The Holy Bible was written for every one. Not just the ones whose parents tried to live by it, but every one. Our series is not designed for, or intended to convince those who do not accept the Holy scriptures as having been written by men guided miraculously by God via the Holy Spirit and therefore, is the word of almighty God. What we are attempting to show is just what portion of it is binding for us to obey as opposed to those things which are simply for our learning and to help us cope with life.
The Bible is written in direct language, symbolic and/or figurative language. There are many things written in this inspired book which do not apply to us today, yet it is for our learning and to help us understand God and His word. There is a rule of sorts which explains just what is intended for us to accept as our guide to obey. Five categories sum up the things for us to consider, as follows: Direct commands, apostolic examples, scriptural inferences, expediences and certain silence of the scriptures.
This, the first part, will be concerned with direct commands. If God, Jesus, or the inspired apostles and other inspired men issue a direct command or order, certainly no one should question the necessity of obedience to it…Except when it was directed to someone at that time and only intended for them.
Perhaps the first thing God told man to do was to name all the beasts of the fields and fowls of the air, and Adam did so. But following closely after that, God told Adam and Eve they could eat of any of the fruits in the garden with the exception of the fruit from the tree in the midst of the garden. He forbade them from eating of that tree. They did disobey that command and they suffered the consequences. These commands were given directly from God to Adam and Eve. They do no apply to us today so we are not required to obey them. They do teach a lesson however, in that it shows God does punish those who disobey him. (Taken from Genesis 3)
As we have explained many times before, all of the Old Testament was written for those who lived under the Patriarchal and Mosaical dispensations. These two laws were given to those people who lived prior to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. He came into the world to fulfill the law and the prophets. (Matthew 5:17)
Jesus law came into effect on the first Pentecost after his death and is recorded in the second chapter of Acts. Now, his law superceded all other laws, the Mosaical law as well as the Patriarchal law. Those laws are no longer binding on man, only the gospel of Jesus Christ is now our guide. Understand now, some of the things written into those laws are a part of Jesus’ law and we are subject to those things. But, not because they are part of those laws. Only because they are a part of the New Testament of Jesus Christ. For instance, if anyone asks if it is a sin to murder some one, of course it is. But not because it was forbidden under those laws but because Jesus also condemned it.
Some people like to say that the ten commandments are still for our obedience. Not so. It is a truth that nine of them are incorporated into the law of Christ so we are obliged to obey them, but not because they were given to Moses. And besides, the command to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, is not in effect for us. We would be as obliged to build an ark of gopher wood as did Noah, as we are to keep the Sabbath day holy.
What we must do is follow the command given by the inspired apostle Paul to his young friend and fellow worker, Timothy when he said:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)
To rightly divide the word is to study it out to see what was written for whom, and obey that which is for us.
Jesus spoke often in parables. Parable, is a term which translates the Hebrew word "mashal"-a term denoting a metaphor, or an enigmatic saying or an analogy. These parables which Jesus told were not intended to be taken as a real occurrence, yet the truth which was shown in them made the point as to what was satisfactory and what was not. So these are actually binding on the Christian insofar as they are applicable to a true incident.
So what the factual answer is concerning a direct command, they are always to be obeyed if they came from Jesus Christ or one of the writers inspired by the Holy Spirit and thereby guided into all truth. (John 16:13 KJV)