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Why Consider Scripture?

A Guide to Understanding Scripture

The purpose for 4 Truth Ministry’s name is two-fold. We as believers are “for truth.” Of course, that truth is found in none other than the Scriptures. The other reason is because the premise of Scripture can be categorized into “four truths” if you will: fixed, full, focused, and future.

On this page, we have outlined those four truths in such a way as to assist in understanding the Bible as a whole. It can also serve as a reference for more in-depth study with the extra resource links provided.

Table of Contents

→   #1 Fixed Truth: The Final Written Word

(Authority & Nature of Scripture, Jesus & Scripture, Sola Scriptura, Historic Confessions, Spirit of God & Scripture, General/Special Revelation)

→   #2 Full Truth: The Whole of Scripture

(Sufficiency of Scripture, interpreting, canon, Christian worldview & apologetics, discernment, orthodoxy, aberrant, heretical, cult, call to preach & duty of ministry)

→   #3 Focused Truth: The Person & Work of Jesus Christ

(O.T. prophecies fulfilled, the Incarnation, Creeds, Crucifixion, Resurrection & Ascension, Gospel preached)

→  #4 Future Truth: The End of this Age & The Second Coming of Christ

(Christ’s Kingdom present & future, the end of the age, Babylon the Great: the 3-legged stool of Revelation, visible return of Jesus Christ)

#1 Fixed Truth: The Final Written Word

God’s Word is “fixed” in that Scripture is complete and final in its authority and sufficiency as God’s revelation. The fact that God’s Word is fixed does not have to be a complicated issue. Study the Bible. Listen to a Bible-based Preacher/Teacher. Meditate upon it. Memorize it. Listen to it read to you. Read it out-loud yourself. Most importantly, firmly plant your feet upon it with full confidence! Do not let anyone or anything else convince you that some other voice is “His Voice.” He now “speaks” to us by illuminating our minds to His already revealed truth, His Word. It is the already and final written Word of the Living God. And, His Word is Fixed.

A. General Revelation versus Special Revelation

What is General (Natural) Revelation?
General Revelation is the reality that God has made known His existence to each individual of mankind. General revelation itself is never salvific in nature. Scripture states the instruments of God’s general revelation:
1. through the heavens which declare His glory – Psalm 19:1
2. through the creation which shows His divine nature and His eternal power – Romans 1:18-23
3. through the moral law and human conscience which is evident in every human being and culture upon the earth – Romans 2:14-15
4. through the earths provisions which show He is the Benevolent Sustainer of mankind – Acts 14:17
What is Special Revelation?
Special Revelation is the reality that God has communicated in specific times, by specific means, and with specific words to specific people or peoples in history. It is a supernatural revelation and communication of Himself. Special revelation differs from General Revelation in that it is salvific in nature. However, it does not always have this end result. Here are a few examples in Scripture to show us the reality of Special Revelation:
1. God commanded Adam in the Garden of Eden to eat of any tree therein except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:16-17
2. He appeared to Moses in a burning bush and communicated with him and sent him on a mission to the house of Israel and against Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Exodus 3:1-4:17
3. He performed wonders to lead His people out of bondage in Egypt. Spoken: Exodus 4:18-23 Fulfilled: Exodus 5:1-14:31
4. He spoke His Law to Moses and Israel. Exodus 19-31 Hebrews 12:25-26
5. He delivered a dream to King Nebuchadnezzar and subsequently revealed the dream to Daniel along with its’ interpretation. Daniel 2:1-45
6. He speaks to Jeremiah in a Word-Picture. Jeremiah 1:11-12
7. He speaks to John in a vision. Revelation 1:9-19
8. He speaks to us through the Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 2 Peter 1:20-21
9. He has perfectly, completely, and finally spoken and revealed Himself to us in the the Lord Jesus Christ, His only Son. Hebrews 1:1-4; Colossians 1:15-20; John 1:1-18

B. Authority of Scripture: Revelation, Inspiration, Illumination

What is Revelation?
God’s revelation is that Special Revelation mentioned above. First, God both reveals His words and works in history and then God puts those same revelations into writing. So the finished work, the Bible, is also said to be a fixed and perfect revelation – both of God and from God. Ultimately, all of this happens solely by God’s will and action. Fallen man is so blinded by sin that he is not able to know or understand God unless He has chosen to reveal Himself. It must be delivered to mankind by God and received as such.
What is Inspiration?

Inspiration is the operation of the Holy Spirit which enables a speaker or writer to communicate truth that is inerrant and infallible. But it is not dictation. God can and does so overwhelmingly act upon the instrument during inspiration that he does not have to bypass the normal language, style or historical setting of the human author in order to communicate His perfect Word.

What is Illumination?

Illumination is the divine opening or quickening of the human mind by which it is enabled to understand truth already revealed in Scripture. It is distinguished from revelation and inspiration because those two items have already occurred and are perfectly completed before there is the possibility for illumination. Illumination is an enlivening of the mind and heart and will by the Spirit of God. That same Spirit who spoke the Word in the past now communicates that same truth once again into a person. (Luke 24:32 & 45; Matt 16:17; 1Cor 2:12 & 14) This is the on-going work of the Holy Spirit – to illumine the same truth into a person that He spoke through a person and was recorded in Scripture.

Related Material:
The Doctrine of Scripture – Sermon by Dr John MacArthur

C. Nature of Scripture: Infallibility, Inerrancy, Reliability

What is Inerrancy?
When we say the Scripture is inerrant we mean the fact that the Scriptures are actually without error in everything they touch upon. So in all matters of faith and practice and science and history the Scripture is without error. If God is perfect and He perfectly gave His complete and final revelation and He perfectly delivered the Holy Scriptures, then those Scriptures themselves are perfect and complete!
What is Infallability?
Infallibility is used to describe the reality that the Scriptures never mislead us and, therefore, they are reliable in all they affirm. They are true and accurate and reliable in all things they touch upon. So they are both without error, i.e. inerrant, and because of the superintending author, God, they are infallible, i.e. not able to lead astray. Unfortunately, this word is tweaked by various people to actually refute a full and complete belief in the inerrancy of Scripture or to water-down the term infallibility. Those definitions state that the Scriptures are infallible only as they relate to Christian faith and Christian practice but not matters of science, or cultural items, etc. When you read the term infallible in a theological context, you must be mindful of how the author is using the term since it has become convoluted.
What is Reliability?

When we speak of the infallibility and inerrancy of the Scriptures we are referring to the original manuscripts. But we don’t have those original manuscripts. We instead have thousands upon thousands of copies. Those copies do not perfectly correspond with each other even though they are overwhelmingly exact. Through the scholarly study of these manuscripts it can be determined that there are slight variations. We know where they occur and they are not of “significant” nature in their differences. There is a field of study that distinguishes and evaluates what manuscripts are more reliable to the original based upon certain criteria. But, nevertheless, we affirm that the Bible that we have – if indeed it has been effectively translated from reliable manuscripts – is indeed the reliable Word of God. Christians would agree that the God who breathed out the Holy Scripture is the God who safeguarded the integrity of the Scriptures as they were transmitted and translated. So reliable means just that. Our current day translation is the reliable and complete and sufficient – Word of God.

For further study on the nature of Scripture:
The Necessary Consonance of the Doctrine of Scripture: Inspiration, Inerrancy, & Authority – By Steve Curtis
The Witness of the Bible to Its Own Inerrancy – By Gleason L Archer

D. Jesus and the Scriptures: The Incarnate Fulfills & Confirms the Written

Did Jesus' life and teaching reflect the Authority of Scripture?
1. Jesus believed the O.T. Scripture was perfectly true and God’s very Word.
2. Jesus believed He had absolute authority to not only affirm the O.T., but to interpret the true meaning of any text in contrast to misinterpretations.
3. He believed that since all Scripture is true, then it must be fulfilled.
4. He believed that He Himself would fulfill all the Scripture that spoke of Him.
Did Jesus believe O.T. prophecies of the Messiah would be fulfilled in Him?

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:44-47 NASB

Did Jesus ever distinguish between God's Word of Command & the traditions of men?

The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” Mark 7:5-8 NASB

Did Jesus believe that only part of the Scripture was true and to be fulfilled or the whole?

