(Ask the Pastor is a weekly series that appears in the Northwest Baptist Church Sunday Bulletin. This question and others in this series are submitted from those who attend Northwest Baptist Church)
Question: The Bible teaches lessons for all people of all times BUT are all the words spoken to all? Are some only to the people spoken to at the time? Do we dismiss parts of the Bible? – Karen
Answer: Thank you for this question, Karen. The entire Bible is relevant for every believer in Jesus Christ. We know this for Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Paul told Timothy that all of Scripture is necessary. This is true because every word has been “breathed out by God.” The Bible is inspired, authoritative, and inerrant. Paul also referenced this matter to the Corinthian church. He was explaining how the people in the Old Testament are our example. He said, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) The entirety of the Bible is to be accepted because it is the inspired Word of God. There is not a single passage of Scripture which can be dismissed. Yes, there are some passages that only apply to the people they were written to. However, these verses are still to be studied and treasured. They are there for a reason, and it’s always for our good.
Although every Scripture is relevant and useful for our instruction, we must interpret the Bible in its proper context to determine its proper application. We must approach every chapter and verse by asking some important questions. Here are some of the questions I ask when I study the Bible.
1. What is the context? What is happening before and after this verse passage?
2. Who was this book written to? Who wrote this book?
3. Are there any historical or cultural aspects to consider?
4. How does this passage fit in with the grand narrative of the entire scripture?
5. Where is the gospel in this passage?
6. Is this passage describing something that happened or is the author prescribing something to do?
7. Where else does the Bible talk about this particular topic?
8. What is the original Greek or Hebrew word used in the original language of the text