Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
which is in Christ Jesus. V. 16 shows how it is that the Bible can do this, pointing out that this is due to its being Divinely inspired, and to its having the uses that secure such a result, while v. 17 shows the result of such uses: qualifying God's people to be completely equipped for all good works. All three of these verses teach the Bible's efficiency, which we discussed above, as well as its instructiveness. All of them imply its inspiration; v. 16 teaches it directly; and all of them teach its uses. Hence this passage is very meaningful as to the Bible's theory on itself. As just shown, v. 16 in addition to its inspiration teaches its uses, which it shows to be fourfold: (1) doctrinal, (2) refutational, (3) corrective and (4) character constructive. A careful and all-sided consideration will result in the conclusion that these four uses of the Bible are all-embracing. They leave nothing out. They cover all cases completely. It is for these facts that they are intended to complete the equipment of all of God's people for every good work. Thus these verses prove that the Bible has also the quality of perfection, not for every purpose, but for all of its own purposes. This fact should endear that grand old book to all God's people, and make them use it faithfully for its purposes.
First of all we will study the doctrinal use of the Scripture. It will be noted that Paul does not use the term doctrine in this passage as the equivalent of what is the present use of the word dogma, which has a more restricted meaning than doctrine as the word is here used; for dogmas mean the articles of one's belief, while the word doctrine as here used, though including all that comes under the head of dogmas, covers other subjects than dogmas, since by doctrine the Bible here, additional to dogmas, means also its teachings on the promises, prophecies, histories and types. Hence we see that it is a wider term than dogma, as this word is popularly used. But by that term doctrine in 2 Tim. 3: 16 it does not include teachings that are refutative of error, corrective of faults and constructive of character.
In the widest sense of the word, the Greek word didascalia, here translated doctrine, means any and all kinds of teaching, but here, in v. 16, it is restricted to mean what concerns matters of faith on dogma, prophecy, history, promise and type, as distinct from polemical matters and matters of practice. Accordingly, we will here use the word doctrine to cover matters of dogma, prophecy, history, promise and type as these are set forth in the Bible. It is distinct from refutation, in that it sets forth its thoughts constructively, while refutation sets forth its thoughts destructively as to error and as to attacks on the Truth. It is also distinct from correction, in that it sets forth positive teachings of faith, while the latter sets forth teachings destructive of faults. It is also distinctive from instruction in right doctrines of His grace, but let us remember that it is righteousness, inasmuch as it shows what we ought to believe, while instruction in righteousness sets forth what and how we ought to be and do. The first shows us what we ought to believe, the second what we ought not to believe, the third what we ought not to be and do, and the fourth what we ought to be and do.
Accordingly, in a general way we would say that by doctrine v. 16 means all that the Bible teaches on what we ought to believe. It has, therefore, to do with the Bible's theories, i.e., those teachings of God's plan that call on us to believe them, in distinction from the other three features just defined in contrast with doctrine. In specific respects doctrine includes the dogmas, the promises, the prophecies, the histories and the types of the Bible. The following are the main Bible doctrines on dogma: its belief teachings on the Bible, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, God's Law, the Covenants, Predestination, Creation, Angels, Man, the Fall, the Curse, the Permission of Evil, the Wages of Sin, the First Hell, the Worlds, the Ages, the Planes of Being, the Ransom, High Calling, Christ's and the Church's Spirit Begettal, Growth, Strengthening, Balance, Anointing, Crystallizing, and Birth, Human Depravity,
Repentance, Faith, Justification, Sanctification, the Three Ways, Sin Offerings, Seven Epochs Of The Church, Deliverance, the Church, Baptism, Lord's Supper, Ancient Worthies, Great Company, Youthful Worthies, Antichrist, Sectarianism, Second Advent, Election, Free Grace, the Harvest, the Day of Vengeance, Overthrow Of Satan's Empire, the Kingdom, its Establishment in Two Phases, Resurrection, Restitution, Final Trial, Paradise and the Obedient Restored, the Second Death or Second Hell. These are the main dogmas of the doctrinal parts of the Bible. All of these subjects are treated extensively in the Bible. In harmony with God's purpose none of them is exhaustively treated in any one place; but piecemeal, here, there and elsewhere in the Bible, are they treated. Some of them because of having a very widespread appeal are treated very clearly, e.g., Repentance, Faith, Justification by faith, God's attributes of being and character, Creation, the Law, Man, etc., since they are things written on the back of the scroll. Others of them are treated less clearly, i.e., the matters of the High Calling. Still others are treated obscurely, e.g., Time of the Second Advent and of the Harvest, Predestination, the New Creative process of Christ and the Church, the Youthful Worthies, etc. Nevertheless, they are all treated of in the Bible sufficiently to make them clear to the classes to whom they apply, by Jesus' ministry exercised through His mouthpieces. The fact that these have all been expounded from and with copious Bible passages proves that the Bible has as a use the revelation of the dogmatical parts of doctrine.