“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.” Luke 16:17 NASB There are times in Scripture, after Jesus taught or did something, which state Old Testament Scriptures were being fulfilled. He often said, for example: “…but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures.” Mark 14:49b NASB

If the Incarnate Word took the Old Testament Written Word as true and completely authoritative to the point where He knew He would teach, submit to and fulfill that Word - Should we not think our love for Him should exhibit the same attitude and submissiveness?

Jesus Himself seems to think so… “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19 NASB

Related Material:
Jesus Christ on the Infallibility of Scripture – By Dr David Livingstone

E. Sola Scriptura: The Reformation & the Authority of Scripture Alone

What does the Latin phrase "Sola Scriptura" mean?
Sola Scriptura means “Scripture alone.” Martin Luther and the Reformers determined that the Bible was the sole authority for the Church. This did not mean that there were not other authorities because the Bible itself talks about God ordained authority. Rather, it spoke of the significance of the Scriptures as the supreme and only authority for that which defined Christian faith and Christian practice.
What was the Reformation?
The Protestant Reformation is traced back to October 31, 1517. Martin Luther had written his 95 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences which criticized the Catholic Church and the Pope. It was on this date in Saxony, Germany that he nailed his theses on the Wittenberg Door, All Saints Church (Castle Church). For more details click here.
Why is Sola Scriptura called the "formal" principle of the Reformation?
Sola Scriptura is the “formal” principle of the Reformation because it is the foundation out of which grew the other four Scriptural “solas” of the Reformation:
1. Scripture Alone (The “formal” principle of the Reformation)
2. Faith Alone (The “material” principle of the Reformation)
3. Grace Alone
4. Christ Alone
5. To God Alone be Glory

Related Material:
The Authority of Scripture – By Richard L. Mayhue

F. Historic Confessions Regarding the Scripture

Throughout the history of the church, certain men have made profound statements regarding the authority of Scripture. These are found in what we call creeds or confessions such as:

The Belgic Confession – 1561
London Baptist Confession – 1677/1689
Westminster Confession – 1647
Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy – 1978

G. The Relation of the Spirit of God to the Scripture

The above Protestant Confessions of faith reflect their thoughts concerning the relation of the Spirit to the Word he breathed out. Here is one example from the Westminster Confession of 1647 (Chapter 1)
VI. THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD, CONCERNING ALL THINGS NECESSARY FOR HIS OWN GLORY, MAN’S SALVATION, FAITH, AND LIFE, IS EITHER EXPRESSLY SET DOWN IN SCRIPTURE, OR BY GOOD AND NECESSARY CONSEQUENCE MAY BE DEDUCED FROM SCRIPTURE: UNTO WHICH NOTHING AT ANY TIME IS TO BE ADDED, WHETHER BY NEW REVELATIONS OF THE SPIRIT, OR TRADITIONS OF MEN.1 NEVERTHELESS WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE INWARD ILLUMINATION OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO BE NECESSARY FOR THE SAVING UNDERSTANDING OF SUCH THINGS AS ARE REVEALED IN THE WORD;2 AND THAT THERE ARE SOME CIRCUMSTANCES CONCERNING THE WORSHIP OF GOD, AND GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH, COMMON TO HUMAN ACTIONS AND SOCIETIES, WHICH ARE TO BE ORDERED BY THE LIGHT OF NATURE AND CHRISTIAN PRUDENCE, ACCORDING TO THE GENERAL RULES OF THE WORD, WHICH ARE ALWAYS TO BE OBSERVED.3

1. 2 TIM. III. 15–17; GAL. I. 8, 9; 2 THESS. II. 2.
2. JOHN VI. 45; 1 COR. II. 9, 10, 12.
3. 1 COR. XI. 13, 14; XIV. 26, 40.

Please note in Chapter 1, Point VI, of the Westminster Confession the following:

1. The whole counsel of God (all truth from God for His glory & for believers) is expressly stated in Scripture or deduced from such.

2. Nothing is to be added to Scripture as if it is from the Spirit – whether through revelation or tradition.

3. The Spirit who breathed out that Word also illumines that Word inwardly.

4. There are secondary and common matters associated with the corporate affairs of Christians in various cultures. These would include things like certain aspects of church governance and worship. These are to be guided by corporate reason/conscience with a continual look to the obedience of Scripture for any foundational truth related to such subjects.

Addendum: The London-Baptist Confession is virtually identical to this Westminster Confession at this point.

