David who will rule and reign for God. He expanded the nation.
Then Solomon came along in Kings and glorified the nation. It was a beautiful picture as he built the temple for the Lord.
He is viewed in 1 Chronicles as the builder of the temple.
In Ezra He is the restorer of the temple according to all that God had commanded.
In Nehemiah He reconstructs the whole nation.
In Esther He is our advocate because He preserves the nation. There was a providential protection there and He used a beautiful woman to preserve the entire nation. He would have preserved it even if this beautiful woman would have declined her challenge to go before the king. He said, “Deliverance would have arisen from another place” (Esther 4:14). Jesus Christ is our advocate in this book
But in all the books of history, with all of the things that are there, we would not want to miss the big thing. We are so prone to just slide across and think that we understand it all. Remember that all of these books were selected by the Holy Spirit and put together in this fashion because the Holy Spirit’s job is to point us to Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “When I give you the Spirit of truth He is going to reveal to you more of who I really am” (cf. John 16:13-15). All of the sixty-six books of the Bible compose a picture of Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at the books of poetry and see what goes on there. In Job He is the living Redeemer. “I know my Redeemer lives and I shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25). That is what God wanted. In Job 9:33 He said, “Someone who might lay his hand upon us both.” God was referring to a living redeemer, a mediator—which we find in Jesus Christ.
In the Psalms, He is the praise of Israel. He is the worship, He is the communion—Christ is all. “And let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). Jesus explained to the men on the road to Emmaus that everything that was written in the Psalms (Scriptures) was written about Him (cf. Luke 24:27).
In Proverbs He is the wisdom of God. “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old” (Proverbs 8:22). Colossians 2:3 says: “In whom [Christ] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” He is the wisdom of God.
In Ecclesiastes He is the great teacher. Ecclesiastes 12 says something that is very interesting.
The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. (Ecclesiastes 12:11)
All that is hammered out in your life and fastened proves that ultimate satisfaction can only come from a relationship with one Shepherd. If you do not have that relationship with the one Shepherd, your life will be vanity. But if you see the relationship you have with the one Shepherd then your life has meaning and every goad and every little nail that gets hammered out in the course of your life is important. The fact that you are taking this course might be one of the nails, one of the goads. It is a part of your life because the sovereign God (the one Shepherd) is leading you; therefore, there is meaning and purpose in everything that you do and nothing is in vain.
And finally, in Song of Solomon the poetry speaks of “the fairest of ten thousand.” It says, “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand” (Song of Solomon 5:10). The true lover of my soul is Jesus Christ.
If you were to read books like Ecclesiastes or Job, or even the Psalms and Song of Solomon, and you do not bring it back to the theme of the Bible (which is the redemption that is in Christ), you could easily twist the Scriptures to your own destruction. You could come up with some wild doctrines. It is so important that you understand that the basic hermeneutic principle of all Scripture is to bring everything back to the theme of redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Look at how Christ is portrayed in prophecy. He is the suffering servant in Isaiah.
He is the new covenant. The only surety for the new covenant in Jeremiah is Christ.
In Lamentations He is the Man of sorrows and He is acquainted with grief. It says,
Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid it on him; Let him put his mouth in the dust—there may yet be hope. Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him, and be full of reproach. (Lamentations 3:28-30)
When you read Lamentations you see just how alone and how sorrowful the Lord sits, how His face went into the dust, and how His cheeks were smitten because of us. But His grace was sufficient.
In Ezekiel you see the glory of God.
In Daniel the coming of the Messiah was promised. Christ is the stone who is cut out without hands. He comes and smites the whole earth.
In Hosea we see Him depicted as the lover of the unfaithful. What a beautiful picture. It says in Hosea 3:1,
Then said the LORD unto me, “Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.”
You can be a sorry adulteress, a whore of this world, having friendship with this world, and yet Jesus Christ still loves you, according to the love of the Lord. That is pretty amazing. And it just shows the love of Jesus Christ and how faithful He is.
In Joel He becomes the hope of Israel in the last days.
He is the husbandman of Amos. He is the vinedresser; Jesus put it in the parable. “My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1). And in Amos He is the husband who brings them back.
In Obadiah He is the Savior.
He is the resurrected one in Jonah.
Christ is the ruler of Israel in Micah.
He is the avenger in Nahum, which is pretty amazing. That whole section there of Nahum is a difficult passage of Scripture. Christ is a stronghold. I believe this is referring to the imprecatory nature that is also found in some of the Psalms. Nahum 2:1 says,
He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.
He is described here as the one who dashes in pieces. He is the avenger.
Remember the imprecatory Psalm that says, “Happy [shall he be], that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones” (Psalm 137:9). We read that and we just cringe. We think, “How could that ever be Jesus Christ?” But in Nahum we see this is Jesus Christ, ultimately. He is the one who comes in as a flaming fire taking vengeance upon those who know not God and obey not the gospel. He does it because they deserve it and it is a righteous thing to do.
