OUTLINES FOR BIBLE TEACHERS
By Frederick Newth
The following papers were originally written to a young Teacher, who desired to interest others in the Word of God, and asked for guidance as to what lines he should proceed upon.
With this statement, our readers will understand the Epistolary form of these papers.
Let us keep in mind what the Bible claims to be. It is a revelation of Gods mind and heart towards man. It also reveals his counsels as to Creation, and His purposes in relation to His own People [the Jews], with whom He [initially] entered into Covenant, and this for a certain time, and limited to the seed of Abraham: so that we may not be in darkness as to the history of the world He has created, as well as the inhabitants upon it.
Bible is not a scrap-book. It is not a
birthday text-book. It is not intended
to be used for an almanack to be cut up in little snippets, according to the
space allowed by the printers requirements.
It is not intended for wall decoration, surrounded with florid
horticultural specimens, for people to look at and admire and say - Oh! how beautiful. Nor is it to be taken in weekly and then have
a beautiful binding and put in the front window under a glass case. It brings before us both the acts and ways of
God (Psalm 103:
7) - His acts were seen by the children of
Thus, it says there was not a house where there was not one dead. Pharaoh knew and felt that. But he did not see that in the houses of the Israelites - the one dead was a lamb; and that the sprinkled blood was that which protected, nor did he know that a LIFE presented in substitution was the sign of Jehovahs protection and preservation. Life forfeited, must be acknowledged by all. Then another life is given to us, even that of the sacrificed one The Lord Jesus Christ, GOD manifest in the flesh, raised from the dead. The ACT is known by the whole world - or nearly so. But His way is hidden from the multitude.
As you desire to help others, you will find that, with the natural pride of the heart, many will raise objections, and become critics. We must search the scriptures; and be kept from becoming fault-finding critics. It is the Word which is to criticise us. The word critic is to be found only ONCE in the Bible, and that is in Hebrews 4: 12. For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner (critic) of the thoughts and intent of the heart. It will not do the person any good to occupy his time in criticising the sword that is meant to cut him down.
The Bible, then, is to be read as a whole. It takes in a period of time of great compass; that is, from the time God prepared the world for MAN, not from the time of Creation. Creation is dismissed in one verse, In the beginning God created, etc. And then we read that the Earth was, or became without form. What catastrophe brought that ruin about we do not know.
After this comes the preparation of the earth for MAN. Follow this out, and then come to the final accomplishment of this counsel of God as seen in Revelation 21: 3, when the declaration shall be made: Behold the tabernacle of God is with MEN. (Note: Revelation - not RevelationS, as many, in ignorance, read). This line of study must lead us to follow up His COUNSEL, and that brings in the Seed of the woman to crush the serpents head (Gen. 3: 15).
you will have to search out in Genesis what the covenant made with Abraham
means (Gen. 15: 5). Here it is the People (
is afterwards raised up to bring
The four Gospels reveal the ACTS of the People, and their hardness of heart; for they killed the MESSIAH - the very One who alone could bring them into possession. Then you will study the book called The Acts of the Apostles, and you will see the theme of that book to be that they not only killed the Lord of Glory, but refused to believe that God had RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD.
the Apostle Paul is brought upon the scene, this you will find in Acts 13: 46. Paul speaks thus, But seeing you put it from
you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. And he did
turn to the Gentiles (see Ephesians 3: 1). Then
the 6th.verse, That the Gentiles should be
fellow heirs, etc. - a joint Body
in Christ - and not merely brought into the Commonwealth promised to
Do not be drawn aside by the carping and criticism of sceptics of Gods Acts, which always hide His ways. Read the second chapter of Jonah, and then it may be that some will be brought to see that God was teaching Jonah and, through Jonah, ourselves; that no deliverance can come to any people but through DEATH and RESURRECTION. Those who see this will say with Jonah, I will SACRIFICE into THEE with the voice of thanksgiving. SALVATION is of the Lord. It is the only symbol of the resurrection in the Old Testament that the Lord Jesus uses to affirm the truth of His own [select] resurrection [out of dead ones (Lit. Gk.)].
By virtue of the one great SACRIFICE of the Lord Jesus Christ, believers can give thanks unto the FATHER which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (Col. 1: 12).
* * *
I am glad to know that the subject of the Lords Second Coming has aroused your interest. To be well-grounded in this truth is of the first importance. In learning this, you will at once see the necessity of rightly dividing the Word of Truth. It is only as we do this that we can be approved. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2: 15).
