God's Word #2

Dr. Steve Viars December 14, 1991

- we're in our third topic of Basic Bible truths, talking
  about God's provision through His Word

- last week we talked about the issue of the way we view the
- said there's many voices, agendas out there
    - we always need to be asking ourselves - who are
      listening to, how is that affecting our view of God's
- we studied some reasons why the Bible must be our guide

- the last reason we want to mention under this point is that
  God has told us to reverence His Word

    G. It is to be reverenced

        - some folks have such a shallow view of the Bible

        1. Not...a good luck charm (I had my devotions today
                      and now everything will go well)
              ...spiritual ouija board - trying to make a
                  decision - stick hand in - read first verse
                  my finger lands on – that’s God's answer
              ...change you by owning several - "we're a
                  Christian family because we have three
                  Bibles at home"
              ...just by reading - cf. typical "devotions" -
                  get a spiritual fix

        2. right attitudes

            Psalm 119:24 - my delight and my counselors
                      42 - answer to those that reproach
                      62, 164 - thanks at midnight, seven
                                times a day
                      72 - better than thousands of gold and
                      117 - have respect continually
                      167 - love them exceedingly
                   143:10 - teach me to do thy will, for thou
                             art my God

        3. implications

            1) we can't come with our minds made up

               Isa. 55:8-9 - my thoughts not your thoughts
                    (cf. person who has mind made up about
                       divorce - I Cor. 7:11)

            2) Can't use my feelings to determine
                   interpretation - II Peter 1:20
                   (cf. Doc Smith - Do you like CA? - didn't
                        know I had to like it)

            3) Can't come to take it or leave it - Jn 14:21

            4) Can't come and take it casually - Luke 8:5-15

            5) Can't come and forget the theme - Luke 24:25-

III. Need To Approach It Honestly

    - I'd like to take this section of notes and talk about
      principles we use to interpret the Bible

    - every so often I hear someone say - "well, you can make
      the Bible say whatever you want"
    - INPUT - how would you respond to that statement?

    - when we talk about principles of Bible study - we're
      talking about hermeneutics

        - hermeneutics - "the art and science of Bible

          science - because it is guided by orderly rules
                    within time and space
          art - application of the rules requires skill

    A. Interpret the Bible by the Bible

        - often call this the unity principle
        - II Peter 1:20 - Scripture not of any private

        - our interpretation of any passage, especially a
          seemingly obscure one, has to bear the weight of
          the rest of the Bible

        1. Beware of "brand new" interpretations!

            - often when folks come up with something that
              no one else has thought of before its because
              they haven't compared that interpretation with
              the rest of the Bible

        2. examples

            a. Matthew 6:34 - READ

                - INPUT - how might this verse wrongly be
                    interpreted?  (shouldn't plan, etc.)

                - INPUT - other passages that teach

                       (Prov. 6:6-8, 30:24, 25)
                       (Prov. 14:15, 21:5)

            b. Matthew 21:22 - READ

                - INPUT - what kinds of things have you heard
                       said about prayer from this verse?
                       (name it and claim it)

                - INPUT - what does the rest of the Bible say
                     about that?

            1) James 5:16 - prayer of a righteous man
                    availeth much

            2) Psalm 66:18 - If I regard iniquity in my
                  heart, the Lord will not hear me

            3) Mark 11:25 - When you stand praying, forgive,
                 ...that your Father, also, who is in heaven,
                    may forgive you your trespasses.

            4) James 4:3 - Ye ask, and receive not, because
                   you ask amiss, that you may consume it
                   upon your own lusts

            5) II Cor. 12:7-9 - (Paul's thorn in the flesh)
                   the answer may be no

            6) Matt. 26:39 - (our Lord) - if it be possible,
                   let this cup pass from me

    B. Interpret the Bible by the context

        1. definition

            con - "together
            textus - "woven

            "the connection of thought which runs through
             every passage on a given subject"

        2. surrounding verses

            - a great rule to remember - "keep reading!"

            a. Matt. 18:20

               - sometimes used as a tool to get "God's
                 stamp of approval on what we happen to be
                 doing/deciding at the moment"
               - INPUT - how does the context help us here?
                   (church discipline)

            b. Matt. 7:1

               - sometimes used to say that a believer should
                 never speak to another person about an area
                 of sinfulness because that’s "judging"

               - cf. v 5

               INPUT - ways to be sure we're interpreting
                  verses in their context?  (read the passage
                  over several times in several different
                  versions, purchase a good commentary)

            3. parallel passages

                - some verses do not have immediate contexts
                - cf. the book of Proverbs
                - it's important (in those cases and in all
                   cases) to consider what other passages
                   about that same topic say

                - cf. study on marriage, divorce, and
                  remarriage in I Cor. 7
                     - also must consider what other places
                       in the Bible say about that

                - INPUT - what kind of helps can be of
                    benefit here?  (study Bibles/cross
                    references - computer programs)

            4. word studies

                a. can be very helpful

                    I Peter 3:1 - "...without the Word be won
                         by the 'conversation' of the wives"

                b. need to be careful

                    I Cor. 7:1 - develop - "touch a woman"

            5. grammar

                 Rom. 8:13 - subject of the verb

            6. who is speaking

            7. who is spoken to

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video