The second feature of the Bible's use for doctrine is prophecy in the sense of prediction; for prophecy in the Bible is frequently also used in the general sense of teaching. Practically every feature of prophecy in the sense of prediction is doctrinal. It occupies a very large part of the Bible. A large part of the Psalms, some of Proverbs, all of Canticles and practically all of the four major and twelve minor Prophets are prophecy, which
is also interspersed among Old Testament history. And if we would look at the types in the histories and biographies of the Old and New Testaments, we would have to say that they are almost entirely prophetic. There is much of prophecy in the sense of prediction in the Gospels, Epistles and, of course, Revelation. Indeed, everything that is connected with the unfolding of God's plan was foretold (Amos 3: 7). Thus we find many details in Jesus' life forecast. Great details are there prophetically given of Israel's experiences. The Bible prophesies much of non-Israelitish nations, e.g., Egypt, Babylon, Arabia, Moab, Ammon, Syria, Phoenicia, Philistia, Persia, Greece, Rome, the ten language nations of Europe and even the U. S. Greater details are given on the real Church and on the nominal church throughout the Gospel Age, and not a little on State, Aristocracy and Labor. Particularly at the end of the Age even greater details are given on these prophetically. Christ's Second Advent, the Gatherings and Siftings of the Harvest, the binding of the tares, the break-down of sectarian Protestantism, its approach to Rome, the great tribulation in its World War, both phases, the World Revolution, the World Anarchy, Jacob's Trouble in both of its phases, the overthrow of Satan's Empire, the Establishment and Operation of God's Kingdom in its two phases, the awakening of the Church and the World from the dead, the Judgment Day, Resurrection, Restitution, the final Trial and its Outcome, Paradise Restored, to the Obedient eternal life given and death eternal meted out to the disobedient,—all of these prophetic features have, in addition to their predictive character, a dogmatic feature, as shown in the preceding paragraph. In almost all cases, so far as the Church real and nominal is concerned, these forecasts are more or less obscure. But those that pertain to Fleshly Israel and their neighbors are much more clearly given. These prophecies are almost never understood before fulfillment, usually not until after fulfillment, though in some cases while in process of
fulfillment. But when due to be understood Jesus through His mouthpieces clarifies them to those to whom they are due to be understood.
A word of explanation is needed to clarify why the histories of the Bible are here treated as a part of the doctrinal use of the Bible. As setting forth facts and as giving dogmatical lines of thought, they clearly belong under doctrine as a use of the Bible, e.g., the account of creation teaches God's existence and some of His attributes of being and character. So, too, does the chronology of the Bible, as a part of history, belong to doctrine, hence belongs to the first use of the Bible; for it helps to unfold many features of God's plan, e.g., prophecy, the flood as expressive of God's power and justice, the exodus, and separateness from the world. Of course, the genealogies given in the histories of the Bible have a doctrinal use, e.g., Christ's carnation, descent from Judah and David, etc. But the histories of the Bible are also susceptible of a refutational use against historical and doctrinal errors, e.g., against evolution and higher criticism, deism, pantheism and materialism. They are susceptible of a correctional use, e.g., the accounts of the sins and their punishments there recorded help one to abstain from sin or to reform therefrom. Similarly, they have a character-constructive use, e.g., Christ's and the Apostles' use of various Bible stories to incite to faith, hope, love and obedience. Heb. 11 is especially pertinent here. Thus we see that while the histories of the Bible have mainly a doctrinal use, some of them have refutative, correctional and character-constructive uses. A few other illustrations of the doctrinal use of the Bible histories would be in place. The history of Abraham teaches God's providences as extending over His people, that of Jacob the value of prizing the Lord's favor as of prime importance, that of Joseph God's overruling evil for good on behalf of His people, that of Moses God's honoring those who put Him first, that of Joshua and David God's giving victory to those who faithfully lead
His people, that of Hezekiah, Daniel and the three Hebrew youths God's protecting amid, and delivering from evil His loyal servants. Accordingly, we see that the histories of the Bible have a doctrinal use.
