Sunday, January 10, 2016 pm


This past week I received a phone call from one of the members here who was asked, “Why do we need a pattern for what we do?”   This is a very common question in the religious world today.   As members of the Lord’s body, we are often asked this because we demand authority for all that we do.  Considering how the gospel has been watered down in so many places, it is a very good question (perhaps one suitable for our Friday night “Mark your Bible” studies).    So tonight, we are going to answer that question. 

Even among brethren, there are some who are teaching what is described as the “No pattern” theory of interpretation.  It is espoused in various forms, typically to the degree that one wants to act outside of the pattern we do have in the Bible.  Often these arguments are based upon the silence of scripture.    We will not deal specifically with this tonight, though much of what we say in this lesson applies to that doctrine. 

 I.                    The Bible speaks of patterns

a.        The word pattern, (τύπος, typos), is a word that means, “a model of behavior as an example to be imitated or to be avoided.”  (L&N, 58.59)  The word pattern where the Bible is concerned is similar to a pattern in anything – such as making a dress, or a blueprint for a building, or an instruction manual for assembling something. 

b.       Philippians 3:17 – join in following my example... as you have us for a pattern.  Paul addressed that his example was worthy of following.

c.        2 Timothy 1:13 – Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

d.       Titus 2:7, speaking to young men and their example he says, “in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,”

e.       Hebrews 8:5, “who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

f.         Romans 6:17 – obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine

g.       1 Corinthians 10:6, 11 – these things became our examples for us to follow and learn from – examples of rejection of God by Israel in the wilderness.   Paul is saying to follow these examples.

h.       Hebrews 9:24 – Christ has entered into heaven itself, not the physical holy place which is a copy of the true.

i.         NOTE: In the last three examples the words of emphasis, “form”, “example” and “copy” are all the same Greek word as “pattern” in the previous verses.

j.         In this, we can see that to God, the pattern is important. 

 II.                  Examples of patterns in scripture

a.        God’s plan of redemption is a pattern – that pattern actually explains why He was so specific in some things such as building the tabernacle and temple.

b.       Noah was given a pattern – Genesis 6:14, 22

c.        Moses was given a pattern – Exodus 25:9-10, 40, Acts 7:44, Heb. 8:5ff.

d.       Solomon was given a pattern – 1 Chronicles 28:11-12, 19 – these verses show that even the temple had a pattern given from God.

e.       Nadab and Abihu had a pattern that they failed to follow – Lev. 16:12, 10:1-2. 
There are other examples that demonstrate the danger of rejecting God’s pattern.

f.         A note about these examples:  We may not understand exactly why God specified what He did, but He did!  And we dare not question Him or His motives (Isaiah 55:8-9).   Also consider Romans 9:20-21 – which basically says, Who are we to question God?    


 III.                What if we didn’t need a pattern?

a.        How far are you willing to take that? 
Who determines what is a must?  Is it one who believes in the Bible?  If so, haven’t you established some sort of pattern? 
Is it one who believes in Jesus?  If so, haven’t you established a pattern?
Do you really believe that God doesn’t care what you believe?  Does He approve of the division in His name?

b.       Are you willing to risk your eternity that it doesn’t matter? Phil. 3:1 - For me to write these things for you it is safe.

c.        What about Matthew 7:21-27?
There is a way that leads to destruction.  Also it is not enough to simply say you know Him. 
See also Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things which I say?”

d.       What about John 12:48?  Jesus said the words He has spoken will judge us in the last day.  If there is no pattern that matters, what will we be judged by?

e.       What about 1 Corinthians 1:10?   Let there be no divisions among you. 
The admonition is that we speak the same thing.  Does that not have to do with a pattern? 

f.         What about 1 Corinthians 11:1?  Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.” – Again, does Christ give us a pattern to follow?  (Consider 1 Tim. 1:16), If so, WHERE do we find that pattern?

g.        What about 1 Corinthians 4:6? Paul instructs these brethren that what he wrote was so that they would learn not to think beyond what is written!   This is a passage that teaches boundaries (see also 2 John 9-11) 
NOTE: Silence is NOT permission to do what you want – when God has specified.

h.       What about 1 Corinthians 14:33?  If God is not the author of confusion, then why is there so much religious division?  Is it because what He said really doesn’t matter?

i.         These are just a few verses that call for us to understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:17).    That understanding gives us direction, a patter, if you will.  Many others could be added to these.


In summary: As we can see, God has given us a pattern and we NEED to follow it.  Without a pattern, the Bible is NOT a guide for us to follow (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3), but simply a book of philosophy that we put beside everything else..  The real issue is that in matters that we don’t want to be accountable, we dismiss the pattern of scripture.  That is a VERY dangerous road to go down.