In bible study there are laws that govern what should be accepted and how it should be accepted as doctrine.
In looking at that, there are 3 questions you must ask yourself:
1. Is it written?
2. How is it written?
3. How is it practicable?
1. Let’s take number 1 first, IS IT WRITTEN?
Jesus always quoted the scriptures saying “It is written…”
Think about many doctrines pushed around today and they’re not even written anywhere in scriptures. Imagine a preacher saying “The Bible says heaven helps those who help themselves.” Or “The Bible says a woman must not wear trousers.” Is that even written?
2. Now what if it’s written? We still have to check HOW WAS IT WRITTEN?
This is where the laws come into play. Let’s see them:
THE LAW OF FIRST MENTION
When a writer uses a word or phrase that another earlier writer of scripture has used before, it is believed that the writer of that particular scripture must have had the benefit of reading the earlier scripture and he might have borrowed the usage of the first writer. So checking how it was first used will help shed more light on what the latter writer had in mind when he wrote.
For instance, Malachi used the term “windows of heaven” in Malachi 3:10. To understand what that means, we can use the law of first mention and trace the first time that phrase was used. That’s in Genesis 7.
…the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. So we can see that the “windows of heaven” refers to rainfall.
THE LAW OF SINGLE MENTION
This law simply shows us that anything mentioned once in scripture must not be taken as doctrine. It was an ordinance used to establish truth in the OT times.
…but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.
At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
For instance, ‘baptism for the dead’ is written of in 1 Corinthians 15:29. No explanation was given and no place was it ever used again in scripture. According to the law of single mention, we drop it since we don’t know what it means, unless we want to build on speculations.
THE LAW OF DOUBLE MENTION
2 Corinthians 13:1
This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
1 Timothy 5:19
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Before we can even begin discussing any doctrine, there must be at least 2 scriptural witnesses.
THE LAW OF EMPHATIC MENTION
In a case a concept is mentioned even once but exhaustively explained, then it’s taken for doctrine.
3. Finally, IS IT PRACTICABLE?
Sometimes the religious and zealous practices that people draw from the Bible is not faith at all but foolishness.
This third aspect of Bible study is to help people use their God-given brain too as they apply Bible truths. You don’t want us to go into the crazy stuffs people have gone into because they thought the Bible forbids the use of their common sense.
Mind you, it’s not just wise enough after this series that one should not apply what he/she has learnt. When reading your Bible, make your you consider these rules and helps. So that you may prove yourself before God.
Now that we have concluded this crash Bible study course, let us pray!