The promises of the Bible also belong to the doctrinal use of the Bible, though they in certain connections have a refutational use, e.g., those connected with the covenants against error thereon, though they have a corrective use, encouraging one to cleanse himself from filthiness of flesh and spirit, and though they also have a character-constructive use, encouraging one to develop Christlikeness as the way of obtaining certain of the promises. But they are primarily doctrinal in their use; for they are closely connected with various features, yea, are often parts of God's covenants, which are dogmas, with various prophecies, histories and types. They are often connected with God's providential acts, His character and works as parts of His doctrinal Word. They bring prominently to mind God's wisdom, power, justice and love in their application to the recipients of the promises. There is no feature of God's dogmas that is unconnected, either negatively or positively, with His promises, e.g., God's threat to Satan (Gen. 3: 15) implied a promise to the race. Even His final destruction of the incorrigibly wicked implies a promise to the faithful, i.e., that there shall finally be no more sin and uncleanness in the blessed eternity before them. Thus we see that the promises contain certain dogmatic elements. Promises are always also prophetic. This can be seen in the Oath-bound Covenant, in the promises in the Psalms and Prophets and in promises that Jesus and the Apostles make to the brethren. This can be seen in the promises made to the four elect classes on their own behalf and on behalf of their ministry to the world. Frequently these promises form part of Biblical histories, e.g., those given to Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, David, Hezekiah and the Apostolic churches in the Acts. And finally not a few of such historical promises become typical promises
to the pertinent classes. Accordingly, we see that the promises of the Bible, of which a Scotchman counted over 70,000, are a part of Bible doctrines, and, therefore, the Scriptures that give them have mainly a doctrinal use, though as shown, above, in certain respects they can be used refutationally, correctionally and character-constructively. In fact there is not a Scripture, according to our text, that does not have the four uses of which 2 Tim. 3: 16 speaks.
Finally, we come to the types as having as their main use, the doctrinal use, but we are not to forget that they have a refutational use, e.g., the Sin-offering types refute those who deny the Ransom, and who deny that there are two Sin-offerings. The types of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael refute the idea that God's Gospel-Age people are under the Law Covenant. The type of the inauguration of the Law Covenant refutes the idea that the New Covenant operates as the covenant of God's Gospel-Age people; as its two kinds of sealing sacrifices refute the same idea, and the idea of a single individual constituting the New Covenant's Mediator. Nor are we to forget the corrective use of the types, as can be seen in the type of the fall, Cain, the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc., etc. So, too, they have a character-constructive use, e.g., Abel, Enoch, Noah and his family, and the servants of God mentioned in Heb. 11 beginning with Abraham. While they have these uses their main use is doctrinal. This can easily be seen in the types of Adam and Eve before and after their fall, of Cain and Abel, of Noah, his family and the flood (baptism), Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, Ishmael; Abraham, Melchizedek, Lot, Sodom, Gomorrah, Jacob, Esau, Joseph and his brethren, Israel's enslavement and deliverance, its journey to Sinai and the Covenant, the tabernacle, the Levitical sacrifices, etc., etc., etc. In fact all the histories and biographies of the Bible as types teach doctrinal matters. Thus our study shows that the doctrinal teachings embrace its dogmas, promises, prophecies, histories and
types as their main uses, while less prominently teaching refutational, corrective and character-constructive matters. And when we come to study the Bible's refutational, corrective and character-constructive uses we will see that these three also include doctrinal matters; for, as 2 Tim. 3: 16 teaches, every Bible passage is capable of use doctrinally, refutatively, correctively and character-constructively.