Now we always like to focus totally on the fact that He is a God of love—and He is. He loves us even when we are unfaithful. But He is also portrayed as the avenger.
He tells us that vengeance is not ours. We do not have anything to do with it. We are to turn the other cheek. We are to love our enemies. But we still see that Christ will be portrayed as the one who takes vengeance. It will be His job and He will do it. This is why in Isaiah we have that prophetic picture of Him. He is just dripping with blood. It is the blood of His enemies because of the righteous justice of God. Taking a baby and bashing his head up against a rock is nothing compared to an eternal hell. When you start thinking about that in relationship to an eternal hell, it is a very small thing. “Paul, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, persuaded men” (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:11). I often do not think we have any clue how terrible and awful it is for someone not to receive Jesus Christ before entering into eternity. We do not like to think about it, do we? I do not like to think about it and I know you do not like to think about it either. But it is still portrayed in the Scripture and it is part of what we need to see as well.
In Habakkuk He is the holy God.
He is the King of Israel in Zephaniah and the desire of all nations. He is the true Prince of Peace in Zephaniah. The world has always wanted peace, but it will not happen until the desire of all nations comes.
He is the righteous branch in Zechariah.
In Malachi, “He is the Sun of righteousness rising with healing in His wings” (cf. Malachi 4:2). I love it because it ends in Malachi as the Sun of righteousness is rising up with healing in His wings and there is hope. The Old Testament ends on a note of hope.
Then we come to the New Testament. And since we know that so well, we are just going to go through it really fast and look at it.
In Matthew we see that Jesus is the King of the Jews.
In Mark He is the Servant of the Lord.
In Luke He is the Son of Man, the perfect man.
In John He is the Son of God. The supreme Word became the supreme Person.
In Acts He is the ascended Lord and He is ruling over the church.
In Romans He is the righteousness of God. He is our righteousness.
In 1 Corinthians He is our sanctification.
In 2 Corinthians He is all of our sufficiency.
In Galatians He is our liberty because Christ set us free. It was for liberty and freedom that Christ did set us free; so, stay free.
In Ephesians 1, He is the exalted head of the church and He is holding all the joints and bands together forming the church; that is His work.
In Philippians He is our joy because that is connected to the gospel. Every time you give out the gospel the byproduct is joy.
In Colossians He is the fullness of deity, the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form.
In 1 Thessalonians He is our comfort because He is coming again and we are going to be raptured.
In 2 Thessalonians He is our glory because we are to be manifesting His glory and He causes that to happen.
In 1 Timothy He is our preserver.
In 2 Timothy He is our rewarder.
In Titus He is our blessed hope.
In Philemon He is our substitute.
In Hebrews He is our high priest.
In James He is our wisdom.
In 1 Peter He is the cornerstone. He is the rock.
In 2 Peter He is the precious promise by which we actually become partakers of the very divine nature of God through faith in His promise.
In 1 John He is our life.
In 2 John He is our truth.
In 3 John He is our way.
In Jude He is our advocate.
And in Revelation He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
The point is that the Bible is Christocentric in its unity. Jesus is the key to the interpretation of the Bible. There are two questions to ask yourself. The first question to ask is: “What is the emphasis of the Scripture that I am studying, in terms of redemption?” You should always ask yourself that question if you want to follow true biblical hermeneutics. That will be the first question to ask yourself. What does this part of Scripture have to do with the redemptive theme of Scripture? If you are studying Hebrews, then ask what that book has to do with the theme of redemption. You have to bring everything you learn and discern back to that theme, in order to keep yourself from going off onto a tangent. Ask that question with every book of the Bible that you study.
The second question to ask is: “How does this part of Scripture relate to other parts of Scripture in terms of the theme of redemption?” That is the ultimate principle. Remember when you are reading the sixty-six books of the Bible, you are reading that which has been selected by the Holy Spirit to tell the story of redemption. You would not want to miss that point.
I wanted to take time in the beginning of this course to quickly run through and confirm in our hearts and minds the fact that it is all about Jesus Christ. When we study we want to ask the Holy Spirit to bring out those things that have to do with the redemptive theme and how each book is portrayed around that theme. This approach to studying the Bible will keep us from heresy, I guarantee it. And it will always focus us where the Holy Spirit is trying to lead us, which is to Christ.
Lord, thank You for beginning a good work in each of us. And increase our faith to believe that it is going to happen. And everything You promised us, in time is going to happen if we will step out and keep trusting You and believing You to work. We want to do that. So grant us faith, Lord, as we go through Your Word and see it. Build up our faith. It is a holy faith because it is centered in You and in Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.
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