Never mind, men. If you pursue this line of study you will find how much there is to unlearn, as I did in my younger days. Let me give you the benefit of my experience. Before I do so, I would say that you had better leave quite alone the sensational literature on the subject of the Lords Coming, and all books that pretend and presume to give dates for this event, based, as they affirm, on the dates given in Daniel and Revelation. But, to the damage of all such prophecies, their reckonings have to be adjusted every few years. They are but catchpenny productions; they are like worthless clocks which have to be put backward of forward from time to time to harmonise with present conditions.
I have been through all of this; and, perhaps, it will be helpful to give you the benefit of my flounderings.
When quite a young man - a very few years older than yourself, and attending a Nonconformist section of the Christian Church - I was constantly hearing that the World was being converted, and in this way would be fulfilled the glorious anticipations of the prophetic scriptures declared in Habakkuk 2: 14, For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters of the sea.
The occasion was a Missionary Anniversary, and I heard this astonishing conclusion of a celebrated minister of that day: We may say, my brethren, that we have now commenced the millennium.
This is the popular delusion of the preaching of the present day; and, in proof of this, I give you a few sentences from a sermon now before me, and published in the Daily Mail of February 18th. The preacher gives a sketch of the Model Citizen. He is one who shews poverty of spirit, simple meekness, - mercifulness fortitude in adversity and persecution. On what the preacher calls this sort of manhood, Christ purposed to rely for His work of subduing the world and establishing a new order of things. Jesus Christ set before His disciples, as their prime duty, the work of reforming the Earth. The novelty of Christs Kingdom was this that it was to owe nothing to force, and yet it was to cover the whole earth; and so on, in the same foolish strain.
He does not say where the adversity and persecution is to come from when the earth is subdued and the new order is established.
This period of forbearance on Gods part to the World is called the last time. This, the Spirit of Truth, shews us in 1 John 2: 18 - and tells us how we may know it - Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we may know that it is the last time.
The Apostle Paul, in writing to Timothy (1 Tim. 4: 1), tells the same thing: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons. He repeats the warning in 2 Tim. 4: 3, 4: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears FROM the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Such talk of reforming the Earth by their modern petty tricks would be amusing, if it were not pernicious.
The Model Christian, by virtue of meekness, is to inherit the earth. And then breaks out (at the possibility of such an evildoer hindering the consummation): Fancy a model citizen who wont vote; fancy a model citizen who never sallies out to contribute the light of his intelligence and character to the World.
I would also express my own astonishment at this. Only think of the sermon being sent forth in print in February, 1905! It is fair to infer that such ministers are forming the minds and hearts of their people to fulfil their millennial anticipations. If so, then we may expect to have celestial cake-walks, enchanting pig raffles, lectures by Spiritists, and performances by fifth-rate choirs. I do not hesitate to say that such teaching as this is only fable; and shows that there is such a sin as handling the Word of God deceitfully (2 Cor. 4: 2).
At the same time, many of a like mind are advertising conferences and suchlike machinery to engage a revival. Why should it be expected? The exaltation of humanity is being preached by those called prominent preachers, occupying the most coveted pulpits.
When Hezekiah was stirred in his heart at the wickedness that had been introduced into the worship of Jehovah by preceding kings, it is recorded in 2 Kings 18: 5, He trusted in the Lord God of Israel (verse 6) For he clave unto the Lord and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses. Then the next thing he did was: He brought the princes and the Levites, and gathered them together, and said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites; sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place (2 Chron. 29: 45).
It will be necessary for you to press home the importance of this teaching before going more in detail on the subject of Bible Study. God will not allow His truth to be mixed up with mans devices. If any man is determined to do His will, he shall know the doctrine (John 7: 17). If we neglect this principle, we may be ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Therefore, we must clear away the rubbish before the heart can be in a fit condition to hear what God declares concerning His ways.
The Model Christian has made many attempts to establish peace in the Earth. Not only Citizens, but Kings [and todays Politicians] also - and a pretty mess they have made of it. Exhibitions were to do it. I well remember the first Exhibition and its motto: Peace on earth and good will towards man. If ever the haughtiness of man should be bowed down, the history of Exhibitions ought to do it.
me rapidly recount them. Take ten years,
from 1851 to 1862 - the period of the two great Exhibitions in
can from this point look back and remember the Hague Conference, when
The cost of the navies of the World to maintain this peace is estimated at ninety-nine to one hundred millions sterling. Yet the discernment of preachers is so limited, and so dense, that they still talk of reforming the World by A VOTE.
this is not so with [all] political writers. One of them brings the following weighty
protest against such visionary ideas. On
hearing the last line of the Carol sung, Peace on
earth and mercy mild, he says, Another aspect
of the great Advent which they sang presented itself to my mind: Think not that I came to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matt 10: 34.) Never, alas! has prophecy been more
completely fulfilled, I thought, calling to mind the bloody history of the
Churches, which have fought and torn, murdered and tortured in the name of
Christ for close on two thousand years, and rejoice in the militant. But the
The above refers to nations, but the next verse relates to family life:- For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a mans foes shall be they of his own household.
It is these apparent contradictions that puzzle those who tell you The novelty of Christs Kingdom was this that it was to owe nothing whatever to force. Others are recklessly challenging the truth of Gods Word and disputing as to the possibility of the ass speaking, or the serpent tempting Eve. The Holy Spirit by Peter says it did the domb ass speaking with mans voice.
Of one thing you may be quite sure - though the ass spoke he had no understanding of the import of speech. Balaam had. In this particular Balaam stands on a higher platform than the highter critics for he knew what the animal was talking about and they dont.
Another apparent inconsolable difficulty you will have to meet, is, that while the Lord Jesus is said to have brought the gospel to the whole world - yet, when He sent the twelve forth, He gave strict command, Go not into the way of the Gentiles; But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 10: 5).
It is only as we rightly divide the word of truth that such differences as these can be made plain.
Gods Word is not treated with the care and respect with which an ordinary railway time-table is treated. If you are going on a railway journey, what care you take to note different routes, changes, junctions, certain limitations, and special trains, etc. So we shall find in reading the Scriptures: there are limitations, changes, stops, and specials. This will serve as an illustration of what is meant by rightly dividing: and, to be skilful in this way is that which proves that you are making an effort to be a good workman.
In conclusion, I will give you one verse to think over. Romans 15: 8. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the Circumcision for the Truth of God to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.
Then I hope to prove the fallacy of the statement that Christs Kingdom will owe nothing whatever to force.
And, after that, I shall seek to satisfy you that Satan is the god of this world, as to its Rule: proceeding strictly on the lines laid down for the Bible Student in 1 Cor. 10: 32, as to the distinction to be observed between JEWS, GENTILES, and THE CHURCH OF GOD.
* * *
THE verse of Scripture
that I closed with in my last letter was: Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the
circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers,
and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy
8). This shows that when the promises are made
good in fulness of time, then, and then only, will Gentiles as a whole glorify God. It will be
that day when Israel shall be brought out of darkness, as shown in Isaiah 60: 1-3,
Arise, shine, for thy light has come (Israel); then, Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness to thy rising. Gentiles do
not receive the Word of God now because they see
want you to see that the promises made to the fathers are not cancelled. They simply remain in abeyance, like a
railway-train in a siding. Seeing that the Lords ministry was to the Circumcision,
it was perfectly consistent that He should say that His ministry was confined
to the lost sheep of the house of
must now look a little more in detail at the promises made unto the fathers. Note
especially the difference between Gods promises which He sware by an OATH, and that covenant which the people (
Gods promise depended on their faithfulness, there would be
no hope for
All those who were made partakers of the Heavenly Calling rested their hopes of this [millennial] inheritance, yet to be accomplished, on this OATH of Jehovah.
I will give a few references, you can follow up the study. The Lord did not set His love upon you because ye were more in number but because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers (Deut. 7: 7, 8).
Here is another He hath remembered his covenant for ever which covenant he made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for an everlasting covenant. (Ps. 105: 8, 9, 10).
The next reference proves distinctly that this blessing hangs upon the national repentance. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us, He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers. (Micah 7: 20).
The next is in Luke. Blessed be the God of Israel for He hath visited and redeemed His people - and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us. as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; THE OATH which He sware to our father Abraham. (Luke 1: 68-73).
