Text: 2 Cor.5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” [KJV]
Part 1: Understanding The Scriptures.
In Acts 8:29-35 we find a classical example of a situation in which a man read the Scriptures and never understood it. He needed an explanation, hence, Philip being sent by the Holy Spirit, “explained the Scriptures” to him. Take note that Philip didn’t decide to use an opportunity to preach Christ to the man, rather he explained exactly the scriptures the man was reading at that time – it was about the Christ, how he paid the price for sin. (See Isa.53).
In verse 30-31 the Bible says,
” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. ” [NIV]
On this note, we can infer that THE SCRIPTURES ARE TO BE EXPLAINED. This can be done in two ways:
1. The Holy Spirit guides into all of the Truth. (Jn.16:12-16).
2. Sometimes, we need someone to explain the Scriptures to us (like it’s stated in vs.30-31).
Anyone who should be in a position to explain the Scriptures must do it rightly (like Philip did), and to do that, there must be a proper and objective manner of doing so. To successfully do this, two key things are required:
2 Tim.2:15 says,
” Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ” [KJV]
The first key thing mentioned here is STUDY. This word from the Greek rendering is “spoudazo” which means ‘to make effort, give diligence, labour, etc.’ The person must labour in the place of study; it’s not an easy task, it requires a great deal of patience and openness, with a desire to understand in a careful manner what the Scriptures say.
The second key thing mentioned is RIGHTLY DIVIDING. The Greek word, “orthotomeo” means ‘to make a straight cut, that is (figuratively) to disect (expound) correctly (the divine message).’ Not only should there be a careful and diligent study, there should also be a careful explanation in the correct or accurate application. The person has to be detailed (explain in great details – expound).
Understanding of Scriptures cannot come without great and precise details being presented and looked into. And the best method to study and get these details in such a precise manner, is the Contextual Study method (a.k.a Contextual Interpretation). And it is important to note that such person must be Born Again. A man who is not Born Again would not have a base to correctly interpret the Scriptures because there wouldn’t be that spiritual experience to give personal evidence and confirmation of the Word in such a person. Such person, if they ever try to explain it, cannot put faith in the Word or be confident about it, rather, they would question it and increase doubt. Such person would only have ‘head knowledge’ which wouldn’t profit them.
So, when the Scriptures are properly understood in this light, the meaning of the text scripture above (2Cor.5:17) would become open to the heart of the believer, and stir up much confidence in God’s word.