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by Charles Pinkney

The Ten Most Essential Precepts
For Understanding the New Testament

Charles Pinkney

Anyone who begins to study the New Testament for the first time is challenged to know what information is most important to understand from among the twenty-seven books and 260 chapters. Typically, our understanding is limited to information presented by a minister or some other religious expert. As a result people possess a partial or fragmented understanding of God's Word. This is often a nonspiritual understanding of the church, the "Gift of God" and the nature of redemption. The entire Bible points in the direction of the "Messiah." Each book of the Tanakh, Old Testament holds a portion of the identity. The "testimony of the Messiah (Jesus) is the Spirit of Prophecy." (Acts 19:10) The New Covenant is the Old Covenant "revealed."

I have selected ten precepts which I believe unlock God's purpose and promises for eternal life. To understand these is to be able to understand and receive the Gift of God and the eternal reward it provides. I am always amazed that the majority of Christians have so little understanding of the New Testament and its promises and provisions. I have gathered these essential, life-changing understandings after 30 plus years of study and I offer them freely. To share the "good news" is to share who Jesus really is and what is provided through his life, death, and resurrection. Many nominal Christians sit in a pews for years and never hear these major precepts presented in a coherent manner.

Precepts With Scriptural Sources

Precept 1. The Miracle of a New Birth (John 3:3) Salvation is through One Man, It is Jesus who made the way to eternal life possible.
Jesus is the Way, The Truth and The Life; No one comes to the Father but through him. (John 14:6)
3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Becoming a Christian does not happen as a result of church attendance or going through rituals or sacramental ordinances. Neither does it come automatically by "making a decision" at an evangelistic crusade, although this can be an initial first step. Rather, It is realizing your fallen nature, the sinful state of your natural self, and how it can be transformed by the very power of God acting on our behalf. It is something we individually must desire, seek and ask for. Finally we can affirm this with the scripture that describes the transformation from the old us into the new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “- 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
.” Only those who have not experienced the “New Birth” tend to deny the reality of this phenomena. Those who have shared the same gift fully understand this Spiritual phenomenon.

Precept 2. Accessing God's Gift: the Power Provided for a Changed Life (New Birth) (Romans 10: 9-10)
9 “.. if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Now we all must ask, "Who do you say this Jesus is?" He is Lord and Savior of all humanity. He is the Son of the Living God. He alone has risen from the dead and is alive forever more. It is He who brings to us the gift of the Holy Spirit, (The Helper, The Spirit of Truth, The Spirit that testifies of Jesus the Messiah. He brings to mind the words Jesus has spoken.) Look up the I Am verses by doing a search in the New Testament.

This is what Paul teaches about the necessity to access God's gifts and provisions; The apostle Paul explains that we must acknowledge the finished work of Christ (on the cross and his resurrection) and ask to receive the gift of eternal life that it brings. Salvation of the human soul is not merely to choose a belief, a philosophical concept, a world view or a change in lifestyle. It is a mandatory requirement that impacts our eternal destiny. Without it we remain an unredeemed soul facing the sentence of damnation, (a very unpopular viewpoint!) The Holy Spirit beckons to us and prepares the way. It is God who provides a "measure of faith" by which we may believe on the Son of God.”
Turn again to John chapter 3 and view vs.18 and 36, the concluding verse of that chapter,36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” When we become “born of the Spirit” we certainly will know it! This experience begins a permanent change of status for the human soul. Once experienced, no one can snatch that salvation from us. (John 10:28- And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand) We are saved through a gift from God. It is not through our own efforts or religious membership. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. The phrase to “believe in your heart” indicates that you are fully persuaded and sincere in your knowledge of Jesus. That of his being the one Way and only Savior. God makes this judgment and knows our hearts.

