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Acts 8:30


Introduction – 2 Questions

1.     Can it be understood?

a.     Hosea 4:6

b.     1 Corinthians 10:1

c.     Ephesians 5:17

d.     Romans 10:1-3

e.     John 5:39

f.      2 Timothy 2:15

2.     Can it be understood alike?

a.     Parts are difficult

                                                    i.     Deuteronomy 29:29

                                                   ii.     John 6:60

b.     Parts are easy

                                                    i.     Hebrews 5:12-14

                                                   ii.     1 Peter 2:2


Guidelines to understanding the Bible alike

1.     How to understand

a.     Open mind

b.     Honest – Luke 8:15 – good ground

c.     Rightly divide – handle it correctly

d.     Study, search

2.     Why division, then?

a.     Use different rules

b.     Prejudiced

c.     Blinded by Satan – 2 Corinthians 4:4; Luke 8:12

d.     Closed their eyes – Matthew 13:15

3.     Basic Rules

a.     Common sense

b.     Literal or figurative

c.     What dispensation? What law under?

d.     Who is speaking / writing?

e.     To whom is it being spoken / written?

f.      Assume there are no contradictions

g.     What is the context?

h.     Does the Bible interpret this passage?

                                                    i.     Isaiah 7:14 – Matthew 1:23

                                                   ii.     Hosea 11:1 – Matthew 2

i.       Do other passages agree? Say the same thing in different word?

                                                    i.     Acts 2:38 – 1 Peter 3:21 – Acts 22:16

4.     Method of Study

a.     Book by book

b.     Topical – every verse or passage on this topic

c.     Word study

                                                    i.     English word

                                                   ii.     Greek / Hebrew word



1.     If God did not require a thing – He did not require a way to do it.

a.     No specific if there is no generic

b.     IF: Communion is not commanded – way or when to partake is not required

c.     Music

d.     Care of orphans / widows

e.     Incense

f.      Co operation

g.     Eat in the building

2.     Law of Exclusion

a.     Specific and Generic commands

b.     Both at the same time

                                                    i.     Great Commission – generic How to go

                                                   ii.     Great Commission – specific What to preach

c.     Singing / Instruments

d.     Baptism of believers / Infants

e.     Build ark – Gopher wood / some other wood

f.      A specific always includes the generic

g.     BUT: never allows other specifics of the same generic

h.     Silence of a generic – allows

i.       Silence of a specific – forbids others

j.       Hebrews 7:12-16

3.     Law of Expediency (Inclusion)

a.     Assemble – requires a place, time, purpose

b.     Sing – words, notes, songbooks, leader

c.     Preach – pulpit, radio, TV, internet, street corner, newspaper

d.     Essentials and Non Essentials



GO – Obey, not stay put

Walk, ride, fly, radio, TV, print

PREACH – teach, instruct, preach

Chart, Power Point, computer

BAPTIZE – water, burial

Running water, heated water

COMMUNION – bread, grape juice

Time of day, one cup, trays

e.     These things can be expedient in one place and not in another

4.     Law of Authority

a.     Source – Matthew 21:23-27

                                                    i.     From heaven – God

                                                   ii.     From men – human thinking

                                                 iii.     Matthew 15:8-9; 15

                                                 iv.     Psalm 127:1

b.     Kind:

                                                    i.     Source – God

                                                   ii.     Delegated – Matthew 28:18-19

                                                 iii.     Luke 2:49

c.     3 Types

                                                    i.     Direct command

                                                   ii.     Necessary inference

1.     Not any thing that we might infer

2.     Necessary – this conclusion MUST be reached

3.     Jesus came up out of the water – NI – went down into

                                                 iii.     Approved example

1.     Examples are binding if the illustrate what is required

2.     Some binding – Acts 20:7 – 1st day of week

3.     Some liberty – Acts 20:7 – upper room, at night

4.     Some wrong – Acts 5:3 – lied

d.     Scriptures

                                                    i.     1 Corinthians 11:1

                                                   ii.     2 Corinthians 3:2

                                                 iii.     Romans 15:4

                                                 iv.     1 Corinthians 10:6

                                                  v.     Philippians 3:17

                                                 vi.     Philippians 4:9

                                               vii.     2 Timothy 2:2

                                              viii.     1 Peter 2:21

e.     Examples – can be

                                                    i.     An individual

                                                   ii.     A group

                                                 iii.     A church

                                                 iv.     Several churches

f.      Examples of Options

                                                    i.     Acts 22:23; 23:17; 25:11 – appeal to civil government

                                                   ii.     Acts 17:28 – quote pagan poet

                                                 iii.     Acts 16:11; 21:1 – make a straight course

                                                 iv.     Acts 19:8 – stay 3 months

                                                  v.     Acts 19:9 – private school

                                                 vi.     Acts 20:7 – preach till midnight

                                               vii.     Acts 20:9 – third story of a building

                                              viii.     Acts 9:26 – place membership

g.     Examples of Law

                                                    i.     Acts 20:7

                                                   ii.     Acts 8:38

h.     How do you decide? – “An example is binding only if it illustrates a requirement.” Thomas B. Warren

i.       It is false that: If all examples show the same thing, then it is binding.

                                                    i.     2 examples of communion

                                                   ii.     Both are at night

                                                 iii.     Both are in an upper room

                                                 iv.     Can we partake of communion in the daytime, on ground floor?

5.     Aids and Additions

a.     Aids – things not specified in the command

b.     Used to carry out the command

c.     Build ark – included tools

d.     Assemble – includes a place, location

e.     Baptism – requires water for a burial

f.      “The generic includes all specifics to carry out that command.”

g.     Additions – adding another specific

h.     Use the law of exclusion

i.       “An excluded specific is always wrong.”

6.     Law of Authority

a.     2 extremes

                                                    i.     Restoration – everything as in NT

                                                   ii.     Digression – no specific = do what you want

b.     Martin Luther – If it is not forbidden, it is allowed.

c.     Zwingli – If it is not commanded, it is forbidden.

d.     Zwingli was correct – 2 examples

                                                    i.     Leviticus 10 – Nadab

                                                   ii.     Hebrews 7:12-16

7.     Law of Liberty – James 1:25

a.     Liberty allows:

                                                    i.     Liberty to do more than the Jew – Matthew 5:20

                                                   ii.     Liberty to apply principles rather than specific laws

                                                 iii.     Use your conscience – Romans 14:23; 1 Peter 3:21

                                                 iv.     Liberty to abstain – Romans 14:19-21

b.     Liberty forbids:

                                                    i.     Force your opinion on others

                                                   ii.     Replace the law

                                                 iii.     Make and enforce law

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