Now we can see that all through the history of this people - there were those that looked for the promises of God, thought (or counted) upon His name (Malachi 3: 16). Such were addressed Hebrews 3., as holy brethren partakers of the heavenly calling; - also as the great cloud of witnesses that are distinguished in the eleventh chapter by the exercise of faith in the promises of God. They saw these promises afar off. Ours* is the coming of the Lord in the air to receive us in glory. This is always referred to as a very present event. We which are alive and remain contemplate our position as being very different from that spoken of in Hebrews 11. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith received NOT the promise. (Heb. 11: 39). By thus rightly dividing the word of truth we are enabled to keep the Epistle to the Hebrews in its right place, and define the hope of such as are made partakers of the heavenly calling (Heb. 3: 1).
[* That is, those of us who will be alive at that time, who are described as watchful and making supplication that we may prevail to escape. (Luke 21: 36). See also Rev. 3: 10.]
* * *
THE subject if this, my forth letter, will be to shew that the idea of the world being converted by the present forces at work, and through the Gospel, must end in failure. This will not deter anyone called of God from going forth and preaching His word in the dark regions of the earth. Only let him be quite clear as to the aim he has in view.
instance of such false expectations I extract from a Missionary Magazine.
The population of the Indian Empire (which may be put down at 300,000,000) increases ever year by the mere excess of generation of children to the number of three millions or thirty millions in a decade.
The recorded number of adherents to the Christian religion, and this embraces (1) the ancient Syrian Church of 1,000 year standing; (2) the Roman Catholic, say 300 years; (3) Protestant Missions established within the last 100 years. Numbering altogether, at that date, 2, 284, 172.
in face of such a record of facts, an enthusiast of the Worlds Conversion
theory has such an imagination as to write that if conversions proceed at the
rate of the numbers given above, the whole population of
But others say that the world must be evangelised before the Lord comes, and give as their authority Matthew 24: 8. If you read carefully from the first verse you will see that there is no reference to the gospel of the grace of God. It is the gospel of the kingdom at the end of this [evil] age immediately preceding His personal return. For I say unto you, ye shall not SEE ME henceforth till ye shall say, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord (Matt. 23: 39). The Lords words are: And THIS gospel of the KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Meaning clearly, the end of this [evil and apostate] age, with another age [of a thousand years] to follow.
There is nothing here about Evangelising. On the contrary, it is all about deceivers - sorrows, false prophets, iniquity abounding, and love waxing colder. Above all, that astounding culmination of wickedness, the abomination of desolation, is given as a sign for taking refuge in flight.
Another fact must be now presented. What hope is there for the world turning TO the Truth when the Word of God tells us that even those who make a mere profession of Faith will turn FROM it? (2 Tim. 4: 3-4; also 2 Thess. 2: 4). Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the day of the Lord, mentioned above) shall NOT COME except there come the falling away (the Apostasy, R.V.) first. Read also 2 Peter 2: 1-3, and here we have the prediction of false prophets, false teachers and heresies of destruction. Such are at work already, and things are even to wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim. 3: 13).
It is astonishing how greedily nominal Christianity, uninstructed by the Scriptures, swallows the pious frauds put before it. And the solemn part of it all is, that these perversions and inventions are given forth from [Bible] colleges and pulpits, by men of intellect, who please to announce themselves as having higher spiritual insight and exegesis than others have attained. The Apostle John foresaw this day. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.* But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye NEED not any man teach you (1 John 2: 26, 27).
[*NOTE. Post and Anti-millennialists Christians must be amongst others referred to here.]
This shows there is no absolute need for teachers [of prophetic truths]; but when they turn into deceivers it is better for to be without them, for the Holy Spirit would have freer scope, and the true seeker would not be hampered with the subterfuges and evasions heard in religious exercises when Divine service is performed. When such false Apostles present themselves as the ministers of Christ, the Holy Spirit will prove that He can frustrate their aims.
Another error I will meet here. Those that look for the extension of Christs kingdom, as it is constantly termed, take refuge in that Scripture in Acts, and look for a great outpouring of the Spirit. Read Acts 2 carefully - And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
is enough to shew that this does not
refer to the day in which we are living, but to the prophetic future of
these terrors are to surpass in severity the plagues of
The enquiry comes to one in this form: What is the World to be converted to? If the leaders in the Christian sphere had their way, it would lead into what is called Higher Criticism. It would be better known as destructive criticism. I quote from The Harvest Field of the Wesleyan Mission in a district of India. This is what is here taught: It is now a widely-accepted belief among Old Testament students that the so-called Five Books of Moses were not written by Moses. It is widely believed now that Isaiah knew nothing of Isaiah 40. - 46.; or Job, nothing of the Book of Job; or Daniel of the Book of Daniel. These critics are not backward in self-conceit. They always pose as intellectuals, or educated. For example, they say, For some considerable time past almost every educated and unprejudiced student of the Book of Genesis has felt that there is not to be found there a transcript of actual history in the restricted meaning of that word.