Precept 3
. Understanding the principal of "Faith towards God"
(Hebrews 11:6) v6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must (first) believe that He is, and that He rewards of those who diligently seek Him.
Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the "Faith chapter." Here the Bible explains that the natural man, (or woman) must take
a first step in order to experience and receive from God. Further, there is the fact that any unredeemed person is "dead in sins" lacking any wish to come to God. However, it is easy for the natural man to appear to believe at least enough to join a church or seem to be in good standing with a Christian fellowship. Nevertheless, unless the Spirit of God beckons, he or she remains unchanged and dead in their fallen state. (See Precept 10 below) Thus there is an enabling gift required, a "measure of faith."” The text that explains it is Hebrews chapter eleven. Atheists and deniers who struggle to believe are not yet at the point where they can “receive anything from God
!” See below. We need to understand who the Bible calls the "Natural Man." We are all natural men or women or children who are born with unique natural human attributes. The natural man (also called the person without the Spirit.) 1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Every aspect of the believer's life is activated by this faith principle (believers who born from above, are now called sons/daughters of God.) Salvation results from applying this principle (God rewards the earnest seeker). Likewise, answered prayer engages the same principle. The activation of every Spiritual gift (listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12) derives from this principle as well. Belief in God or any other supernatural Spiritual enablements are activated by the assurance that God IS and rewards. He is the great I Am. Earlier in the faith chapter we are assured that every gift from the Eternal One is accessed through faith. The initial measure of faith is a gift that is given to us who are heirs of salvation. We would have no faith if that measure needed to believe were not given to us this is due to the fallen nature of every natural man or woman.

Precept 4. The Apostle's Gospel Points to the Supernatural Power of God. (Romans 1:16 and others cited) This principal has not changed over the centuries although some teach that it ended with the death of the first apostles.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the "power of God" to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. We read it expressed also in 1 Corinthians 1:18 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." (Also see V1:24 and 2:5). To sum up this mystery is to explain that the only one who can make us new and call us into becoming a new creation, a child of God is through the blood of Jesus who grants us access to the Father, the Living God.
A gospel without the power of God is not the Gospel. Most churches today have lost nearly all evidence of the power of God. Certain denominations teach that God's miracle-working power (dunamis) is no longer in manifestation (cessationism). It is imperative to understand that true salvation is itself, the first authentic manifestation of the "power of God" toward us. The church at the end of the age is prophesied to be almost entirely one without power. It seems that most church-goers don't seem to have a problem with being part of a powerless church, God has a very big problem with it! 2 Timothy chapter 3 describes the powerless, (Laodicean) church this way: 2 Timothy 3: 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” God is a supernatural being. His children receive supernatural gifts. (See 1 Corinthians Chapter 12
.) The lives of believers have been changed by the power of God. They are awarded an eternal inheritance in an eternal kingdom.

Precept 5. Receiving the Power from God: The Promise of the Holy Spirit " (Acts 1:8) You Shall Receive Power after the Holy Spirit Has Come Upon You. "The promise of the Father" is described in John’s fourteenth chapter: (John 14:16) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17) Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. (And, John 14: 26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
The fulfillment of the promised Holy Spirit is found in Chapter one of the book of Acts. Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. Acts 1:8- But ye shall receive *power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses (one who attests to the action) unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
* dunamis (Greek) is Holy Spirit, heavenly power, which is always supernatural in character because it is God’s own hand in action.

Precept 6. Jesus Christ's earthly ministry was to the Jews only , "
the lost sheep of the house of Israel." During Jesus' earthly ministry his followers were not "Christians." They were followers of Jesus (Yeshua). They believed that he was the promised "Messiah." It was only after Christ's resurrection that Jesus followers became empowered by the Holy Spirit and were actually "born of the Spirit of God." The name Christian came later. Jesus charged his disciples to minister the Kingdom of Heaven to Israel only:
Matthew 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 15:24 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matt. 15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table.
Jesus was sent to minister unto his own people (the Jews). He was the prophesied Mashiac (Messiah). The book of Daniel, "Chapter 9, vs 24-27” foretells the precise day that the Messiah would be welcomed by his people, seated on the foal of an ass and his subsequent death. The Kingdom rule of the Messiah Jesus and the fulfillment of the complete details of Daniel 9 is called the prophecy of “the 70 weeks. vs. 24 details what will be achieved: "Seventy weeks are determined For your people (The Jews) and for your holy city (Jerusalem). To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy."
The vast majority of the Jews who followed Mosaic Law and Temple worship did not receive Jesus. Only a remnant became believers and followers of the Messiah. Yeshua (Jesus) was tried and sentenced for the blasphemy making it known that he was God's Son and
King of the Jews.
Sir Robert Anderson gives meticulous details including the dates of the decree and the count of the numbering of the "weeks" of years to the culmination of the Messiah and his kingdom. The Work is available called “The Coming Prince.”
Jesus (Yeshua of Nazareth) was a Jew born under the Law. He followed all the laws of Moses perfectly fulfilling every requirement. Jesus was the only one able to fulfill the law perfectly, being the
Only begotten Son of God, as he was born without sin from a virgin.
(Galatians 3:16) Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to your Seed, who is Christ."
The disciples of Jesus were all Jews. As apostles they seeded the “Way” of salvation throughout the Roman empire and most died as martyrs. Only one of the Gospels was written by a gentile, Luke.
The New Testament Gospels record no ministry to non Jews except the
woman and the woman at the well of Samaria. Certain non-Jews believed Jesus to be the Messiah during his visit to the region of Samaria where he stayed “2 days”. This 2 day encounter foreshadows the 2 thousand year church age which brought the gospel to the gentiles after the birth of the church.

