FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST

THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF TRUTH-

LESSON 1.

 

 

1 Timothy 3:15 “but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Committed to the Word

Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, "by scripture alone") is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness (Wikipedia). What do the Apostles of Jesus Christ state concerning this?

 

•  What Paul Taught:

The early church was guided by the Apostles in word, and by spiritual gifts that existed by the laying on of the Apostles hands (Acts 8:14-16, Peter and John had to come to Samaria to bestow the gifts, as Philip could not; Acts 19:6, Paul bestowed gifts on the disciples of John that he came across in Ephesus; Romans 1:11, Paul wanted to come to the Christians in Rome to bestow spiritual gifts to them, to establish them; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, defines what the gifts were; the first two being wisdom and knowledge, with the others given for the purpose of confirmation; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, defines that these gifts were temporary until that which is perfect has come). As the letters to churches, evangelists, and Christians are written (constituting scripture), we see a change made in the instruction style and emphasis.

 

In Paul's first two letters, he wrote to the church in Thessalonica (the northern region of Macedonia in Greece), concerning their service to Christ. These Christians, in a very short time, had been plagued by persecution from their countrymen, and had a reactionary response to confusion they had concerning the coming of Christ. Paul would write, in both letters he would author to them in a short period of time (approximately six months apart), that universally the solution to their problems, was to walk properly (1 Thessalonians 4:1, 12), to be counted worthy of their calling (2 Thessalonians 1:11), and to stand fast (2 Thessalonians 2:15); all describing that a life dedicated to serving God through Christ, by the revealed instructions of the word, would keep them in whatever situation they found themselves in.

Note Paul's words concerning these two letters:

1 Thessalonians 5:27 “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.”

 

The importance of the contents of this letter superseded any gift which had been given, and all the brethren were to read this letter for its guidance. If all the brethren were to read it or have it read to them, this begins to instruct us that there does not have to be a priestly class to explain it to us; all can understand.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 “And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

 

Note the authority given to this written word and the gravity of judgment given to those who do not obey the words contained within. This begins to instruct us concerning the elevation of the written word over the gifts that kept the church early on.

At the end of the third journey of Paul, as he was in a hurry to return to Jerusalem (Acts 20:16), he called for the elders of the church at Ephesus to meet him at Miletus. Paul had spent three years with these brethren prior to this (Acts 20:31 Acts 19:8, 10, 22), had bestowed upon them spiritual gifts, and given them countless oral instructions; yet, look what it is that he commits them too:

Acts 20:32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

 

This statement of Paul would come to them prior too much of the written word being in existence; however, we need to note that much of what would be written, would be written to the church at Ephesus. Looking at the first piece of work to them, note the words of Paul:

Ephesians 3:3-5 “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:”

 

Paul once again elevates the written instruction they are receiving in this letter, and is also once again testifying concerning the ability, once read, to comprehend the information contained within.

 

Paul would instruct the Christians in Colossi concerning a need to have the letter he has written to them read “among you” (all), as well as the “Called out” of Laodicea (Colossians 4:16).

Note that this instruction constitutes an emphasis on the written word, over the gifts that existed. So, much so, that we see a pattern develop in copying and sharing these letters, versus the reliance on spiritual gifts.

 

In addition to these instructions; Paul, would in his writing to Christians, which is constructing scripture (as Peter refers to them – 2 Peter 3:15-16), describe a unique vernacular that we have to take notice of. The use of a singular sense (finality), when describing the content of the word; Paul uses the term “Doctrine”, not doctrines, as if it were evolving or partnered with anything else.

See: Romans 6:17-18; 1 Timothy 1:3; 4:6; 6:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

As Paul is aware that his time on earth is eminently coming to an end from Rome (2 Timothy 1:17; 4:6-8), he leaves Timothy with an iconic founding statement. Paul knows that Timothy has been with him many years and has been privy to personal instruction (2 Timothy 1:13; 2:2; 3:10-15); yet, what does he leave him with to make him complete? Scripture!

It would be scripture that he would have to rightly divide (2 Timothy 2:15 – more on this in the next lesson), and it would be the “Word” which Paul commands him to preach, when men would no longer adhere to sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2-3).

 

•  What Peter Taught

Like Paul; Peter would establish the word of God as the sole source for the origin of Christians, and that it would abide forever (1 Peter 1:22-25). It would be the word of God that we as Christians should desire with the same instinctive practice as a baby desiring milk to grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2). It would be these “oracles”, or teachings that we should learn to speak for the glorification of God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 4:4 – more on this in an upcoming lesson).

Like Paul; when Peter knew that his time was short, and after establishing that there were certain graces that each Christian should learn to add to their faith (“faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17); he wants them to have a reminder of these things after his decease (2 Peter 1:12-15). What does he leave them with? The prophetic word!

•  This word would be established, not on fable, but eye witness testimony (16-18).

•  They would do well to simply “heed” this word made sure (19).

•  The “prophecy of scripture” was not of, or for private interpretation (20). It was directional; from heaven to us. We must learn to simply “heed” it!

•  It came by the Spirit of God to the holy men that revealed it, never by the will of man (21). One of the greatest testaments to the true nature of scripture from the Spirit through holy men, and not of man; comes from the teachings of the de-elevation and complete submission of men to Christ.

 

In the final chapter of his second letter, Peter would refer to the letters of Paul, and the rest of the letters in existence at this time as “Scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16). This understanding of the scriptures being a complete guide to the Christian, allowed Peter at the beginning of this letter to state:

2 Peter 1:2-4 “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtu, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

 

Either we have been given (complete tense) all things that pertain to life and godliness, or Peter and then all scripture given by the work of the Apostles and prophets is a lie!

 

The Apostle John, in writing the last of the letters that would constitute scripture (1, 2, 3 John and the Gospel of John), would write that the things they had been given (holy men of God through the Spirit), they would add to the eye witness testimony, and “write” it to Christians for the sake of fellowship (joint participation with them, the Father and the Son – 1 John 1:1-4).

John also recognizes, like Paul, that there was in existence a singular doctrine, and that it belonged to Christ Jesus alone. In addition, the Christian could have no hope of fellowship with the Father or the Son apart from it (2 John 9).

 

It was prophesied in scripture that apostasy would come; as men would begin to exalt themselves to be equal with God, and many would not have a love for the truth, to follow the deceivers (2 Thessalonians 2:4, 10). They would speak lies in hypocritical hearts (1 Timothy 4:4), be lovers of themselves and money, having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:1-9); there was only one thing that could keep the true servant of God from being led away by them!

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

James 1:21 “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

Jude 3 “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  

 

This is why the “Body of Christ” is to be, above all else, “The pillar and ground of truth” 1 Timothy 3:15.

 

Next: “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth