Verse of the Day

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Study of the Scriptures - Session 4: Wednesday, 11 MAR 2015 at Faith Baptist Fellowship Church, Lake Ariel, PA

The Study of the Scriptures
Session 4, Wednesday 11 MAR 2015
Faith Baptist Fellowship Church
Lake Ariel, PA

Note: There was no audio recording of this session.

I. Review Sessions 1-3

Hebrew 1:1-3

“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?”[1]

2 Timothy 3:13-17

1. Placing trust in God: The ability of God and the sufficiency of the Scriptures — Coming to the Scriptures with Faith

2. Putting man in his place: The inability of fallen man and an understanding of the responses of the creature to the revelation of God — Coming to the Scriptures with Humility

Historical and Personal Parameters in the Spectrum of Abilities
for the Understanding of the Scriptures:

Created Unfallen Man
Fallen Unregenerate (Natural)
(Spiritual) Man
Maturing Regenerate
(Spiritual) Man
Maturing Regenerate Man: Maximizing Resources
1. Eyes to see

2. Ears to hear

3. Mind to know

4. Heart to believe

5. Unhindered communion with God


What could be better?

1. Eyes Blind

2. Ears Deaf

3. Mind Dark

4. Heart hard

5. Neck stiff

6. Rebellion towards God

7. Suppression of the truth of God


The problem is obvious!
1. Eyes to see

2. Ears to hear

3. Mind to know

4. Heart to believe

5. Spirit to teach


So, what is the problem?
1. Read

2. Memorize

3. Meditate

4. Obey

5. Testify
1. Knowledge of Ancient History and Culture

2. Knowledge of Ancient Languages (vocabulary, semantics, grammar, syntax)

3. Awareness of Spiritual Warfare including Satanic Subversion of the Word of God through False Teachers throughout history
Know as we are known

3. The Unity of the Word of God and the First, Progressive, and Full Mention Principles of Interpretation — Coming to the Scriptures with Hope

The Means God Uses: The Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the Church

David Cooper’s Golden Rule of Interpretation
Myles Coverdale’s “Preface”
The story of Agassiz and the Fish, or The Student the Fish and Agassiz

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

II. Introduce Session 4

Peeling an onion from the inside out, or from the outside in

Context and Canon

Multiple levels of context

The hermeneutical spiral

1. Contextual, Grammatical, and Literal Interpretation

In real estate it is “location, location, location.”[2]
In Bible study it is “context, context, context.”

Context determines meaning. It has often been repeated that “a text without a context is a pretext.”

Proof texting without due attention to context results in the Scripture twisting that is a hallmark of the cults. Their “grasshopper hermeneutic” jumps from text to text to text without respect for the limits of the various contexts involved on the meanings of the words and sentences being quoted to support false teachings.

Let us observe how this works as we examine a few examples taking two different, yet related approaches to how this is done.

In the first example we will peel the onion from the inside out!

1) Context level 1 — The word: body (1 Cor. 11:19b)

“Humpty Dumpty took the book, and looked at it carefully. 'That seems to be done right—' he began.
'You're holding it upside down!' Alice interrupted.
'To be sure I was!' Humpty Dumpty said gaily, as she turned it round for him. 'I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, that SEEMS to be done right—though I haven't time to look it over thoroughly just now—and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents—'
'Certainly,' said Alice.
'And only ONE for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'
'I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't—till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'
'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.'
'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.'
'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master—that's all.'”[3]

 How many different meanings may this word convey in Paul’s culture, and in his own inspired writings?

2) Context level 2 — The verse/sentence: 1 Cor. 11:29

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

3) Context level 3 — The paragraph: 1 Cor. 11:21-29

21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

A Play on Words to Make a Point:
The eat/drink, bread/cup, body/blood interplay
and the missing element in 1 Corinthians 11:21-29

“A” Eat/Bread/Body
“B” Drink/Cup/Blood
“Thirsty” and “full” are assumed.
to eat
to drink


Only the “A” element is

present in verses


the cup
Only the “B” element is

This cup
present in verse 25.

my blood



eat this bread
drink this cup

eat this bread
drink this cup


eat of that bread
drink of that cup




The second (“B”) element is missing.

4) Context level 4 — The chapter:

One way to avoid getting lost in the woods is by looking back from time to time to see how the woods look in the “rear view mirror.” It helps to have your “head on a swivel” as it is referred to in the military, or to put it another way, to have a 360 degree situational awareness. This works in Bible study also. Asking questions like, “where did this come from,” and “where is this going,” and seeking answers to them will help in observation of the flow of a passage. That way the “trees” will be seen as part of the “forest.”

Notice the shift points for the subject matter Paul presents in this chapter under one heading:

1 Cor. 11:2 - Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
Note: It may be argued that 1 Cor. 11:1 belongs with the previous chapter, as the final verse of chapter 10!

1 Cor. 11:17 - Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

The “bookends” of this passage – vv. 17-20, 33-34 — must not be forgotten!