The question arises, Why does the Bible have such doctrinal uses? Quite a number of reasons may be given in answer to this question. First of all, it is because in the Bible's doctrinal use, as distinct from its three other uses, God has set forth the main features of His plan; for if we look at the things that are above given as the dogmatic, promissory, prophetic, historical and typical parts of the doctrines of the Bible, we at once recognize that they embrace the main features of God's plan, indeed, every part of God's plan except its preceptorial and hortatory parts. Accordingly, we see that properly its doctrinal use is its main use. A second reason is that the Bible's doctrinal use above all other of its uses displays God's and Christ's person, character, word and work and thus above other uses of the Bible honors and enhances them before us. Thirdly, it has this doctrinal use, because above all other of its uses this one enables God's people to react properly toward God, Christ, the brethren, the world and enemies. Fourthly, it has this use because it furnishes God's people with the firmest foundation on which their faith, hope, love and obedience may rest, out of which these graces may spring, and in harmony with which they may act. Fifthly, it has this use, that God's people amid the confusion of creeds and the teachings of unbelief and misbelief may know what they believe, how they believe it, and why they believe it. Sixthly, it has this use, that from it God's people in their kinds and modes of thought may be distinctly separate from the world in its kinds and modes of thought. And seventhly, and finally, it has this use, that they may be
able to reprove the world of sin, righteousness and of the coming judgment in the Kingdom in ways of the Truth and its Spirit. Certainly these seven reasons amply justify the doctrinal uses of the Bible.
This brings up another question as to the doctrinal use of the Bible: How does this doctrinal use of the Scriptures manifest itself? To this we might answer, It does it, first of all, providentially. The Bible is a speaking book that has a message adapted to each generation; and as different movements set in, in the unfolding of the Word doctrinally, the providence of God so works as to give each generation what is adapted to it. It, therefore, gives its doctrinal message as due. God foreknowing the various movements that would come in the world, and foreknowing the special needs of people in relation to these movements, as well as those arising out of their conditions and experiences, has put into the Bible pertinent thoughts; and when those movements, conditions and experiences set in, He causes the pertinent truths as due to speak to His people according to those movements, conditions and experiences. It is for this reason that the Bible is a living book, ever showing itself to be adapted to the times as meat in due season. And its doctrinal use is a gradual one; for "the path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the full day" (Prov. 4: 18). Accordingly, it unfolds its doctrinal thoughts gradually. This is especially seen in the gradual increase of doctrinal truth in the harvests, and less so especially seen beginning with the Sardis period of the Church, increasing throughout that period, and on a larger scale doing this during the Philadelphia period. This is because Jesus as the Interpreter of God's plan has been taking off seal after seal from the Word and unrolling it more and more; and as He does so, He makes His pertinent thoughts clear to His faithful people through His chosen mouthpieces, and that in proportion to the degree of their faithfulness. Herewith
we bring to a close our brief discussion of the doctrinal use of the Bible.
Having briefly discussed the first use of the Bible, its doctrinal use, we now take up its second, its refutational use. As the doctrinal use is to show us what we ought to believe as to the Bible's dogmas, ethics, promises, prophecies, histories and types, so its refutational use is to show us what we should not believe as to doctrine, precept, promise, exhortation, prophecy, history and type, because of error; for many errors have been by false teachers presented as genuine Bible doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, prophecies, histories and types, and the refutational use of the Bible is to overthrow these errors as such, and to warn God's people against accepting them as true. In the A. V. the word in our text that shows the refutational use of the Bible has been rendered reproof. While it is true that the word elegmos, which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament than in 2 Tim. 3: 16, may in certain connections in the Septuagint be so translated, it evidently is not to be so rendered here, because that is a synonym of the word correction as used in this text; hence that rendering would not give us a use of the Bible separate and distinct from its third use. The verb elegcho, from which it is derived, has, among others, the meaning to refute, e.g., Tit. 1: 9, 13; 2: 15; and in noun form it evidently means refutation in 2 Tim. 3: 16; for the run of thought on the uses of the Bible in this passage evidently exhausts them when it shows us that the Bible is to show us (1) what we are to believe, doctrine; (2) what we are not to believe, refutation; (3) what we are not to do and be, correction; and (4) what we are to do and be, instruction in righteousness. Hence we understand the word elegmos here to mean refutation, which according to 2 Tim. 3: 16 is the Bible's second use. It means that the Bible is to be used to refute error on matters of teaching and practice; for there is no error of teaching and practice of concern
to God's people that is not in the Bible in one way or another overthrown.
