Putting the Facts Together
After writing a number of Books on the Bible focusing on Bible Study, one detail remains evident. We are never going to see the full story until we sit down and start writing out the details.
Sure if we took a look at one detail, gathered all the facts, and formed an opinion, we may feel satisfied with that view point. But that view point on one event is far from the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth until we start putting the events together to find out what led to that event. Then of course, what was the outcome of that event, and what did we learn from it.
No one can argue with the point, a history book is rather useless unless it includes all the details that lead to an event, details about the event covered, and the results of that event and how it effected people and the world. We are witnessing historical events unfold before our eyes, and if we don’t sit down to write out the series of events we will never see the relationship between those events, and how they worked together for good and bad. In other words, a look at both sides of the story. Which of course always contains more than two sides.
There is a problem, especially with Christians today. They have been trained and programmed to look at one story and accept a logical sounding explanation based on that single event. In other words, take the word of a single man, maybe a scholar, on the lesson that single event was supposed to teach us. But that was not the way the Bible was written. I know a lot of people will argue the point claiming, “the Bible was written so everyone could understand it.” If that was true, then why do we need so many preachers, pastors, priests, bishops, deacons, teachers, and others to take the stories in the Bible and explain them in their own words?
We need to break from that mold, the belief that there is wisdom from a single event recorded in the Bible and get back to looking at how events in the Bible are related to one another and what lessons the full picture brings. Every Christian has the same Spirit telling them to look at the big picture. Every Christian knows there is far more knowledge and wisdom contained in the Bible when they finally understand the big picture. Every Christian has the same feeling deep down inside of them, knowing there is a sense of relief and security in knowing all the details in the full picture. But there are too many preachers and teachers telling people, it is impossible to understand the full picture. They will not use the term, “full picture.” They do substitute terms like, “knowing the mind of God,” and other such terms to make people feel small and insignificant. In other words, to stop people from searching for the truth on their own. Which is far easier than imagined.
About 200 years ago, before anyone thought of erecting large institutions of learning, God chose normal, everyday people to reveal some of the most astonishing facts contained within the pages of scripture. Some of those people had formal educations for those days. Some people were much like Saul, who Jesus renamed Paul. They were men of learning. For lack of a better term, had to leave the established church and all its restrictions to follow a path to find God. You can research those early pioneers on your own to see where the Spirit leads. When you do, pay attention to how they studied the Bible and how they formulated the studies they published. When you do, no matter what source you choose from 200 years ago, you will see a stanch contrast between study methods used over 200 years ago to what they use today. In our so called, “advanced and modern age,” studies have been, for lack of a better term, “dumbed down,” so they can be presented to the masses. You have to ask , why in this modern age of computers do we restrict ourselves to one story out of the Bible coupled to a long drawn out explanation telling us what it means? If we have computers equipped with references, resources, Concordances, and search engines, why don’t we use them to unlock secrets in scripture?
Paul was one of the most informed and educated Pharisees of his time. Paul had scripture memorized forwards and backwards. Paul knew and accepted all the explanations recorded by the wisest and highest educated men of his time, and generations before. Then one day, back when he was known as Saul, he met Jesus. And three days later, Paul had a completely different concept on the scriptures. A concept that reshaped his life and changed his life and concepts on the Old Testament forever. What changed Paul’s mind? The order of the stories Jesus revealed to Paul. It wasn’t one story and a concept, and another story and a concept. It was the series of prophecies about Jesus and their proper order. Paul knew each of those prophecies better than any of use could ever hope to know. The problem was, Paul was stuck in the trap of one story and an explanation for each of the 300 plus prophecies about Jesus. Paul witnessed a number of those prophecies fulfilled in front of his eyes, but his mind was blocked by the method of study he had burned into his mind. Jesus had to convince Paul to purge all of that learning and open his mind to the obvious, the sequence of all of those prophesies applied in the proper order. Once the details were laid out in the proper order, no additional explanation was necessary. Paul saw how scripture explained itself. And Paul wrote books to show how scripture explains itself. The problem is, the explanations Paul recorded are ignored. Paul gave us every explanation we will ever need, but no one bothers to look at the hundreds of explanations and answers Paul clearly recorded for our benefit. Paul’s answers have been replaced by 40 minute explanations designed to finish up and release the prisoners so they can make it home in time for the football game.