Related Material:
By His Word and Spirit: How Christ Exercises His Saving Rule – By Henry Krabbendam
The Word and the Spirit – By Ray C Stedman

Summary of Fixed Truth:

The Word of God Has Been Delivered!

“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1:3 (NASB)

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Rev 22:18,19 (NASB)

The Word of God is Objective!

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17 (NASB)

The Word of God is Unchanging & Eternal!

“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8 (NASB)

“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89 (NASB)

“Of old I have known from Your testimonies, That You have founded them forever.” Psalm 119:152 (NASB)

#2 Full Truth: The Whole of Scripture

God’s Word is whole and complete. We should study all the Scripture – each part in its context, each part in relation to the whole, and the whole knit together and seen with the light of each part. It is a full and complete revelation from God. We can believe it with full confidence We are to firmly plant our feet upon all of it with full confidence. There are certain things listed below that we must understand in order to appreciate the fullness of God’s truth.

Each text or part of Scripture is to be seen and understood in light of the whole of Scripture. As the saying goes, “A text without a context is a pretext.” So, there are certain subject matters below that we must attach importance to in order to understand and appreciate the full truth.

A. The Perspicuity, Profitability, and Sufficiency of Scripture

What does the word "perspicuity" mean?
Perspicuity: Something which is plain to the understanding because it has been made simple and clear. This does not mean that there aren’t individual texts of Scripture which are at times difficult to study and ascertain the meaning. But it does mean that the whole of the message of the Scriptures along with the summary parts are indeed clear and easily understood by those who have the Spirit. “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.'” Matthew 11:25-27 NASB
In what regard is the study of Scripture profitable?
The Scripture is profitable because it gives the wisdom for salvation in Jesus Christ. It provides reproof, correction and training in righteousness. It is adequate and equips us for every good work. The Spirit of God working through the Word does these things in us. “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Why is it so important to claim the Scripture as sufficient?
If the Scriptures are insufficient, then the Holy Spirit did not adequately do His job of being sent from the Father and the Son to make Christ known. We know that the Holy Spirit did in fact complete His mission due to John 16:13 (NASB) which says, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; For He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” Because the canon of Scripture is closed (see #4), the Holy Spirit completed His task. Therefore, the Scripture is the only place we should look for any spiritual truth.

Related Material:
The Sufficiency of Scripture (Part 1) – By Dr John MacArthur
Tota Scriptura – By R.C. Sproul

B. Tools For Interpreting Scripture

The Interpretation of Scripture – By James I. Packer
How Should We Interpret the Bible: Principles for Understanding God’s Word – By Tim Chaffey

C. The Canon of Scripture

What does the word "canon" mean?
“Canon” 1. Comes from Latin word “canon” which means standard or rule 2. Which originated from the Greek word “kanon” meaning reed or measure (the ancients used reeds to measure things!) or rule or standard 3. Which correlates with the Hebrew word “kaneh” meaning standard of measurement. The canon of Scripture is the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament which are the Word of God and the standard and rule for Christian faith and practice.

Related Material:
The Formation of the Canon of the New Testament – By B.B. Warfield

D. Christian Worldview & Apologetics

What is a Christian or Biblical Worldview?
A Christian Worldview is essentially the pre-suppositions and underlying system of thought that a Christian believer holds as he looks at and interacts within the world. This worldview should first and foremost be defined by the Christian’s belief in the God of the Scriptures and the truth found therein. Many Christians throughout the centuries have written about formulating a Christian worldview based on, not negating, the fullness of the Scriptures: the nature of God the creator, the creation, man, the fall of man, God’s history with fallen man, God’s provisions for fallen man and for salvation in Jesus Christ, the unfolding of the plan of God to the end of this present evil age and into eternity. Although any particular Christian’s worldview will grow and expand as they study the whole of the Scriptures, these seminal truth categories from the Word of God should remain the believer’s basic pre-suppositions.
What is Apologetics?
The word “apologetics” comes from the Greek word apologia which means “defense” or “reply.” It is often stated that apologetics is the “proclamation, confirmation and defense of Biblical Christianity.” The responsibility of every believer is to proclaim and confirm the Word of God, the common salvation that Jude speaks about. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1:3 First, each believer grows in their own understanding of the truth as presented in Scripture. Then, they can learn how to present and defend this truth in discipling fellow believers or in presenting the truth to unbelievers. Within the context of this passage in Jude, we are told to “earnestly contend” because of the reality that there could be an internal undermining of truth by false believers or teachers.