The sphere of the exercise of this second use of the Bible is every erroneous teaching of concern to God's people. And error affecting them has abounded in the world decidedly more than truth. There is not even one true teaching of the Bible but is contradicted by error. Let us notice a few examples in illustration and proof of this statement, e.g., the Bible's teaching on God as to His existence, being, attributes, word and work. His existence is denied by atheism, materialism and certain forms of evolution and questioned by agnosticism. His personality is denied by pantheism and is much limited by rabbinism in its denial that He has any positive attributes, like love, appreciation, sympathy, tenderness, etc., though it ascribes intelligence, justice and might to Him. Deism denies His providence over His works; milder evolution denies much of His creative work. Higher Criticism denies much of His word. So-called orthodoxy, by logical inference, greatly limits and caricatures His attributes of character. Others misteach on His attributes of person, particularly His unity, omniscience, and onmipresence. The so-called orthodox by creedal trinitarianism grossly err on God's person or being. Others misteach on His works of creation, providence, redemption, instruction, justification, sanctification and deliverance. There is not a Biblical feature as to God but is mistaught by some one. Another example of erroneous teaching: Christ's person, character, word and offices. He is mistaught as being coeternal, coequal and consubstantial with the Father. His prehuman existence is denied by some and mismagnified by others. His carnation is misrepresented as an incarnation, with the consequent error as to a God-man. His death and resurrection are mistaught to be merely a pro forma death and resurrection, the latter to be in the flesh, His humanity and divinity to communicate their attributes to one another, with the consequent error that His
humanity as omnipresent is taught by some, by others is taught to be everywhere where the Lord's Supper is celebrated. Just one more illustration: The Holy Spirit, instead of being presented as God's power and disposition in Him and all in harmony with Him, is mistaught to be a person coeternal, coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son. These are only a few of the dogmatical errors on God, Jesus and the Spirit.
Errors on other Bible doctrines are very abundant. There are many errors on the theories of ethics. The utilitarian theory of ethics is based on selfishness pure and simple, and, of course, contradicts Bible ethics at its foundation, which is duty and disinterested love, a direct contradiction of utilitarianism, for which now the word realism goes, and what it is can be seen in the present day political world, particularly in totalitarianism. The Bible doctrine on divorce is mistaught now, e.g., by applying Jesus' teaching on divorce in Matt. 19: 9, applicable to the consecrated only, to the world in general. On the other hand, the loose ideas on divorce as exemplified in Reno divorces, are certainly against the laws of divorce that the Bible lays down for the unconsecrated. These two illustrations are sufficient to show the contradiction between the Bible doctrine on ethics and popular errors thereon. We find errors to prevail on the promises of God, particularly those contained in the covenant promises. The Abrahamic Covenant, which is really the Bible plan itself, of course, is contradicted in every feature of it, as every feature of it finds opponents, who, not individually, but collectively, deny every part of it. Universalists contradict it from the standpoint of overemphasizing some of its features; Calvinism does so from the standpoint of underestimating it. Many Free Gracists do so from a still other underestimate of it. Most errorists either ignore entirely or very inconsistently accept in a limited sense some of its features and deny others of them. The promises of the Law Covenant are mistaught to pledge spiritual salvation,
while the New Covenant is grossly limited or misplaced in the Gospel, and not applied at all by some to the Millennial Age. Time and again the Bible's exhortations are erroneously applied and taught. How often we hear exhortations that apply to the Church only applied to the world and vice versa. Often they are mistaught, e.g., St. Paul says: Be ye angry and sin not. This is often seized upon as containing two exhortations, one charging us to be angry and the other to avoid sin, whereas it is but one and means that when we are angry let us beware of sinning thereby; for while there is a righteous anger, there is also an unrighteous anger.