Precept 7. The "Church Age" Opens the Gospel of Grace To the Gentiles
Isaiah 49:6 Is one of the O T prophecies the speaks of the gathering of the gentiles. Matthew 28:10 states the great commission; “- - Go therefore and make disciples of all the *nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
The provision of taking the gospel
message of grace and making disciples from every nation came into being after the birth of the “church.” We know that the term “*nation” is the Hebrew goyim and pertained to all gentiles outside of the covenant of Israel. The goyim had no access or inheritance to God’s promises. The new dispensation of the age of grace extended the gift of redemption to all who would receive the “good news” without regard for religious laws or temple ordinances. This gospel is for those who recognize the price paid by one man for “the sins of the world”(
John 1:29). Jesus’ promise of grace and forgiveness has replaced all the Mosaic laws. (Hebrews 8:6 “-But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
Peter needed special convincing that an association with gentiles would be permissible. His visit to the Roman centurion
Acts 10, records that the first outreaching to gentiles who received salvation and the Holy Spirit.
Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, a high ranking Pharisee, was charged with eliminating *
the followers of the way of Messiah Jesus. Jesus revealed himself supernaturally to Saul on the Road to Damascus, Syria. Saul became Paul who was powerfully transformed and became known as the apostle to the gentiles. The birth of the church and the “age of grace” began at Pentecost (Shavuot
), fifty days after the Jesus’ resurrection on Jewish “First Fruits.” *Jesus’ followers were called the way until a new description “Christian” was used in Antioch Syria.

Precept 8. The Church Age Began as, and Continues to be called the Age of Grace
4:18-19: ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” The description of Christ’s ministry mission as well as the mission of the church age is defined by the above parameters. The age of grace is separated from the following portion of that scripture that speaks of judgment and vengeance by God that Jesus did not mention. The age we now live (2019) is called the "Church Age or the Age of Grace. For those who are called dispensationalists, It had a beginning and will also have an end. The church age has existed for about 2 thousand years. The Spiritual expression and characteristics of the age of Grace were modeled by Jesus during his earthly ministry. Jesus revealed the scope of his ministry in Luke 4:18
reading from the text of Isaiah 61v1. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”" He ends the reading before the portion that follows describing the future time of wrath and judgment. These words describe Jesus ministry as well as the period of grace and favor that his disciples follow after his resurrection. The day of God's wrath and judgment awaits after the age of Grace. Any times that the church wielded vengeance upon people was a perversion of the church’s mandate.
Grace and forgiveness are the rule throughout his ministry even until he speaks this blessing from the cross: (Luke 23:34
) Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Stephan, the first Christian martyr speaks in like manner, saying: (Acts 7:60) And he knelt down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” What applies to Jesus and to Stephan continues to apply to any blood-bought believer today. We live to bless and to forgive. The Lord's prayer includes an important clause about forgiveness. Forgiving and seeking forgiveness should be recognized as a daily requirement for our Christian lives. (Matthew 6:12)12 and forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. When the Church age (called a dispensation of grace) ends God will be dealing once again with Israel and the Jews. They will return again to offer sacrifices in a newly constructed temple and assume the practices interrupted by the destruction of the second temple in 70 ad, during the era of the Roman empire.

Precept 9:
God Calls Believers to Escape the Grip of the "God of This World."
Romans 8:30: “.. 29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." KJV "There is not a single authentic believer who has not been called by God (The"Father). The Greek word translated "church" is ekklesia meaning "the called out ones." God desires to have sons and daughters who become his children and partake in "his divine nature." (See 2 Peter 1:3,4) - “.. his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” KJV
Those who are called out by God are called to be separated from this world. These have a distinct witness that they are not of the world but of a different kind, sojourners we are. We are pilgrims heading for another home. This world at least at the moment is under the influence of the “god of this world, "Lucifer." Before we were called we were blinded to the things of God, but are now rescued from the control and deceptions of the evil one. Satan (Lucifer) offered Jesus a chance to rule the kingdoms of the world if he would worship him. Remember Satan received the authority to rule the kingdoms of this world when Adam forfeited dominion in the days of Eden.