This writer instils doubt into the mind throughout the whole of his article. He brings out those stock objections of the infidel school, such as Tom Paine, Taylor, Bradlaugh, Foote, and many others: Whence came Cains wife. The Serpent, sin, and man formed from the dust, the loss of primitive innocency are considered a highly delightful picturesque account of the Creation. But it is not a fact that the mythical significance of this story has been obscured for ages simply through the perversion of its meaning by a literal interpretation perpetuated by traditional orthodoxy?
I must close with what the writer has to say of the marriage of the sons of God to the daughters of men*; of the deluge, and call of Abraham. Obviously these stories were not written for the purpose of accurately preserving ancient historical data. They appear to have neither scientific nor philosophical significance. They were written to teach religion.
[* See added Footnote on this event, as recorded in Gen. 6: 2- 7.]
I can agree with these last six words, as applied to the writer. He can teach religion; but it is a religion that disbelieves God and exalts man. For, as he says, Human nature must develop. Here he states a solemn truth. It will develop until human nature dethrones God, despises His Word by refusing to take heed to it, and exalts the highest standard of human nature that Satan can produce in the ANTICHRIST.
It is to this that the world is being converted; and it is religion that is preparing the way.
Relative to the subject above - the marriage of the sons of God [materialized angels] to the daughters of men - the following is part of a paper by W. H. Bacon entitled: The Materialization of Spirits:-
The ANTICHRIST may actually be on earth in person, for he is, I conceive, to be born by the agency of SPIRIT MATERIALISM. There would be no difficulty in this, for the same effect was attained in the days of Noah, when the sons of God (fallen angels) came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, and the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.*
[* Bold type above is mine. Ed.]
That Spiritist materialization is no fiction the writer well knows from personal experience before his conversion to God.
Christians deny the possibility of materialization on the ground - they say -
that materialization is creation and that God alone can create. It is perfectly true that God alone can
create, i.e., bring into being out of nothing, but materialization
is the reducing of something which already exists to a state of matter of which
our senses can take cognizance, and the Word of God reveals this
possibility. I see no reason to doubt
the LORD GODS LITERALITY walking in the garden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3: 8); and spirit materialization is proved by the
incident recorded in Gen. 18, And the Lord appeared unto him (Abraham) in the plains of Mamre; and
he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
and he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo! THREE MEN STOOD BY HIM; and
when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the
tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
and said: My Lord,
if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched,
and wash your feet, and
rest yourselves under the tree; and I will fetch
a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for
therefore ye are come to your servant.
And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened
into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon
the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a
calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young
man: and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter,
and milk, and the calf
which he had dressed, and set it before them;
and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat (verses
1-8); and in verse
16 we read: And the men rose up from thence,
and looked toward
Here, indeed, was a case of SPIRIT MATERIALIZATION - for although the three persons are called men because they APPEARED in the form of men, they were de facto spirits materialized, and one of them, obviously, the Lord Himself.
In the following chapter (Gen. 19: 1-5) we get another incident illustrating the fact of spirit materialization.
Here are absolute proofs of the possibility of Spirit Materialization - angels actually appearing and being, therefore, regarded as men, and other cases could be mentioned from the Word of God; the above, however, will surely suffice to prove the truth of what we say.
We would here repeat that Materialization is not Creation, and we trust that what we have written will meet the difficulty of those who deny the possibility of it.
The fact that angels (spirits) could and did materialize goes for to prove that spirits - although fallen - may have still the power to materialize and de-materialize, and we think it probable that herein is the meaning of the expression in Jude 6, the angels WHICH KEPT NOT THEIR FIRST ESTATE, BUT LEFT THEIR OWN HABITATION, their evil object being to cohabit with the daughters of men, which we are thoroughly convinced is the ultimate object of the spirits today, not, of course, those who are spoken of in 2 Pet. 2: 4, who are imprisoned, reserved unto judgment, but another host of rebellious angels who will fulfil the prediction of the Lord in Matt. 24: 37-39.