Again, numerous are the historical errors attacking Bible histories. E.g., higher critics are so skeptical that they in numerous of its representatives refuse to accept the Bible's histories as true, unless they are corroborated from secular sources. A hundred years ago they, in their major part, questioned almost every history of the Bible. Thus they held man's creation in perfection, his trial and fall to be myths. The flood to them was a silly story; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph were to them unhistorical; so also to them was Israel's enslavement in, and deliverance from Egypt. The same is true of almost every other Old Testament happening. Likewise did they treat the events of Jesus' life, reducing them to myths. His death to them was a mere swooning, and His resurrection a recovery therefrom. Pentecost was to them an imagination, and the Acts of the Apostles a fairy tale. But in the meantime through archeological finds most of the Old Testament stories have found corroboration from extra-Biblical sources; and, now higher critics have been forced to modify very much of their denials of the Bible's historicity, though they continue to deny such uncorroborated parts. The field of prophecy is one in which much error has thrived. The Jews in their denial of Jesus' Messiahship contradict all of the prophecies referring to the First Advent. The theory of Jesus'
return in the flesh denies many of them that apply to His Second Advent. Its being pre-Millennial is denied by post-and anti-Millenniarians. The Harvest is contradicted by almost every religious teacher. Prophecies applicable to the Church are misapplied to Fleshly Israel; and prophecies that apply to Israel are often misapplied to the Church, and are given false interpretations in addition to wrong settings; Millennial prophecies are frequently applied to the Gospel Age and are further given wrong interpretations. All of some and large parts of other prophetic books are given a wrong interpretation, e.g., Is., Jer., Ezek., large parts of Daniel, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, large parts of Ps. and Prov., most of the minor prophets and all of Revelation. Certainly of prophetic error the human family has almost a fullness. These have caused very much of controversy and much occasioned refutation.
The typical teachings of God's Word have been very often erroneously presented. The typical teachings of God's Word are as numerous as its historical and biographical features. In most cases they have two, and in some even three applications, e.g., one for each of the Harvests and one for the Epiphany. In numerous other cases they have one for the Interim and one for the Epiphany. In some cases in principle they have an application for the Gospel Age and the main one for the Millennial Age, e.g., enactments connected with the Law Covenant. Thus David is used in three Gospel-Age applications: (1) the Church; (2) the Twelve and (3) Bro. Russell. Solomon is used in a threefold application: the Interim star-members, the Epiphany messenger, the Millennial Christ. Joshua has three applications: the Gospel-Age one, Jesus, the Epiphany messenger and the Millennial Head and Body. Judges has four: the Gospel Age and the three miniatures. Following Solomon, Kings and Chronicles have three applications: the large parallels, the small parallels and specialized pictures. Most of the Pentateuch has four applications: the Large Gospel Age
and the three miniatures. Ezra and Nehemiah have two: the large and small ones. Job and Esther but one each. Up to the last 8 days Christ's life has many different single applications in its individual stories; and the eight days preceding the resurrection night have two applications: the large and the small. Some deny, when not all, almost all of these. Some misteach on all, others on almost all, and still others more or less on some of them. Especially in the Parousia, and more especially during the Epiphany, is an immense amount of error taught on types and those have accordingly been the subject of much controversy. Our brief statements on the seven lines of thought, instancing a few from many examples of errors on each kind, show in small part how numerous are the errors taught on Bible subjects.
