Plain Necessary Food of the Gospel

Christadelphian Standards by H.P.Mansfield

The Plain Necessary Food of the Gospel

Whilst we must seek a balanced diet, there is some food more essential

than other.

That is as true of the Word of God as our natural diet.

The explanation of types and shadows in the narrative of the Bible, a

knowledge of the historical, geographical and archaeological

background of men and incidents recorded therein, or a detailed

explanation of verses, is both interesting, profitable, and helpful. But it

must be studied upon a foundation of knowledge that is absolutely vital.

I refer to the fundamental doctrines of the Truth.

This other knowledge is like condiments to a normal meal — it adds

spice and flavour, it helps in digestion, but it requires the good, solid,

plain food of the Gospel to make it really valuable.

No true workman will neglect the plain food of the Word, if he is to be

among those who "needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word


His knowledge of the Word, and of these fundamental doctrines, can

be advanced by proper Bible marking. Those who possess Wide Margin

Bibles, will find in front a number of blank pages, suitably indexed or

numbered. Here there is space to list an index of Bible references that

will help support any doctrinal subject.

Appropriate references can be listed under such headings as "God is

one," with those references which are valuable in refuting the errors of

the Apostasy set out in different colour. Sometimes it is helpful to state

in the margin at such references the particular reason why they are


For example, I have often quoted Acts 19:2 in refuting the Trinitarian

theory. The verse reads:

"Paul having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus: and

finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy


Ghost (Spirit) since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so

much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost (Spirit)."

What is the point in quoting this verse in refutation of the Trinitarian


Simply this: Trinitarians believe that the Holy Ghost is the third

person of God. Here were "disciples" who "believed," yet confessed that

they had "not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost"!

Obviously they did not believe in the Trinity!

In debate, I have pressed this point home successfully, as a sort of

"softening up process" prior to bringing forth those Scriptures that

plainly and affirmatively express the Truth.

It is necessary, however, at such places as Acts 19:1-2 to briefly write

in the margin the reason why you would quote them in such

circumstances. I have known such passages to be quoted disastrously,

without point, simply because the one quoting them has forgotten the

purpose he originally had in listing them. It is also a good idea to include

at such places connecting references that explain the use of the term

"Holy Spirit," such as: "The Holy Spirit is the power of God — Rom.

15:19." Then, after showing by a process of deduction upon the passage

itself that the Holy Ghost or Spirit is not the third person of a Trinity, one

is readily able to affirmatively reveal, by a comparison of Scripture, just

what is meant by the term.

In opposing the orthodox concept of Satan as a fallen angel, I have

quoted 1 Tim. 1:20:

"I (Paul) have delivered (Hymenaeus and Alexander) unto Satan, that

they may learn not to blaspheme."

Where is the point in quoting this verse?

In debate I have asked the question, "Is it logical to believe that Paul

would deliver up anybody unto such a diabolic monster as the Satan of

orthodoxy is represented to be? Would he use him as an ally? And finally.

Would Satan (if Satan be as orthodoxy represents him) teach anybody

not to blaspheme? Would he not rather teach them how to blaspheme?

Is not that his function?"

This usually causes much embarrassment in those holding the

orthodox view, and they generally ask, Who is the Satan referred to?

Even if they don't ask, I usually proceed to explain what is meant by

the use of "Satan" in this verse.

I show that the word signifies "adversary," and here relates to the

world which is the great adversary of the Truth. Paul had

excommunicated Hymenaeus and Alexander, had driven them from the

Ecclesia, had disciplined them, that "they may learn not to blaspheme."

When that lesson had been learnt, the way was open for their return. In

support of this, I quote 1 Tim. 5:15: "For some are already turned aside

after Satan." They were not found following the fallen angel of a


paganised-Christianity, but had drifted back into the world, and were

following its ways (1 John 2:15-16).

Logical, clear, Scriptural explanations of such references usually

make a good impression on those who are anxious to learn, and

therefore, at these key references, our Bible should be so marked as to

clearly set forth the reasoning to be adduced therefrom.

The Bible is Divine, it never changes — but human memory is a very

fickle thing. Bible markings are an aid to memory.