|Volume 19 Number 11 November 2017||
Russell G. Bell
[Editor’s Note: The first segment of this brief series appeared in the July 2017 edition of Gospel Gazette Online at the following link: https://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2017/jul/page1.html. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
With just a little help, anyone with average intelligence can be a good Bible student. A few guidelines will help. The Lord said through Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.”
Although Scripture is written by men, the first thing to remember is that it is inspired of God. Therefore, it is without mistake. Also from this Scripture, we learn that we are furnished completely unto all good works. Essentially the same thing appears in 2 Peter 1:3, which reads, “Seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all this that pertain unto life and godliness, through knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue.” Since we have all things that pertain to life and godliness in the Scripture, we need to realize this and use the Bible as our sole source to guide us in the Christian way of life.
Russell G. Bell
One essential point that every serious Bible student must understand is the two main divisions of the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Many people with whom I have talked do not understand what the word “testament” means. A few hundred years ago, this word was used more, but today the noun “will” conveys the same meaning.
Probably, you have all heard the term “last will and testament.” Well, that is what the Scripture is—God’s last will and testament. Therefore, when we talk about the Old Testament, we are talking about God’s old will, and when we talk about the New Testament, we are talking about the new will of God.
To make it even clearer, if you had a will drawn up and some years later wanted to change something, you would have another will drawn up. What would that do to the first will? Of course, it would make the first will void and of no effect. This is why we do not offer animal sacrifices today. We are not under the Old Testament or the old will of God, which required the offering of animal sacrifices. Rather, we are under the new will of God, the New Testament, which does not instruct anyone today to offer animal sacrifices.
Russell G. Bell
The question comes, “If I want to be saved and follow God, what part of the Bible should be my guide?” The entire Bible is good for study and for our consideration. The Old Testament was written for our learning. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime [referring to the Old Testament] were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
The apostle Paul further explained the purpose and the value of the Old Testament to us in 1 Corinthians 10:11, which reads, “Now these things happened unto them [Old Testament people] by way of example: and they were written for our admonition [learning], upon whom the ends of the ages are come.” Therefore, we can learn much about God and how He deals with His people from the Old Testament. Yet, if we want to know what God wants us to do today, we need to read the New Testament or the new will of God. Paul explained this in Romans 7:4, where it is recorded, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were dead to the law [Old Testament] through the body of Christ, that ye should be joined to another, even to Him who raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God.” The New Testament, then, is our spiritual guide today.