Advent Bible Study

A Guide to Bible Study Methods Found in Scripture

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Jesus Reveals How To Understand All Scripture

Posted by adventbiblestudy on May 14, 2013

Study methods explained. Bible stories, studies with links between Old and New Testament texts.

Learning about prophecies fulfilled shows how to understand all scripture.

Matthew 13:12-13 NLTse To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. (13) That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

I thought the timing of this statement by Jesus was interesting based on the fact He previously quoted Isaiah 42:1-9. At the end of this prophecy it says: “Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens.

As we search scripture looking for this to be fulfilled, we see there is evidence in Matthew chapter 12. Jesus now introduces a new concept in chapter 13. This is when Jesus begins a series of events to teach His disciples to understand all scripture.

Matthew 13:14-16 NLTse This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. (15) For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ (16) “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

Jesus continues to point us back to prophecies which provide additional details. The Old Testament prophecy can be located by searching a few of the key words on any Bible program for a computer, or using a chain reference found in many study Bibles and of course many computer programs.

Isaiah 6:8-13 NLTse Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (9) And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listencarefully, but do not understandWatch closely, but learn nothing.’ (10) Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.” (11) Then I said, “Lord, how long will this go on?” And he replied, “Until their towns are empty, their houses are deserted, and the whole country is a wasteland; (12) until the LORD has sent everyone away, and the entire land of Israel lies deserted. (13) If even a tenth–a remnant–survive, it will be invaded again and burned. But as a terebinth or oak tree leaves a stump when it is cut down, so Israel’s stump will be a holy seed.”

As with other prophecies Jesus quoted, the end of this prophecy shows another detail which can be easily missed. The end of this prophecy tells us about empty towns. Is there a physical or spiritual interpretation, or both? Where did Jesus preach, in cities, or did He call people out of the cities?

Look at the introduction to Matthew chapter 13. Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. (Matthew 13:1-2 NLTse).

Once we highlight the keys words from verse to verse, it is easy to see the relationship between the verses and the method Jesus used to teach. Jesus not only explained the parable before teaching it, the prophecy He quoted also helped to explain its spiritual meaning.

Matthew 13:17-23 NLTse I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it. (18) “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: (19) The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. (20) The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. (21) But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. (22) The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. (23) The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

Notice how Jesus consistently used the same key words from verse to verse. The same key words are also found in the prophecies He quoted.

Jesus quotes another prophecy in Matthew 13. Notice how He teaches within the same theme throughout the entire chapter. Jesus is also teaching context. Remember, the Old Testament was written long before Jesus began His ministry. The New Testament follows the same rules of interpretation as the Old. Determining context is the same in the Old and New Testaments and remains consistent throughout each chapter. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. Context is one part of Jesus’ lesson.

Matthew 13:35 NLTse This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: “I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world.”

Psalms 78:1-8 NLTse O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, (2) for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past– (3) stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. (4) We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. (5) For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, (6) so the next generation might know them– even the children not yet born– and they in turn will teach their own children. (7) So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. (8) Then they will not be like their ancestors– stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.

Notice how the end of this prophecy tells how important it is to hand this information down from one generation to the next. Jesus is teaching His disciples how to understand all scripture. Jesus used a series of lessons using a mixture of Old Testament texts and personal experience, always stressing the importance to look back, searching for the related factors (A study method we find easy to understand once the key words are highlighted.) and relying on the Holy Spirit. One important fact which has been revealed here and we have to believe is, our Infinite God did not rely on forgetful minds of limited, self absorbed people to hand this information down from generation to generation. God recorded everything we need to understand all scripture in His letter to this planet. It is all there.

He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. (Matthew 13:11-13 NLTse)


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