Related Material:
What’s Your Worldview? – By Dr John MacArthur

E. Importance of Discernment

What does the word "discern" actually mean?
“Discern” comes from a Latin word discernere which means “to distinguish between” or “to separate.” The etymology of this word is: dis which means “apart” and cernere which means “to sift”. When we are discerning something we are “sifting apart”, or “distinguishing between” two things. We quite literally do this our whole lives in many ways, but we don’t necessarily use this word to describe what is taking place. We can “discern” between hot or cold because we understand the meaning of each and we can sift them apart into these two categories. Most of this “discerning” is internal and often times we are not conscious of the process because we have done it for so long. The discernment that we are talking about here, involves something external. We are using this word in the context of something being taught. We are to sift apart or separate “teachings” and the effects as being true or false, good or bad/useless, based upon the truths of Scripture.

Related Material:
Discernment in an Age of Deception: Defining the Believer’s Biblical Call to Judge – By Bob DeWaay

F. Orthodox, Aberrant, Heretical, Christian Cult

What does the word "orthodox" actually mean?
“Orthodoxy” means “that which conforms to the established teachings or usual beliefs of any system, rather religious or otherwise.” It is from both the Greek and Latin orthodoxus. Ortho means ‘straight, upright, or true’ and dokeo means ‘think, believe.’ For a Christian, it has thus come to mean believing in the doctrines that are taught in Scripture that define the basic tenets of true Christian faith.
Has the church actually defined orthodox teachings?
There are some who would say defining or systematizing orthodox teaching is not necessary because we should simply go straight to the Scriptures on every point of teaching. After all, isn’t that the standard and best example and safeguard? But because of the incessant attacks of false teachers since the inception of the church, leaders have found it necessary to defend what the Scriptures clearly teach. So they articulated formally and concisely what they found to be true in the Scriptures. This website represents a Protestant Orthodoxy of Christian truth. It rests upon a text of command from Scripture:
“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1:3 NASB
What are the five foundational truths that make a Christian “orthodox” in their belief?

These are considered foundational because as soon as anyone would begin to question them it leads them down the path of serious compromise in regards to the true faith.
1. The Scripture: it is the absolute authority, the very words and truth of God Himself through revelation
2. The Trinity: God has revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; each fully God and yet only One God
3. The Person of Jesus Christ: He is 100% God and 100% man, each defined distinctly and yet, not two persons, but only One Person, Jesus Christ
4. Salvation: it is by God’s plan and purpose, by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
5. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ: He has risen from the dead and will once again appear – this time in His resurrected/glorified and descending body to come to earth as King and Judge.

What does it mean to be "heretical" in teaching?
Heretical as defined by Merriam-Webster means “departure from accepted beliefs or standards.” Heresy, in our day, has come to mean “…opinion contrary to church dogma.” It is an undercutting of foundational teachings of the Scripture. It is often introduced into the church in a stealth-like and deceptive manner by persons so that it can take root without being outwardly noticed or observed.

We see the roots of its use and meaning in the Bible:
“Reject a factious man after a first and second warning” Titus 3:10 NASB
The Greek word for “factious” is hairetikon (in the accusative used as an adjective) which is where we get our word “heretic” and it means sect, party, dissension, faction, opinion. In the particular use in our context in Titus 3 it refers to a person who is divisive or opinionated even in an area of secondary matters. They want to elevate and fight about things that are not profitable to the hearers. They are to be warned about their “overbearing opinions and willingness to constantly fight” a first and a second time and then the church is to have nothing to do with them. It should go without saying that if they are being factious about a foundational teaching – saying the opposite opinion about that which is extremely relevant to the faith – that we should apply the same drastic measures. And in fact this meaning of the term is what is prevalent in our day.

