A BIBLE OVERVIEW
By R. L. DeWitt
Overall, the Holy Bible is God's only recorded Word for mankind, and the only dependable source of truth to know about the Creator-God: His purposes, created work, redemption for fallen man, expectations for us, and the future (see John 14 for a brief Gospel message, and Hebrew epistle and Peter's epistles for summary statements). God speaks to individual saints (the redeemed souls) by impressing His recorded Word to them, silently urging them by His Holy Spirit, and revealing open doors and closing doors in a practical way to those who are being faithful ---and it is not by the counsel or reasonings by men contrary to His immutable Word. God asserts that: "... My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa. 55:8-9 KJV).
- THE RECORD -
God shows creation in the Holy Bible ---His "Word of Truth"; the essential ways and purposes of God; the trinity of God; His dealing in history with mankind from the beginning; His record in His Word; and the unfolding of His message in "all the counsel of God", and for seekers to be "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" in the Old Testament and the New Testament, as He bids us to do. We must not add to or take from God's Word, as He tells us, and certainly not practice religious ideas and innovations, as man likes to do. Another paper on Fundamental Truths in the Christian Counsel Collection ---GM53, states in part the following:
"To corrupt God's Word with various modern versions as is happening frequently in recent years, to make it more simple and pleasing like a common story book, is truly harmful. Promoting various ministry papers by questionable writers of various sects is often diluting the real message, for God
established His Word in the sixty-six Books preserved for us. The Concise Bible Dictionary, available at BIBLE TRUTH PUBLISHERS, Addison, IL - USA, shows much of how the original manuscripts were preserved and used to complete the King James Version ---see pages 127, 797-806. This KJV Bible ---studied by faithful scholars over 300-400 years, is more reliable, many of us see. The use of esteemed study Bibles, such as the Scofield Study Edition of the KJV, is recommended to help in learning God's meanings for serious seekers. We must allow that all works of men will have some errors, so the real test is earnest prayer that God will guide us in learning the essential message."
- SECTIONS OF THE BIBLE -
Some sections of the Bible are more noteworthy, and seen in the Old Testament and the New Testament (the 66 Books together and with no contradictions), which shows creation, history; and the promises by covenant to Israel, which are fulfilled when their promised Messiah (anointed One of God ---e.g. Psa. 45:7; Isa. 52 &53; Dan. 9:25; John 1; John 4) was born into the world to be the real sacrifice, for man's sinful nature and reconciliation to God (which the animal sacrifices and ordinances of old were only a type). New readers need to first note John 1; John 3; John 14 to be clear about salvation. Beyond the Gospels about Christ, the Church (called out company of saints of God ---the "Bride") is then presented in the book of Acts, after the ministry of Christ and His supreme sacrifice. The establishment of the Church universal in various cities is shown in the Epistles, to express the "one body of Christ" in "unity of the Faith"; and this is followed by the book of Revelation, which explains the sequence of events in the end, and often is difficult for general readers to understand when God speaks of heavenly things.
- THE CHURCH -
As we see the Church (kuriakos --"pertaining to God", and at a time called: "kirk"); and ecclesia --"God's called out assembly"), we note it is the redeemed "Bride" of Christ shown in the Epistles (note John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 21:2; etc.), and it is formed by the truth of the Gospel message, and given the promise of a heavenly place for eternity with Jesus, the Christ of God (while faithful OT saints are blessed as an earthly people after the Millennium time). Salvation of the soul in this present age is only by a living faith in Jesus, the Christ, and not by traditions and religious works.
The essence of Christianity (the faithful saints in Christ) is Redemption Way, Church Truth, and Spiritual Life:
> Redemption Way, which includes saving grace by embracing the Person and redemptive work of Christ, and His promised return and reign over the earth, and is a glorious thing to contemplate and preach abroad. The enemy can not prevent salvation, though he can cause apathy and self indulgence thus hindering the gospel work. It is a message of God's love (John 3), God's purpose (I Tim. 1:15), God's promises (John 14). It speaks of hope to the world, of judgment and salvation to souls. It sets forth redemption, justification, sanctification, and describes the new birth and adoption by the Holy Spirit. God's creation and the future of all men is foretold; and the coming again and reign of Christ with His Bride is declared, followed by the eternal state. The way to salvation is in and through Christ, whom to know is life eternal (John 17:3; 1 Jn 5:11-12). We surely ought to read the Word and rejoice in our Savior and this hope.
> Church Truth is scriptural ground and the sphere of light and obedience, and the truth most neglected. One might live his full life serving in the gospel work, yet not be much concerned about the counsels of God and His honor, and not value the gathering, collective worship at His table, and a walk in the truth. This is why the testimony is divided, the saints are scattered, and denominated sects are everywhere. The apostle, John, said: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (3 John 4). Perhaps the main reason church truth is so neglected, is that many have not learned simple obedience. Christians tend to think on their preferences and value their ideas more than what pleases God. The expression of the one "body of Christ" is so often denied, government in the "house of God" is neglected, the hope of the "Bride" is not appreciated, and the "candlestick" (lampstand) testimony is not valued. Satan certainly opposes anything for God, and careless Christians are easily led astray. We ought to take "all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).
> Spiritual life speaks of growth and maturity in the faith we have in Christ, and it moves our hearts closer to Him, and we will thus be happy and profitable servants. It is a life of holiness and devotion, and we need to cultivate it. "Growing in the faith is a spiritual process, that will be in direct proportion to the place we give Christ in our hearts and daily experience". We need this precious communion. Sooner or later a believer, who truly desires to be faithful, will get his wandering eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and his heart will be wonderously affected. We ought to urgently look unto Jesus (Heb.12:2; Heb.2:9), that our joy "might be full" (John 15:11); and we need to be a faithful witness to all we meet.
It seems so very important to maintain a balance in these things. Believers often become so occupied with one area that the others are neglected, and it not only is personal loss, but harms the testimony.
- RLD: GB38; 06/15.