Location: Porterville, California, United States

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Line Upon Line

There is a principle for learning the Bible that, though obvious, is not being taken into account by almost all of Christianity. It is the principle of comprehending God’s word as a “Line Upon Line Revelation”. This principle is simply an application of the “Law of Sowing and Reaping”. We know this because the word of God is a “seed” (as seen in Mark 4 and Luke 8) and it will bear fruit under the conditions prescribed in the Bible. Let’s first anchor this with what the Bible says:

Ø “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” (Isaiah 28:9-10)

We actually see this principle used in the “natural” all of the time. We send our children to school knowing that you have to teach them (i.e. we plant the seed of) the “basics” of learning day by day, month by month, and year by year until they are (hopefully) competent to enter into society and into the work/business force. No one at any time expects a “short cut” because there are none. However, an interesting phenomenon rears its ugly head when we get “religious” with this principle. Man has set doctrinal parameters so that any “knowledge” which is not recognized by their denomination is highly suspect at the least and heretical at the worst. This disallows actually knowing the word of God.

Let’s explain some of the history of theology this way. When revelation came to someone, that particular truth was established as “orthodoxy”. An example is when Martin Luther had the revelation that we are “saved by grace through faith”. This is an absolute truth and it is not negotiable. It is the bedrock of Christianity and all else must be based on this foundational truth. However, rather than continuing to grow and learn (with the understanding of the “line upon line” principle) men have “camped” on that one revelation and ceased to mature. A typical scenario is that this revelation starts with a man who establishes the truth. Because there is no further revelation (i.e. “growth”), the work becomes a movement. Again, because of a lack of growth and additional truth, becomes a machine. When the originator of that doctrine dies, the church/denomination then becomes a monument.[1]

Then, in a natural progression of revelation, another person will receive a legitimate revelation of the word of God by the Spirit and will establish this ensuing truth (along with the first one) as “orthodoxy. At this point the people of the “first revelation” now consider the people of the “second revelation” heretics. Strangely, the exact dynamic will play out with the people of the new truth. According to them, all others (before and after their “truth”) are considered partakers of false doctrine(s) and may well be considered “heretics”. In fact, most denominations will declare that there is no other “revelation” of the Bible other than what they teach.[2] This thought is in direct denial of the principle of “Line Upon Line” revelation and even challenges common sense.

Another way to demonstrate this principle is this: all of us who have read the Bible have read certain passages many many times. Then, all of sudden, seemingly out of nowhere (and even after years of being a believer), we actually have a revelation of a certain scripture and it comes alive (is “quickened” by the Spirit) as never before. Sometimes we may even ask ourselves “who put that verse in there?!” This is simply progressive revelation of what is already in the Bible. It is the Holy Spirit making the truth of His word real and alive to His people. Let’s make this statement, then: there is no further revelation of the word of God to man other than what is in the Bible. This is an absolutely correct assertion. However, because of a lack of understanding to the progressive (i.e. growing in) revelation of the word, people will cease to grow thinking that their doctrine is the bottom-line truth of God’s word. In fact, it is a partial truth and therefore is false.

Doesn’t “progressive revelation” make sense? How can you teach trigonometry to someone who has no understanding of algebra? How can you teach auto mechanics if they have no idea of the workings of an internal combustion engine? Yet “religion” will exclude common sense such as this.

Peter the Apostle addressed the matter too. He said this:

Ø “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

It is clearly understood that infants don’t eat meat. Is it any different when we speak of spiritual matters? Not according to the Apostle Paul who said this:

Ø “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

The meaning is clear: because “babies” are “carnal” (i.e. worldly), they are unable to grasp the “meat” of God’s word. Notice that Paul the Apostle wasn’t unwilling to feed them with a greater revelation of the understanding of the word that he had; he was unable to. He could have taught for endless days and they would not have understood what he was saying. They had yet to mature spiritually just as any “baby” in the natural must mature.