What is a Christian Cult?
A Christian Cult is defined historically as being a group that takes its name as Christian and yet it significantly undermines at least one, and usually more, of the five foundations of Christianity. These cults would include but are not limited to:
A. Mormonism 1. Believes in the Bible PLUS three other books: a. The Book of Mormon b. The Pearl of Great Price c. Doctrine and Covenants 2. Each person pre-exists before their earthly life: their soul is sent to their body. 3. Undermines the Doctrine of the Trinity: Jesus is not the unique Son of God, he is like other men in being sent to earth, but he is the “firstborn” of the new “spirit-children” of God. 4. General and Individual salvation and Hell is non-existent. There are three levels of eternal glory.
B. Jehovah’s Witness 1. Undermines the Doctrine of the Trinity: neither Jesus or the Holy Spirit are God, Jesus Christ is thus a created being and less than God, Jesus in his pre-existent state was Michael the Archangel, brother of Lucifer who rebelled against God, after Jesus death he returned to his pre-existent state as Michael. 2. Salvation by works 3. Hell is non-existent 4. Only True Scripture: The New World Translation
C. Christian Science 1. Additional Scripture: Science & Health by Mary Baker Eddy 2. God is defined in pantheistic terms 3. Undermines the Doctrine of the Trinity: Jesus is not God, Jesus is defined separately from Christ and Christ is a principle rather than a person. 4. Salvation: actual sin is an illusion and salvation is embracing the divine Christ principle.
What does it mean to be "aberrant" in teaching?
“Aberrant” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary can be defined as “deviating from the usual or natural type.” When we apply this to “teaching,” it means to stray from the right or normal way of looking at a particular item. Some subjects in Scripture which are of a secondary nature aren’t categorized in the five foundational truths of orthodox Christianity. There can be legitimate differences of opinion on what we might label secondary matters of teaching. We should in Christian love discuss and possibly debate as we put the Scriptures themselves before us in any differences. We do not desire to undermine our fellowship with other orthodox believers in doing so.

The term “aberrant” in teaching is going beyond this point. “Aberrant teaching” is usually defined as teachings which mean that someone is drifting beyond this secondary norm and is becoming unbalanced in their views. Their view has gone beyond mere discussion of possible differences to the point of being dangerous to our Christian belief or walk when fully embraced. It could potentially refer to those who might take a stance to the point of “spiritual abuse” or “psychological cult-like type following or abuse” in their ways.

As the enemy of the church attacks it – aberrant views are apt to pop up just about by anyone and anywhere. Leadership should fix us upon the sole authority of the Word of God and safeguards to unreasonable thinking – or aberrations as the case may be – should be in place and in force.

Related Material:
A Short History of Creeds and Confessions – By A.A. Hodge

Resource:
The Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin

G. The Call to Preach and Duty of Ministry

Where in the New Testament do we find the phrase "the full (whole) counsel (will) of God?
“Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:26 & 27 (ESV)
Why is it important to proclaim the full counsel of God?
It is of the utmost importance to proclaim the full counsel of God because Biblical words/concepts are wrapped in a Biblical context. Thus, there are many facets to biblical truths. The only way to get at complete meaning is to look at truth from various biblical angles. Both the text and texts of Scripture are woven together to provide a wonderful tapestry of both truth and truths. The word text comes from the Latin word textus which means “woven cloth.” This process safeguards us from misunderstanding some concepts that we read about in Scripture. For example, we could read a verse on the love of God and possibly misinterpret it simply as being emotional, capricious, or sentimental. We would need to understand the “love of God” in the light of his holiness, his wrath, the redemptive price that it cost, etc. We don’t get the complete picture without the full counsel.

Related Material:
Why I am Committed to Teaching the Bible – By Dr John MacArthur
Marks of a True Apostle: Truth, Love – By Dr John MacArthur

Summary of Full Truth:

The Word of God is complete and sufficient!

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5 NASB

“The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” Psalm 119:160 (NASB)

“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3 NASB

#3 Focused Truth: The Person & Work of Jesus Christ

Truth is “focused” in and upon the one who declared Himself to be the truth. The whole of the Scripture is pointing to the salvation that the God of truth has brought us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The following subject matters help us to understand who Christ is and what He has done.

