Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
For those who read the Bible seriously, an interesting problem arises when others claim to have a contrary or at least different understanding about what it teaches. How can we be sure we are correct in our own understanding? If we do our study carefully, sometimes we will find out we were mistaken and need to change our view on what the Bible says. But as we do further study, our understanding will become more accurate to the point we can be quite certain our view is correct. Studying the Bible by means of extensive cross references is one of the best ways to grow in our understanding of the Bible.
SERIES TITLE: Getting Hooked on the Book
SUBJECT: New Treasury Introduction
SESSION THREE: By What Authority?
MATERIALS NEEDED: Furnish each student with a Bible and a New Treasury.
LESSON OBJECTIVE: Learn and accept the concept that the Bible alone and in its entirety is our authoritative source for faith and practice.
SCRIPTURE TEXT: Isaiah 8:20
- the law. ver. +16 (+Is 8:16). Ezr 10:3. Mt 4:7. *Lk 10:26. *Lk 16:29, 30, 31. **Jn 5:39, 46, 47. **Ac 17:11. Ro 4:3. Ga 3:8, etc. Ga 4:21, 22. **2 Tim 3:15, 16, 17. *2 P 1:19. if they speak not. +**Ps 119:63. +*Pr 19:27. Mt 24:4. +Mk 4:24. +Lk 8:18. *Ac 20:28, 29, 30, 31, 32. 2 Cor 4:2. Ga 1:6, 7. 3:1. Ep 4:14. +2 Tim 3:5. 2 P 2:1. 3:16. 2 J 9, 10. according. Here we learn the absolute importance of basing every doctrine, every belief, on the written word of God. No error is more fundamental, nor more disastrous, than depending upon some external source of authority, whether extra-Biblical writings, or an organization claiming to dispense God’s truth. The only source of authority is the written word of God. This word is declared in many ways to be perspicuous—that is, understandable (Dt 30:11 note; +Ps 102:18, T#49; +*Pr 8:9) to the ordinary person, who, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, together with careful study, may be trusted to come to just and sound conclusions as to the meaning of Scripture. Otherwise how could spiritual truth be made known to “babes and sucklings” (Ps 8:2. Mt 11:25), and how could ordinary listeners be commended for checking up on the accuracy and truthfulness of an apostle (**Ac 17:11), and be charged with the responsibility of judging the message of an apostle, to determine that it was the true gospel (Ga 1:8)? Note that the great doctrinal epistles are specifically addressed to the “saints,” that is, the ordinary believers, not to the pastors, bishops, theologians, or authorities of the church (Ro 1:6, 8; 1 Cor 1:2; Ep 1:1; Phil 1:1; Col 1:2). We shall be judged on the basis of our belief or disbelief in the written word of God (Jn 5:24-47. 12:48); in that day we will not be able to excuse our wrong belief, if such it should prove to be, by an appeal claiming “But I believed what my church, pastor, organization, etc., taught me” (**Ezk 14:10. Mt 7:21, 22, 23; Mk 12:24, 27. **Ro 14:12). T#46. Is 29:11, 12, 13. Mt 15:3, 4, 5, 6, 9. *Mk 7:7, 8, 9. *Jn 12:48. Ro 2:16, 18. 2 Cor 10:12. 11:4. Col 2:8. to this word. +*Dt 4:2. *Pr 30:5, 6. **Je 23:28, 29. **Mk 12:24. *Jn 8:31, 32. it is. Is 30:8, 9, 10, 11. **Ps 19:7, 8. **Ps 119:130. *Je 8:9. Mic 3:6. **Mt 6:23. **Mt 22:29. *Mk 7:7, 8, 9. Ro 1:22. *2 P 1:9. light. Heb. morning. lit. ‘darkness,’ either of morning or of evening (Young). +*Is 17:14. Ge 32:25, 27. Jsh 6:15. 1 S 9:26. Jb 24:16. 38:12. *Ps 101:8. *Ps 119:105, 130. 139:9. +*Pr 4:18, 19. 20:20. Ho 6:3. *Ml 4:2. *Mt 6:23. *Mt 8:12. Jn 1:9. 3:19. 8:12. *2 Cor 4:3, 4. *2 P 1:19. 1 J 1:5, 7. 2:11. *Jude 1:13.
- Read the Scripture text aloud to the class.
- Raise the issues:
1) Have you ever been confronted by a Jehovah’s Witness at your door, and wondered what is the correct interpretation of a Bible text the Witness confidently misused?
2) If two authorities differ in their interpretation of a Bible text or doctrine, on what basis can a determination be made as to who, if either, is correct?
- Consult the references and notes in the New Treasury provided at Isaiah 8:20.
- After consulting the references supplied to EACH clause of this lesson’s Scripture text, answer the question:
What is the common thread of meaning which underlies all the references gathered for this word, phrase, or clause?
- What conclusions do you draw about the Bible’s own teaching regarding the subjects dealt with in this lesson’s Scripture text?
- What instruction or encouragement do you derive from the insights received from this comparison of related Bible texts?