Basic Bible Interpretation (pt 3)

IV. The Need for this Particular Study

The Bible truly is God’s Word. As such, it is authoritative and binding for all peoples in all times (that’s why Satan hates it). He loves to undermine and minimize God’s book. Throughout history, The Bible has been misinterpreted, thousands of times. Some people have done this intentionally while many more have done so unintentionally.

A) Some Atheists claim the Bible supports their position, after all Psalm 14:1 does say, “there is NO God.”

Of course the first part of the verse says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is NO God.”

B) Jehovah Witnesses and other cult groups say they believe in the Bible.

They quickly point out Colossians 1:15 which says, “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.” J.W.’s teach that Jesus is not eternal (He has an origin), thus He can’t be God. Of course a basic understanding of the original languages and the context of this particular passage clearly reveals what Paul was trying to say; Jesus is the “first-born” in this sense: He is preeminent in rank and supremacy over all His brethren. In addition, verse 16 claims Jesus was present when the universe was created (His eternality). This passage of Scripture does not destroy the Deity of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, it emphatically upholds it!

C) Roman Catholics often point out James 2:24 to show the apparent inconsistencies of Sola Fide (Justification by faith alone);

James 2:24 says, “You see that a man is justified by works, and NOT by faith alone.” Yet when this Epistle is understand in its historical setting, one realizes that James was attacking the errors of the Antinomians (cheap grace); Which is why he repeatedly emphasizes this concept: True saving faith works itself out in sanctification. A person is justified by faith alone BUT NOT by a faith that is alone (the evidence of our justification)!

D) Christians sometimes point out Matthew 7, which says “Judge not, least you be judged.”

This verse is used by some professing Believers to excuse sinful behavior. Others use it as an excuse not to faithfully confront people (after all who I am to judge?). But when understood in its entire context, Jesus is getting at a much different point. Jesus isn’t saying, “Don’t confront a sinning brother” what he is saying is “1st examine your own life(and make it right) BEFORE judging another person. The key word is found in verse 5, (circle the word), “THEN”………..

E) I’ve heard many Christians misapply Matthew 18:20, which says, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”

During scarcely attended prayer meetings someone will inevitably quote this verse in a earnest attempt to bring comfort to all that God is still in their midst (which of course He is). Unfortunately in context this verse is talking about the Lord’s presence (His confirmation) during the church discipline process NOT….

F) One person recorded this somewhat humorous example of how a pastor totally misapplied the Word of God during a Bible conference.

The speaker was preaching from John 11, the story of the resurrection of Lazarus. This was his interpretation, “Lazarus is a symbol of the church, and what we have here is a vivid picture of the rapture of the believers. The resurrection of Lazarus is the church going through the rapture.”

G) Some people try and handle poisonous snakes based on their reading of Mark 16:18 while others speak in tongues because the apostles did so in Acts 2.

–>One thing that’s essential is to recognize the difference between prescriptive and descriptive passages of Scripture.

H) A more common error today is perfectly described for us in a blog posting from a member of our church.

He writes, “I believe one of the key issues today regarding poor hermeneutics is our American tendency to ‘need’ the quick fix. We aren’t interested in hard-work and seeing the bigger picture; rather, we believe it is our right to have the solution presented to us in a clear/concise way. We want to believe the infomercials showing us how to become millionaires by age 30 or get great abs in 5 minutes a day. We want the maximum benefit with the least amount of work. For Christians, this attitude creates the desire for ‘THE verse’. You know… the perfect summary in 10 words or less that gives us the answers we so desperately need to all of our current problems. When we approach scripture this way, we frequently impose our presuppositions on the text. We surgically remove a verse that ‘speaks’ to us, from the surrounding paragraph, letter, and book.”

All of us have probably been guilty of doing this at some point in our Christian life. We’ve played fast and loose with the biblical text…We’ve wanted a quick answer so we’ve imposed our meaning on the Biblical text. We need to be very careful how we interpret and apply the Bible……….

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