A. O.T. Prophecies of Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

Related Material: Fulfilled Prophecies at the Birth of Christ – By Tim Chaffey

B. The Incarnation: The Person and Nature of Jesus Christ

The Nicene Creed – 325 a.d. – The First Ecumenical Council
The Creed of Chalcedon – 451 a.d. – The Fourth Ecumenical Council
The Athanasian Creed – circa 500 a.d. – Athanasius 293-373 ad
The Apostles’ Creed

Related Material:
Peccability & Impeccability of Christ: Able Not to Sin, Not Able to Sin – By Steve Camp

C. The Trinity

D. Jesus Earthly Ministry: Prophet, Teacher, Healer & Miracle Worker

An Outline of the Story of Jesus Using Maps – By JB Phillips

E. The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

1. The Lamb of God: The Perfect Righteousness of Jesus Christ

Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ…His Perfect Obedience in Life and Death – By Steve Camp

2. Our Substitute: Atonement and Propitiation

The Death of Christ – By Charles Spurgeon Excerpt
Christ Set Forth As Propitiation By Charles Spurgeon
The Scriptural Necessity of Christ’s Penal Substitution – By Richard Mayhue

3. The Courtroom of the Eternal God: The Righteous Judge and Justifier

Christ Died for God – By Dr John MacArthur

F. The Resurrection & Ascension of Jesus Christ: Our Great High Priest & Sole Mediator

The Intercession of Christ – By Dr Francis Turretin
Christ Our Mediator – The London Baptist Confession of Faith: Chapter 8

G. Gospel Preached: Jesus Christ Our Lord & Savior

Christ Crucified – Sermon #7 – By Charles SpurgeonExcerpt
Grace Abounding – Sermon #501 – By Charles SpurgeonExcerpt
Preaching: Man’s Privilege and God’s Power – Sermon #347 – By Charles Spurgeon
Our Manifesto – Sermon #2185 – By Charles Spurgeon

H. Jesus Christ is unto us: Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, Redemption

What Think Ye of Christ? – By George Whitefield
Righteousness by Christ Alone – All-of-Grace.net

Summary of Focused Truth:

The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.

Christ was sent by the Father into the world, incarnate in the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. Throughout His earthly ministry, He lived a perfect and holy life before God as His Only Begotten Son. He taught, performed miracles, and finally died on the cross, shedding His blood for sin. His sacrifice was perfect and complete, once for all, the just for the unjust. Further, He was raised from the dead, declared with power the Son of God. He is now raised at the right hand of God and will soon return again: visibly, powerfully, in salvation and judgment. And, He will establish His Kingdom forever.

The “focus” of truth is the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ who died on Calvary, not anything or anyone else. If you do not know Jesus Christ, repent of sin and believe in Him, and you will know Him. Know Him, and you will love Him. Love Him and you will serve Him. Serve Him and you will long for His return!

#4 Future Truth: The End of this Age & the Visible Return of Jesus

The blessed hope for all believers is Christ coming in His Kingdom and His glory at the end of this evil age. It will be salvation for those who know Him and judgment for this world and those who don’t know Him. His second coming is as sure as His promise. The below articles will give you a basic groundwork in the study of the last things called eschatology.

A. Christ’s Kingdom (Kingdom of God/Heaven): Present and Decisively Future

Although this particular truth, future truth, is ultimately directed to Christ’s Future Kingdom and the second coming of Christ, we must first grasp the meaning of His present rule. One would think there would be incredible agreement among Christians about Christ’s Kingdom, present and future, but this is not always the case. Below are a few different perspectives on Christ’s Kingdom.

Preaching the Kingdom of God – By Tom Wells

B. His Kingdom: Four Views

Within Orthodox Christianity there are generally four ways of looking at how Christ reigns and how the future will unfold. Each view is formed from different interpretations of Revelation 20 along with various supporting texts. However, in holding any one of these four views, the Christian should never be distracted from the central hope which is the second coming of Jesus Christ. We have these four views for teaching purposes in this section. However, the articles on this website, when considering the end-times, will reflect our firmly held view of historic premillenialism.

Millennial Views-VSG-Wikipedia – Wikipedia
Eschatology Comparison – Five Solas
Four Views on the Millenium – Blue Letter Bible

Historic-Premillenialism:

Amillennialism: Amillennialism – By Anthony Hoekema

Post-Millenialism: Postmillennialism – By Loraine Boettner

Dispensational-Premillenialism: Reflections on Dispensationalism – By Dr John Walvoord

C. The End of This Present Evil Age

1. The Old Testament Book of Daniel

Are the events of Daniel’s life placed in chronological order in the book?
See: A Historical-Chronological Look at the Book of Daniel

Are there thematic patterns in the book of Daniel?
See: Parallel Themes in the Book of Daniel

Are there prophecies about the final world kingdom in Daniel that are yet to be fulfilled?
See: Prophecies Concerning the Final World Kingdom Yet to Be Fulfilled

2. Matthew 24

What does the unfolding of the end of the age look like?

