First Principles Teaching Series Lesson I
Unlocking Biblical Knowledge
Scripture: Isaiah 28: 9 – 13
- Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
- For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
- For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
- To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
- But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
Keys to unlock Biblical knowledge
A. Italicized words in the pages of the Bible.
In our text above, there are some words that are in italics. Can you identify them? Can you tell the reason why the scriptures were written that way?
Italicized words were placed in the Holy Scriptures to give a more smooth flow to the passage and a clearer understanding to its meaning.
B. Who was the scripture written to and who was it written for.
Paul dealt with this fact in Romans 15: 4 and 1 Corinthians 10: 1 –11. This is very important because there are promises to Israel that the church cannot claim to be ours, and instructions to them that we who were formerly known as gentiles did not have to abide by. Examples of these would be the promise of the land of Canaan to the nation of Israel, from the Red Sea to the Euphrates; the dietary laws, which instructed Israel what they could and should not eat.
The epistles to the Romans and the Corinthians are just that; letters to the Church at Rome and Corinth, but they are also for us, because God is using their experience to teach us how to please Him; and they are definitely to us also, because it was written to the Church, and we are a part of the Church.
C. Rightly dividing the scriptures
Putting the pieces or verses from different places in the Bible, together. Precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. 2 Timothy 2: 15
Studying the Bible is more than just reading it on a daily basis. Studying has to do with memorizing and the study of words and their meaning in their original forms and expression (etymology).
D. The Holy Spirit must reveal the scriptures
The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth - John 16: 13 – 15
The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God – 1 Corinthians 2: 9 - 14
Nugget of truth: Knowledge/doctrine is presented to us through words and thought – God lets us know what He is thinking by giving us the written word.
Circumstances surrounding the message & The state of the people
The leaders were corrupt and had given themselves over to drunkenness. They did not speak the word of God to the people, but erred in vision and stumbled in judgment. The nation had given itself over to pride and self-reliance. They placed no trust in God.
They made mockery of the true prophet of God (Isaiah), and scoffed against him and his prophetic messages in verses 9 – 10. With contempt and rejection they said, Whom will he instruct? To whom will he impart knowledge? We are not to be treated like babes and infants just weaned. He stammers about the law, line upon line, mandate upon mandate, teaching us the most elementary things with endless repetitions.
In verses 11 – 13, Isaiah replied to them that since they would not receive God’s words of knowledge and doctrine, but instead mocked His approach, God would then speak to them with stammering lips and another tongue. He would speak to them through another nation, whose language and customs they did not understand.
He would offer them rest and refreshing, but because of their heart, they would reject it and become snared, trapped and taken in captivity.
God’s words usually have a double effect, depending on the heart and attitude of the individual who hears it. If the heart and attitude is right before God, the individual will be blessed in the things of God. But if the heart is unbelieving and faithless, the individual will not grow or prosper in that which God so richly provides for the faithful. Mark 4: 1- 20
Nugget of truth: God has spoken. Mankind is the object of the communication and the Bible is the medium that He has chosen to do His communicating through.
The Prophet’s Message for the Church
Taking this very same passage of scripture, Isaiah 28: 9 –13, we will now look at God’s message for you and me. His message to the Church, which is His Body. His words to those who desires to grow in grace and the knowledge of God. To them that are poor in spirit and those hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
Whom shall he teach knowledge?
Whom shall he make to understand doctrine?
The “whom” is not so much a name as it is a state, attitude and heart of an individual. What is God looking for in a person, so that He might be able to teach him/her knowledge and make him/her to understand doctrine? Jeremiah 6: 10
First - Your state - Are you born again? 2 Corinthians 5: 17; 1 Cor. 2:14
Second - Your attitude - Do you respect/honor the word of God? Ps. 119 (97 – 104, 127, 128)
Third - Your heart - How committed/determined are you? Daniel 1: 8; Phil. 3: 14
When God looked at humanity, He had a people in mind that he willed to be His choice, 1 Cor. 1: 26 – 29.
Our original text (Isaiah 28: 9 – 13) gives the answer as to whom God will teach knowledge and make to understand doctrine.
Question: Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine?
Answer: Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
This answer is familiar to us in the natural state, because we know what it means for a baby to be weaned. Simply put, it is the time when a child is not dependent on its mother anymore for milk. The child has no more desire for the breast; it is drawn from it.
So then, to interpret this verse in regards to the question and answer above, we would say that God “will teach knowledge” and “make to understand doctrine,” those that are not dependent on milk anymore. But what does milk have to do with my spirituality? What is the writer talking about with this symbolic use of the word milk?
Let’s find the answer in the word of God. 1 Peter 2: 2; 1 Cor. 3: 1 – 2; Hebrew 5: 12 – 14
We have to go on unto perfection - Heb. 6: 1 – 3
Whom shall he teach knowledge
Knowledge means to know, to see, to be aware.
The general theme of the Bible is God and His works and the specific theme of the Bible is Jesus. God wants you to know, see and be aware of this in a personal way. He wants you to know He loves you and gave Himself for you on the cross.
God made known His ways unto Moses and His acts unto the children of Israel - Psalm 103: 7
Paul wanted to know Christ - Phil. 3: 7 – 11
Coming into the knowledge of the truth - 1 Tim. 2: 3 – 4
The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth - 1 Tim. 3: 14 – 15
The Church should be a place where the knowledge of God is revealed through men and women gifted by the Holy Spirit - Ephesians 4: 11 – 24
Lack of knowledge - Hosea 4: 6
Knowledge of the glory of the Lord - Habakkuk 2: 14
Seeking knowledge with great determination - Proverbs 2: 1 – 6
Whom shall he make to understand doctrine
Doctrine means teaching. It has to do with truths that are revealed by way of instruction. Doctrine has to do with the precepts and teachings that characterize the functions and way of life of a people, group or organization.
Lewis Sperry Chafer said, “doctrine is the bone structure of the body of revealed truth, the neglect of it must result in a message characterized by uncertainties, inaccuracies, and immaturity.” Systematic Theology, Vol1, Preface V.
In other words, doctrine keeps the whole body of revealed truth in their rightful place, so that the student of the Word (Bible) would be able to properly comprehend it.
It is not enough to tell the people to be good. The preacher must teach the people how to be good. And this is what doctrine does, it instructs us on how to please God and to walk perfectly before Him.
The doctrines of the scriptures govern the way of life of a believer in Jesus. They teach us how to please Christ in every area of life. They are not merely rules that one follows, but rather a way of life that teaches us how to live a life empowered by the Spirit.
There are many doctrines revealed in the holy Scriptures, such as, salvation, righteousness, faith, the gospel, holiness (sanctification), the first and second coming of Jesus, the tribulation, new Heaven and Earth, etc.
Paul’s Message on Doctrine
Paul told Timothy to command some not to teach any other doctrine - 1 Tim. 1: 3 – 7
Doctrine of devils - 1 Tim. 4: 1
Good doctrine - 1 Tim. 4: 6
Command and teach - 1 Tim. 4: 11
Give yourself to reading, exhortation and doctrine - 1 Tim. 4: 13
Take heed … to the doctrine - 1 Tim. 4: 16
Commit doctrine to faithful men who will teach others - 2 Tim. 2: 2
Study to show yourself approved unto God - 2 Tim. 2: 15 – 18
Resistors of the truth - Evil men and seducers - 2 Tim. 3: 7 – 17
The Bereans welcomed the truth - Acts 17: 10 – 12
Preach the word - 2 Tim. 4: 1 – 4
Speak sound doctrine - Titus 2: 1 – 10
Wind of doctrine - Eph. 4: 11 - 23
Doctrine taught by Christ - Eph. 4: 20 – 23
Precept upon precept – Line upon line
In our previous look at the topics of knowledge and doctrine, we applied the principle of precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. We rightfully divided the scriptures by putting the pieces from different places together so as to understand God’s message that He is communicating to His people.
We saw how milk is used in the Bible to teach that a Christian that is carnal (governed by the flesh), can only receive milk (elementary teachings) as their source of nourishment. The new convert is also encouraged to drink milk so they can grow into the place whereby they will soon mature into eating meat (the deep teachings of the Bible).
We also looked at the specifics of the knowledge of the Lord and His command to learn and apply good doctrine in opposition to the doctrines of demons. In all of this, allowing the Holy Spirit to mold and shape us through the words that He has given for our edification, exhortation and comfort.
Stammering lips and another tongue - Isaiah 28: 11
In this verse we are faced with what is termed in theological circles, the “primary and secondary application of the Truth.” The application of such verses is left to the discernment of a Spirit guided judgment. The individual must allow the Holy Spirit to guide him.
Paul used Isaiah 28: 11 to teach the main purpose of the gift of tongues in 1 Cor. 14: 20 – 22. Examples of this can be found in Acts 2: 1 – 11; 10: 44 – 48; 19: 1 – 7; 1 Cor. 14.
Paul saw by the Spirit, a secondary application of Isaiah 28: 11 and taught the Church the purpose of functioning in this awesome gift. He taught them that the gift of tongues is for a sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers. Just as how the people of Israel did not believe Isaiah and God spoke through the Assyrians to them, so those who are unbelievers today, should know, that whenever they hear the gift of tongues, they would understand that the supernatural work of God is being demonstrated and they need to repent from their sin and turn to God through Jesus.
The Rest and the Refreshing - Isaiah 28: 12 - 13
Through the knowledge of God and His doctrine, God wanted to give men rest and refreshing, but they would not hear. Jesus said to come to Him, all that labor and are heavy laden with all the burdens of life and He would give them rest, hope and understanding ( Matt. 11: 28 – 30).
Regardless of the response of mankind, God will still send His word the same perfect way that He has always done it, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. Man’s choice will determine his fate. If he does not listen, he will be snared and taken, lost for all eternity. If he listens and obey, he will be accepted and given the privilege of sharing in the good promises of Jesus.