The refutative use of the Bible has its sphere in this realm of error. The Bible is so arranged that it has something to say, not only on the constructive use of its thoughts to build up that great system of spiritual philosophy summed up in the Divine Plan of the Ages, but also to refute every error thereon and every attack thereagainst. This is one of the numerous facts that prove that the Bible is of Divine inspiration; for nothing less than omniscience was required so to form it as to have these two excellencies: a theoretically and practically perfect system of thought in unity, diversity and harmony, but a so perfectly fortified whole as would refute every misrepresentation of its contents and as would crush every attack thereon, as well as to prove the error in the attack. We say that omniscience was required to furnish such a Bible with such a use; for it implies that all of these attacks and misrepresentations were foreknown with the times when each would be made, in order that the pertinent refutation could therein be placed. Many of these attacks and misrepresentations, in fact all of the more important ones, were pointed out in type and prophecy in connection with their pertinent events. The rest were had in mind and given the necessary helps for their
refutation without direct mention of them in prophecy and type. What human could have so formed the Bible to have such uses? Yea, what angels could have so constructed it as a perfect whole with such a use? Its constructive and refutative use is one of the reasons of its indestructibility; for it secures its invulnerability from all attacks and at the same time is destructive of every attack. Hence it says of its servants as the applier of it to God's children: No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee thou shalt condemn [refute]. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord; and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord (Is. 54: 17).
Having seen that the Bible has this use, this condition raises the question as to why does it have it? The answer requires a number of explanations to make it plain. The first of these is that Satan's false teachings seek to discredit and then destroy its teachings. When Satan saw the revelation of the Bible gradually growing he recognized that it was a very unique book; and he sought to understand and to pervert its parts as they were thus gradually being given. Hence these perversions of the gradually forming parts of it, misunderstood by him, he palmed off on the heathen as their religious, allegedly as the Divine, revelation. These he developed gradually during the Old Testament period; but they turned out to be so foolish and vain that he could no longer control the heathen by them by the time that Christ came, as witnesses the complete collapse of the Greek and Roman heathenism of that time! When Christ and the Apostles gave the teachings that opened up the Old Testament, and as these were given book form in the gradually developing New Testament, Satan became their most attentive hearer, and the most diligent student of the thus expounded Old and New Testaments. This father of lies so did, not that he desired the Truth, but that he desired to learn it so as to pervert it, and thus destroy it by a counterfeit of its every part. This counterfeit he
palmed off on the world as Roman Catholicism. Hence it contradicted about everything in the Bible. Later, driven thereto by increasing enlightment, he invented less able counterfeits in Protestant creeds. God foreseeing this his course, designing to checkmate such errors and to safeguard His Truth and people against such perversions, so adjusted the Bible that it would give the pertinent light on the Truth against such arising error, with the refutation of it, as well as with the proof of the attacked truth. The dueness of the Bible, we recognize, thus worked in connection with the rise of each error, another witness of the Bible inspiration. Moreover, God armed certain abler brethren, especially the pertinent star-members and their special helpers, with the Truth of God as due to defend the attacked truth against the attacking error, and to attack and refute these errors. Thus these refuters were armed for the purposes of their warfare against error. Then He, by various circumstances, aroused His warriors to stand forth in battling for the Truth and against error. Some of these circumstances were the mischief that the errors wrought against the Truth and its people and the extreme measures of the errorists in propagandizing their error. E.g., when Tetzel, the indulgence monger, in the Philadelphia epoch of the Church, appeared near Luther's home city, Wittenberg, and by his infamous sale of his indulgences to the injury of Luther's parishioners, and in contradiction to justification by faith alone without the merit of man's works, God aroused Luther to controvert the false doctrine and evil practices of indulgence as preached by Tetzel, together with all other papal doctrines and practices impinging against the Bible as the standard of truth, the priesthood of the consecrated, faith-justification and Christ's headship, Melanchthon being his special helper therein. Other false doctrines and evil practices aroused Bros. Zwingli, Hubmaier, Servetus, Cranmer, Browne, (George) Fox, (John) Wesley, (Thomas) Campbell and Miller and
their special helpers to combat the pertinent errors, as well as to defend the attacked Truth, the Bible in the case of each one by its dueness making known the pertinent truths and refutations.