3. Thessalonians

The Emerging Antichrist – By David Sheldon

4. The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John

Satan Given Authority to Act – Revelation 13:1-2

This describes the fact that God will soon allow Satan to have sway in exercising his authority upon the earth. This is initially seen in Revelation 13 in the form of the beast-antichrist and in the false prophet. It might help us to think of Rev. 13 as the unholy triumvirate: 1)Satan, as the false source 2)Beast-Antichrist, as the false object and 3)The False-Prophet, as the false desire/means to worship the others.

The Rise of the Beast-Antichrist – Revelation 13:1-18

The final world kingdom of Antichrist is seen as ten horns that fulfill the prophecies of Daniel. This “beast” is ten regions/persons (which will go from ten to seven) that rule the world. It should be specifically noted that when this is described it is very specific. It is an overarching economic rule. This ten/seven horned beast rules the world because it first rules the world economically and the antichrist is its head. This beast has a fatal wound that is healed, and the world is amazed and follows after this beast.

The Rise of the False Prophet – Revelation 13:11-18

The false prophet is that system/person that “causes fire to come down out of heaven in the presence of men,” and the one who gives “breath” to the image of the beast. He may indeed provide false signs and wonders, false pyro-techniques. But, we shouldn’t miss the point: he is the false desire, breath to the image, as the catalyst and means for false worship of the beast and his image.

The Image of the Beast – Revelation 13:14-15; 14:9-11; 19:20

Some hold that the “Image of the Beast” in Revelation 13 is a literal statue of the antichrist himself. This may or may not be true. It should be noted, however, that the false prophet does not help the world make an image of the beast, rather an image to the beast. I would tend to see this as a progression. This is a description of the false prophet energizing the world toward self-worship of “the image” that is, the fallen image of man as if that image is God. (Remember the serpents promise to Eve?) It is a description of each individuals’ self-worship, reflected in the whole and in the Antichrist as if that is worship of God. (Think Hitler) This is the deification/worship of Satan and Antichrist (Rev. 13:4) and also the deification/worship of the image to Antichrist (Rev. 13:15) i.e. self-worship reflected in the worship of Satan/the Beast. This is what the false prophet energizes, his power coming from Satan himself.

When The Fallen Image is Everything – By David Sheldon

The Rise of the Harlot Church – Revelation 17:1-18

Revelation 17 describes “a Woman” (false religion) that is drunk with the blood of the saints. This is religion gone astray. She sits upon the scarlet beast, but as the scene unfolds there is no doubt about who is in control. It is the beast. He is using her.

The Great Harlot – By David Sheldon

The Persecution of the Saints – Revelation 13:7

The Beast is given authority to persecute God’s people for the last 3 1/2 years of this present evil age.

God’s Judgments Before Christ Returns – Revelation 6-9, 16

God’s judgments are given in three descriptive sevens. Seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls.

Summary of Future Truth:

God will dramatically intervene in this world once again!

Not only will He bring judgments upon the earth at the end of this age, he will first fulfill all the Scriptures that speak of what is going to happen before this end. God is going to send back the Lord Jesus Christ in power, glory, salvation, and judgment!

God will, with great splendor and glory, send back His Son Jesus Christ on the Clouds of Heaven!

God will, finally, establish His eternal state for Christian believers, a new heaven and earth!

These “future” truths, based on the Scriptures, are fully sufficient. Each person should study His Word for themselves to know about His Second Coming. If you are saved, you are already a member of God’s Kingdom, both present and future. Therefore, be sober toward prayer and look forward to His Coming. His present reign is clearly displayed by our obedience to Him through His Word. When we are faithful to His Word and commands, He uses us as vessels to multiply His Kingdom. He is already completely in charge and seated at the right hand of God. One day He will make that very, very apparent to all of creation! If you are not saved, repent and believe in the Jesus Christ who died on Calvary for your sins before it is too late.

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