This principle is exactly why we as believers must stay in the word without ceasing and earnestly so that we can receive “fresh bread” on a continual basis. Bread/food must be eaten regularly for someone to remain in health. So it is in the “spiritual” realm. We see the Bible addressing this exact issue on many occasions:

Ø “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8)

Ø “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes” (Deuteronomy 11:18)

Ø “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16)

Ø “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2)

Ø “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)

There is little doubt that the Bible is showing us to inundate[3] ourselves in God’s word.[4] Considering today’s technology, this is easier than ever. Virtually every believer has a Bible on hand but we are now in the age where we can play the Bible on cassette or CD all day if desired. We also have (free) streaming audio available so a person can even listen to the word while working at the computer.[5] Besides the on-hand hard copy materials there are also any number of Bibles and helps (concordances, commentaries, et. al.) available which are easily installed on a computer. In other words; there are no reasons or excuses not to continually be studying the word of life and stay in the ignorance of false doctrines. That’s also to say that there are no excuses for not having a revelation of “the truth” of God’s word since, as we study, the Holy Spirit will reveal it to us.[6] We can also say it this way: there are no reasons to remain immature and in bondage and captivity. .

We need to note at this point that there are no exclusions or pre-qualifications for having “revelation knowledge” of God’s word. We are all equal and God is no respecter of persons. No one is required to first be a “minister” before qualifying for the “meat” (deeper revelation of the word). To impose this thought on the believer is to be in error and to be of the Nicolaitan spirit.[7] One simply has to diligently seek the Kingdom of God through prayer and the word of the Lord.

The Law of Sowing and Reaping

Another major consideration concerning learning is the “Law of Sowing and Reaping”. Since the Kingdom of God is within us, not one aspect of the Kingdom of God or our Christian experience can be precluded from this law.

In Mark 4:14 we see that the word of God is a “seed” In addition, we see this:

Ø “For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear” (Mark 4:28)

For some reason, many people will not hear the parables of Jesus for what they are. Most dictionaries define a “parable” like this:

Ø par·a·ble (păr'ə-bəl) n. A simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson

In Christianity we further understand it to also mean:

Ø The use of “natural” things to explain “spiritual” things.

We see Jesus using parables continually. He is using the obvious (like farming and fishing) to explain the Kingdom of God. Why, then would be not hear what He has to say and not apply it to our Christian experience? Unfortunately, some of these parables are dismissed and ascribed historical significance. This ought not to be.

Since the word of God is a “seed”, then we know that it must be planted. The fourth chapter of Mark explains that there are even different types of soil in which to plant the seed.[8] This means that it take time to “grow” faith (faith being a “fruit”[9]). How can it not likewise mean that the revelation of God’s word is the same (i.e. line upon line until it becomes fruitful)? Let’s say it this way; if you continually plant the seed of the word of God, you will reap a harvest a revelation. The understood part here is that we must prepare our “soil” (our heart) and then keep our “garden/farm”[10] free from “weeds” (cares of the world[11]) and “stones”.[12]


We’ve seen that the entire Kingdom of God is, basically, a garden. Seed is sown. That seed, then, must germinate (i.e. be “quickened” by the Spirit). Then, it will gradually grow into full fruition. It is our responsibility as individual believers, to not stop at any given point of that process. If we do, we will either create a new doctrine or get caught up in an existing “partial doctrine” denomination/church. Now we also know that this growth process is “line upon line” revelation according to the “Law of Sowing and Reaping” as the word of God is sown into our hearts and minds.

Another way to look at this is to note that it is little different than being good stewards or, more accurately, good husbandmen over our “garden” (the Kingdom of God is within us). As doers of the word, we disallow the planting of “dark” seed and such things that are “un-peaceful”. The birds of the field are not allowed to eat our seed (the word of God) and are resisted. This is also to say that we are “peace makers” and “peace keepers” who protect the “garden of peace” (the Kingdom of Peace) and don’t allow the defilement of what God has given us. As we do this, there is no hindrance to the revelation of the word. The word is not choked out by the cares of the world. It all comes together as a harvest unto a complete/completed revelation of the truth that makes free.

[1] A recognized path of apostasy and
[2] With some even being so exclusive that only those recognized in or by their church are saved. All others are Hell-bound
[3] “To overwhelm as if with a flood; swamp”. We are to wash/flood ourselves with the “washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26)
[4] E.g. Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:2
[6] Studying is a “corresponding action” to our faith and is being a “doer of the word”
[7] Conquerors of the people
[8] We can even say “different types of farms that have different soils”
[9] Galatians 5:22
[10] Isaiah 5811
[11] Also in Mark 4
[12] Mark 8:17


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