1 Cor. 11:17-20 - 17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

1 Cor. 11:33-34 - 33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

This final resolution of the original presenting problem clarifies the Apostle’s intended connection between despising the Church of God (11:22), and failing to discern the Lord’s “body” (11:29).

2. Canonical, Contextual and Grammatical Interpretation

Now let’s go at this differently with an example of peeling the onion from the outside in!

1) Context level 7 — The Canon:

(1) Tabernacle: Exodus 25-27, 35-40
Two primary Hebrew words for tabernaclemishkan and ohel
Two primary Hebrew words for sanctuarymiqdash and qodesh

(2) Temple: 1 Kings - 2 Chronicles
Two primary Hebrew words for templeheykal and bayith

(3) Problem: Ezra-Nehemiah

(4) Development of the Samaritan Religion in the Intertestamental Period (“400 Silent Years”), and the beginning of the construction of the Third (Herodian) Temple

2) Context level 6 — The Testament:

(5) Background to John 4:20-21 - 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.


Dt. 11:29 - And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

Dt. 27:12 - These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin:

Josh. 8:33 - And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.


Dt. 12:5-14 - 5 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: 6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 7 And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee. 8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. 9 For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. 10 But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11 Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD: 12 And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. 13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: 14 But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.
(cp. also vss. 18, 21, and 26)

Ps. 122:1-5 - 1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
4 Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

We are going to jump ahead, skipping context levels 5 (the book), 4 (the chapter), and 3 (the paragraph), back down to level 2.

In the following notice the emphasized singulars (bold font), and plurals (bold red font). The singularity of the tabernacle/temple is maintained throughout consistent with what is found elsewhere in the canon of Scripture (apart from the aberration of the Samaritan worship on Mt. Gerizim!).

3) Context level 2 — The verse/sentence: 2 Cor. 6:16

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

4) Context level 1 — the word: temple

Now let us move back up to level 3 in another one of Paul’s epistles, remaining in the context of one human authors writings, where he deals with the same theme.

5) Context level 3 — the paragraph: 1 Cor. 3:9-17 and 6:15-20

(1) Example #1 — 1 Cor. 3:9-17 

9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

(2) Example #2 — 1 Cor. 6:15-20

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria,

John T. “Jack” Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA

Appendix A: Basic Bible Study Materials — A Suggested Bibliography (with links to Amazon)

This is the book that I recommend as collateral reading for the "Scripture Study Seminar":

Sinclair Ferguson, From the Mouth of God (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2014); paperback (no Kindle available at this time) for $10.59 on Amazon at [accessed 18 JAN 2015].

1. In addition to Sinclair Ferguson's work that I am recommending as collateral reading the following five recent works on the subject may be the most helpful:

J. Scott Duvall, and J. Daniel Hays, Journey into God's Word: Your Guide to Understanding and Applying the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008);

Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding the Bible, 4th ed. (Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1982, 1993, 2003, 2014); 

Peter Krol, Knowable Word: Helping Ordinary People Learn to Study the Bible (Minneapolis: Cruciform Press, 2014);

Grant Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991, 2006);

R. C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977, 2009);

2. Here are five recommended older works whose value does not fade!

James M. Gray, How to Master the English Bible: An Experience, a Method, a Result, an Illustration (London: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1907);
in public domain, available online or as a free downloadable digital file (PDF or ePub) on Google Books at [accessed 18 FEB 2012].

J. Edwin Hartill, Principles of Biblical Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1947);
available online or as a free PDF file download (60 mb) on Seminario LAMB at [accessed 9 MAR 2014];
print editions available on Amazon at 
[accessed 18 JAN 2015].

Arthur T. Pierson, The Bible and Spiritual Criticism: Being the Second Series of Exeter Hall Lectures on the Bible Delivered in London, England in the Months of February, March and April, 1904 (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., n.d.; 1970 reprint of 1905 original by The Baker and Taylor Co., New York);

Robert A. Traina, Methodical Bible Study: A New Approach to Hermeneutics (Wilmore, KY: self-published, 1952; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980); 

Oletta Wald, The New Joy of Discovery in Bible Study, rev. ed. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2002);
Note: This newly revised edition is also available in Kindle.

Compiled by:

John T. “Jack” Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA

28 JAN 2015

End Notes: 

[1] In John Rip­pon, A Se­lect­ion of Hymns from the Best Au­thors (1787); “at­trib­ut­ed var­i­ous­ly to John Keene, Kirk­ham, and John Keith;” on Cyber Hymnal at [accessed 26 JAN 2015]. The four possibilities for the “K-” ascription in Rippon (Robert Keen(e), George Keith, Thomas Kirkham, and Kennedy or Kennady) are discussed on at [accessed 26 JAN 2015].

[2] William Safire, “On Language: Location, Location, Location” (26 JUN 2009), in The New York Times at [accessed 11 MAR 2015].

[3] Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (New York: Macmillan Co., 1871), pg. 88; on Project Gutenberg at [accessed 11 MAR 2015], s.v. Ch. VI. This is the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Cited by Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation (Colarado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1991), pg. 76.

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