In 2 Corinthians vs. 3,4 we see the power of "the adversary" at work: “.. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (also see 2Tim. C3)
The unredeemed person values the things that are valued in Satan's world: Physical might and power; Self exaltation, Lust of the flesh, Pride of Life, Lust of the eyes and so on. (See 1 John 2: vvs. 15-17:)
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.
The unredeemed person can pursue religion or engage in philanthropy. He or she can be high achievers. They can be rich and famous. They can be idolized and adored by millions, or cloak themselves in morally righteous actions and still be unredeemed. Satan is a subtle schemer who knows how to function in religion and in the supernatural. The day is soon coming when the
god of this world will present himself to Israel as their awaited messiah, full of beauty, goodness, wisdom and power. The world will be smitten by him and sing his praises for his wisdom. This final world ruler is identified by Jesus as a counterfeit messiah.

Precept 10. The Prophetic Future Speaks of a Time of Judgment, Tribulation and the Day of God’s Wrath! Do you think that the world is getting better and more wise and noble and good? Judgment day follows the apparent utopia offered by the Antichrist. Judgment is among the basics of Christianity as described in Hebrews Chapter 6. Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. A. Luke 21:23 “But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.” Jesus foretells a wrath to come; it befell Israel in 70 a.d. but continues as a future prophecy for the time when the Antichrist is revealed at the end of the age as well. The "time of Jacob's trouble" will see a focus on the Jews and the Nation of Israel once again. These Jews will have returned to their land and who have a rebuilt temple and received a counterfeit messiah.
B. Romans 1:18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; C: Romans 2:5 – 5 - - but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasures up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Romans 13:4b “..God, (is) a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil.” Ephesians 5:6: “.. for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”
And from Revelation: 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 for the great day of his wrath is come;”
To address the matter of whether the Believer, the called Christian, will go through this period of wrath described in Revelation; it is clear that only those named as evil and unrighteous and unbelieving will suffer the consequence of God’s wrath. Those who are truly SAVED are delivered from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
It has been stated that the Bible is more than Prophecy. Many churches and ministries avoid the subject of Prophecy today. Among the clear prophetic doctrines found throughout the New Testament is that there is coming a day of Wrath or Judgment. (Foundational doctrines are described in Hebrews 6. Among these is the listing of Judgment. Hebrews 6:3: “.. and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
The passage of Daniel 9 (vss. 24-27) noted above includes the future day of wrath in the 70 weeks prophecy. Old Testament prophets all mention “the day of the Lord” (
More than 2 dozen times). This prophetic period will be a terrifying time to be visited upon all who dwell on the earth. The unbelievers and unrighteous people who have rejected the message of salvation through Christ Jesus. This time will result in the destruction of the ungodly from the earth which will also be desolated. Revelation, a book that is avoided by too many pastors and readers, outlines the future seven-year time before the 1000 year kingdom, when God will visit judgment upon the people who have heaped evil upon others for the sake of power, influence and riches. This can not happen during the age of Grace described above. Some denominations of Christendom hold to the belief that there will be no future millennium.

My list of ten precepts have been affirmed to me as indispensable for Christian doctrine. Clergy leadership who oversee dozens of denominational groups touch upon some or more of these to varying degrees. Yet within the formal practice of church life the emphasis remains focused on pastoral control of a large number of souls who fulfill their role of believers mostly as audience and less as disciples. The church fathers modeled these precepts of Christian life so that their disciples would extend and continue the ministry of Jesus on earth.
You might suggest that I have missed one or many more important precepts. I wanted to confine my list to ten that affect interpretation and understanding. A conspicuous omission from this list addresses the Spiritual side of the entire New Covenant. The “new commandment” given by Jesus to his disciples. John 13:34 – “
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” The love commandment sums up all of the law and prophets. God so loved the world (us) in order to provide every good and perfect gift to those who believe in him. The nature of this agape love is detailed in 1 Corinthians 13. To walk in the light of His love is to have the power to transform the world on soul at a time.

Are there only ten precepts? Of course not! But these are among the most misunderstood and under taught in everyday church house experience. Heaven is a great subject and there is no mention of it here. Spiritual warfare and discernment are other important precepts and passed over here. The meaning of Love and Virtue are precepts about which men of God have written volumes. Apostasy, Sin and Repentance should have a be part of this exploration but that will need to wait as time allows. In the meantime read the Epistles of the great men of God and you will be able to establish your own list.

This title was completed 7-3-2019

additional Biblical themes