Allowing Paul to Teach Us
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction, II Peter 3:15, 16.
For a person new to bible study, the view of the word of God stretching out before them can be daunting. I remember one of my first bible studies when I pronounced the book of Colossians with both of the O's being pronounced with a long vowel sound. There were some polite smiles and a few titters. I often remark that in those days, I couldn't find the Book of Luke with a flashlight and an index. The Apostle Paul wrote for just such people.
The Book of Romans starts with the word "Paul". What do you really know about Paul? Take an exhaustive concordance or a good bible software program and look up Paul everywhere he is mentioned. Familiarize yourself with everything that the word of God has to say about the man. When your conscience is clear that at this point you have learned as much as you can, go on. That doesn't mean that you have mastered Paul's life. All you have done is build a platform from which to conduct a life of study. As you are reading in other places which at first seem unrelated to Paul's life, The Holy Ghost can prompt you to rethink that. You will have installed the tools that the Holy Ghost finds necessary to teach you.
The next thing that Romans says is "a servant". What did that mean to a Pharisee in the year 45AD? Why did Paul use that term? Take some time and study servitude throughout the scriptures. As much as you can, become familiar with what it meant to be a servant in the days when scripture was being penned. Do so from within the pages of the King James Bible. It may be that a some time in your life you may read some secular source that will enhance your understanding of servitude in the first century, but if what you read contradicts your study in the bible itself, chuck it.
Of Jesus Christ, those are the next words that Paul writes. Why didn't he say Christ Jesus, or the Lord Jesus, or the Jesus Christ our Lord? Look up the other places where those two words are used in tandem. Can you see a pattern? Don't worry if you can't. Just spend some time thinking about it and go on. Next, Paul says "called". Look up "called" everywhere you can. Called, calling, calls, or whatever, look them up. Get a feel for how the bible uses such words and what is being said.
Separated unto the gospel of God; can you find the place where Paul is separated? What does Paul mean by the gospel of God? Maybe this would be a good place to look at all of the different titles of the gospel and to think about why they are used. (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,); this is your time to find as many prophecies of Jesus Christ as you can naturally, without seeking outside sources. This is only a crude start. You have a lifetime to enhance your study. For now, just go on until your conscience is settled that you have done what you can.
I think that you should see the pattern now. Slowly, work your way through the Pauline Epistles (hundreds of hours of study). When you are done, and even well into your study, you will have trouble listening to blowhards preach. The ignorance with which they have saturated themselves through their commentaries will sicken you. You are on the road to becoming a real bible believer. When you run across a seemingly impossible question that you know has vexed scholars through the centuries, and you find yourself confident that you, the Spirit of God and a King James Bible are quite sufficient to unlock the answer, you will have become a bible believer.
By the end of the Book of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul will have taken you by the hand and lead you through the breadth of the book. You will never look at it the same way again. When you see a passage in the Old Testament such as I Kings 20:15, and you see a puzzling statement like, and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand, I Kings 20:15; you can stop wondering how there could only be 7000 children of Israel since the scripture had said all the children of Israel, being seven thousand. Surely in a kingdom which often recorded deaths in the hundreds of thousands, there were more than 7000 men.
Are we really to believe that outside of Samaria's capitol city that there were only seven thousand living men? Of course not. Paul explained that in Romans 9:6-8, Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. When the prophet said, all the children of Israel, he means those that have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Paul was not teaching us a New Testament doctrine when he explained that not all Israel are of Israel. He was taking us by the hand and teaching an Old Testament doctrine.
Paul's desire for us was that we should know God. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Ephesians 1:15-19. Until you become convinced that the answer to Paul's prayer for you is found in the pages of your bible and not with the multitude of voices, you are not a bible believer.
In the next couple of posts we will look at the two other aspects of bible study that I teach my students. I would like at this point though to quote from a carpenter who plies his trade in Olean, NY, and by no means considers himself an expert. "You and the Spirit of God, armed with a King James Bible, are as smart as any man on this earth"; Mike Falk. That is a bible believing statement. Until you can apply it for yourself, you are in bondage.