Test that for yourself. Open any one of Paul’s books to any chapter you choose and when Paul quotes scripture, look it up and read the entire story in the Old Testament. Some references in Paul’s books are easy to find. Paul often made it clear by writing, “According to Isiah,” or something along those lines. Using a chain reference is a big help. Chain references often include the Old Testament story Paul quoted from. It takes practice before you can recognize all of Paul’s references. But when you do, it will open up the Bible like you never imagined.
That all makes sense when you consider one example. If all you ever heard or knew was on single prophecy about Jesus, that would never be enough evidence for you to believe in Jesus. Christians know there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus recorded in the Old Testament. There must have been a reason for so many prophecies. Paul was shown that reason and wrote a number of books to explain why there are more that 300 prophecies about Jesus. As a matter of fact, many of those prophecies are about Paul himself and the other disciples. And we know there are prophecies about other subjects. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, until we put all the prophecies and facts together in the proper order, we don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of understanding exactly what those prophecies are telling us.
Then we can take a look at those prophecies from a different angle. We can sort of reverse engineer some of those prophecies. In other words, look at events and figure out where the Bible talks about them. Some of those stories in scripture are rather vague based on the fact humans repeat the same mistakes and the devil reuses the same temptations over and over again. Some of the stories in the Old Testament drive home that point. No matter what method we use, we need to stop relying on or trying to use the one detail leads to one explanation method. That is used by people who study without the Spirit. Their only concern is making a name for themselves. When people study with the Spirit they have no problem showing exactly how one story in the Bible led to another, how those stories are related, and giving all the glory to God. What this leads to is the need to collect all the facts leading up to major events, the event itself, and then draw a conclusion on the lessons taught and parallels in scripture. Which in both cases would lead to a number of related stories and events.
The simple fact of the matter is, we will never know how today’s events are related and how they coincide with scripture until we sit down and start making a list. Which consists or writing, taking a break, prayer, and repeat. That is when additional events emerge, relationships are discovered and real study begins. Isiah had a way of explaining the method.
Now, however, Israel is led by drunks who reel with wine and stagger with alcohol. The priests and prophets stagger with alcohol and lose themselves in wine. They reel when they see visions and stagger as they render decisions. Their tables are covered with vomit; filth is everywhere. “Who does the LORD think we are?” they ask. “Why does he speak to us like this? Are we little children, just recently weaned? He tells us everything over and over– one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!” So now God will have to speak to his people through foreign oppressors who speak a strange language! God has told his people, “Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.” But they would not listen. So the LORD will spell out his message for them again, one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there, so that they will stumble and fall. They will be injured, trapped, and captured. (Isa 28:7-13 NLTse).
Of course there have been hundreds of interpretations to this message from Isiah. The majority agree the message has something to do with Bible Study. But why stop at one message on Bible Study? Which is what the majority of theologians do. They stop at one message rather than looking at where the message leads. Most prefer to use a small portion of Isiah, “one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!” Then theologians dive right into their long drawn out explanation when in fact they are ignoring the line they are trying to explain. The prophecy is of course about Jesus. Trying to tell us, the story about Jesus in the Old Testament is made up of little pieces here and there that need to be put together. Which men who interpret the Bible refuse to do. Which is why Isiah told them, “priests and prophets stagger with alcohol and lose themselves in wine. They reel when they see visions and stagger as they render decisions. Their tables are covered with vomit;” Which is something smart people want to avoid.
It doesn’t matter how we look at it. If we don’t gather all the data, we are never going to see the big picture. So we have no choice but to start gathering data, write out a list, pray about it, and repeat as often as necessary.