The Banquet and the Bible–Part 2

            In Part 1 I shared the idea that our outlook on the Bible is like hearing a dynamic banquet address, where you’re waiting on tables.  Concerning the Bible, I said we as Christians are not Israel, either spiritually or physically (unless you were born Jewish).  I finished by noting we can break the Bible into ages that make up a framework called dispensationalism.  Allow me to explain these points a bit more.

            At our imaginary banquet several people are given awards.  As a waiter, you have no part in those rewards, since they’re not meant for you.   Think about what God has promised to both Israel and Christians in the Bible.  First, Abraham was promised three things in Gen. 12:1-3—Land, Seed, and Blessing.  God chose Abraham to be the father of the Jews, and they would also become the nation of Israel.  Abraham would be blessed himself, and his descendants would bless others.  They would occupy a specific piece of land, a real part of geography (Gen. 15:18).  Eventually the promised Messiah, Christ, would be one of Abraham’s descendants and bless people throughout the world.  God made specific promises to specific people at specific times as the Scriptures were given.  This is important, because America is not the new Israel or Jerusalem.

            In contrast to the promises to Israel, Christians have not been promised land.  Instead, we’re promised spiritual blessings (2 Peter 1:3-8).  In the Apostle Paul’s writings he calls Christians joint heirs with Christ.  We stand to gain blessings far greater than a piece of real estate.

            Back at our banquet, the speaker’s comments were aimed at a specific audience; but you benefited from them.  What he said was for you, but not to you.  Same with much of the Bible.  In I Cor. 10:6, 11, Paul says the things that happened to Jews in the Old Testament serve as examples for Christians.  Some of these were negative examples that show us what not to do.  Much of the New Testament was written to Christians and serves to give direction and instruction for anyone who is a born again believer in Christ.

            Paul gives us key guidance about both the people and ages of the Bible.  Concerning people, he clearly identifies three groups of people in I Cor. 10:32—Jews, gentiles, and the church of God.  Anyone not born a Jew is a gentile.  The church of God—Christians—contains both gentiles and Jews who are born again.  Paul himself was a Jew.  He forsook his Jewish heritage to follow Christ (Phil. 3:5-14).  Concerning ages, God gave him the task to reveal the identity of the Church, which Old Testament saints new nothing about (Eph. 2:11-3:12).

            It’s very important when you’re reading the Bible that you stop and ask yourself some basic questions.  Who wrote the passage?  Who is the audience?  For example, if it’s a story about Jesus in the four Gospels, who is He talking to?   Jesus seldom spoke to people who weren’t Jewish.  It’s good to have some extra guidance when studying the Scriptures.  A good study Bible or set of study notes is ideal.  Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom as you read.

            A prof I had in Bible college gave me some excellent advice, which I pass on to you.  He said to read large chunks of the Bible.  Get familiar with what’s in God’s Word.  Don’t try to understand everything you read now.  Simply reading and reading helped me pass my Bible college entrance exams.  This was a boost for me, since I didn’t learn much about the Bible growing up.  So, get acquainted with the Word and its Author!

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible Study, Thoughts from John

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