Thus Zwingli and his special helper, Oecolampadius, getting the truth due to the Lord's Supper, defended it against papal attacks from the standpoint of the papal errors on transubstantiation and the mass and refuted these attacks, as well as the errors on which they were based. Thus Hubmaier and his special helper, Blaurock, getting the due truth on the teaching that only the justified and consecrated are God's real people, which excluded infants therefrom, and hence disapproved of the water baptism of infants, as incapable of the real baptism and therefore as not candidates of its symbol, defended it against papal and Protestant attacks and refuted the errors of a true state religion with all its citizens as Christians and the accompanying error of infant water baptism, because of their being incapable of the real, hence of the symbolic baptism. Servetus and his special helper, Laelius Socinus, not Faustus Socinus, getting the due truth on the unity of God, defended it against the attacks of creedal trinity and refuted these errors. Thus Cranmer and his special helper, Latimer, getting the due truth on the subjection of the Church in civil matters to the state, defended this due truth against the papal attacks thereon and refuted its pertinent error, that the state is subject to the Church in civil matters. Thus Robert Browne and his special helper, Robert Harrison of Norwich, getting the due truth on each church being under Christ mistress in her own midst, without dictation or rulership from another church or combination of churches or from any presiding elder, bishop, archbishop, cardinal, patriarch or pope, expounded it constructively and defended it successfully against all sorts of attacks from individuals and combinations of power-graspers and lords over God's heritage. Bro. George Fox and his special helper, Robert Barclay, coming
to see that British sectarianism was devoid of a real religious life and was steeped in formalism, and that true religion consisted of love to God with all the heart, mind, soul and strength and of love to the neighbor as to self, not only expounded this due truth, but defended it against all attacks, as well as refuted the pertinent errors of the attackers. John Wesley and his special helper, Charles Wesley, seeing that the spiritual life, especially of the Anglican Church, was at a very low ebb, not only stressed in opposition to this condition repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus unto faith justification, but especially disinterested love as God's ideal for His people in consecration; they not only expounded these teachings, but defended them against all attacks and refuted the attackers' pertinent arguments. Thomas Campbell and his special helper, Barton Stone, perceiving that sectarianism put its creeds above the Bible and made them barriers to the unity of God's people, stressed the due truth that the Bible was the sole center of the unity of God's people, and not only truly explained this thought as the due truth, but defended it against all attacks and refuted the pertinent arguments of their attackers. Bro. William Miller and his special helper, Bro. Joseph Wolff, perceiving that the Bible chronology taught the nearness of our Lord's Second Advent, expounded these two doctrines and defended them successfully against all attacks and overthrew the contrary arguments of their attackers.
We have given illustrations of the refutative use of the Bible as to the main stewardship truths of the Church's Philadelphia epoch. But the same thing is true of every epoch of the Church. Jesus and the Apostles had repeatedly to defend their teachings against attacks and refute the pertinent arguments of the attackers. The same principle is true of the special mouthpieces and their special helpers in the four epochs between the Ephesus and Philadelphia epochs, as the brethren struggled in the controversy of Zion
(Is. 34: 8) against the increasing development of papal errors. All through the Gospel Age the true Church had to struggle to maintain every feature of Truth against the encroachments of Babylon, papal and Protestant. Hence they had to fight for every square foot of the Truth and its Spirit against the great ones of the nominal church, waging as determined soldiers the controversy of Zion. And while she was crushed into isolation by the weight of numbers, she still fought to preserve the Truth given her as her stewardship. Her controversy came to a height in the Parousia against the nominal church and against sifters in the Truth. The main subjects of controversy during the Parousia were the three doctrines of the Divine right: that of rulers, that of aristocrats and that of clergy, as the foundations of Satan's empire in state, capital and church, and the three supporting doctrines of that empire: human immortality, consciousness of the dead and eternal torment. All sorts of subsidiary errors of Babylon, particularly that of the trinity, that of the alleged God-man and that of the Spirit as a person, were refuted during that time, "the year of the controversy of Zion." And in this conflict Babylon's creeds were shaken from center to circumference; and the true Church inflicted a mortal wound upon the nominal church, from which it is now bleeding to death. But controversy marked much of the true Church's course toward sifters in and out of the Parousia Truth, especially along the lines of no-ransomism, infidelism, combinationism, reformism and murmursome contradictionism. These were the main ones of such controversies, but there were many subsidiary ones that marked the Parousia. And in them all the Bible proved its second use—successful refutation. The leader in this controversy, supported by other able controversialists, was that Servant, who brought the Parousia wars under Christ to a successful conclusion.
The Epiphany is also in its three miniatures thoroughly permeated by controversy. The small miniature's