Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pushing the point

      In seeking to provide some direction in Bible study, let me highlight a danger that many fall into.  The problem of pushing the Bible beyond what it is truely saying. The holy scriptures encourage word studies, theme studies, doctrinal studies, but it is of vital importance to see it all together, comparing spiritual with spiritual, comparing one scripture with another.

To illustrate my concern : In the Gospel  of John, some groups of people have taken chapter 6 verse 53 to be literal and established for themselves an identity doctrine. Transubstantiation for them becomes central to their acceptance with God.   Again in John 20.33, one verse is used to create an order of specialists who have the authority to forgive sins.
      Whiles many would sneer at that group as being seriously misguided, many fall into the same error unknowingly. e.g. John 12.3 Mary's long hair (assumed) linked with one other verse in the New Testament  becomes an identity icon for some groups.  Others pick up on one chapter in 1 Corinthians which mentions "unknown tongues" and make unintelligent tongue speaking a major issue.  Others use Matthew 18.20 as the verse that distinguishes them above all others. Some promote a doctrine e.g. Divine sovereignty and ignore anything contrary to their frame of reference and visa versa.

      What am I getting at??  - We all grow up with a bias, and human nature calls upon us to defend our position ( whatever it is ), and when the going gets tough, we are inclined to major on that which supports our bias and identity. Pride does not like to say "I could be wrong".

      So what I am proposing is, that we read our Bibles with open eyes to see the whole story. Let the indwelling Spirit of God, who inspired the Bible, guide you in hearing the voice of God. Helps can be helpful, commentaries can be helpful, expositions can be helpful...... but always remember that someone writing a book or giving teaching, has a bias and an agenda. Words, concepts and arguments can be used very convincingly and yet be wrong!
     I have watched people in recent years struggling with various unhelpful biases, and whilst I may have been able to show differently, I have learned to try and see the Bible through their  eyes. Winning an argument does not always win the person. Best to lead others to find the truth for themselves.(how blessed we are to have the Bible in our own language and can read it ) ( not displacing the  scriptural place of teaching ).
  So am I biased - sure I am !
  But to return to the beginning - never build a castle on just one verse. See the Bible as a whole and interpret it in context.

      The other fallacy is to ignore the Bible and create our own ideas as 'truth'......!  that is post modernism and very popular today.

Where do we go from here?
Read the Bible as the word of God.
Enjoy the Scriptures revealing the Lord Jesus Christ.
Listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to you in the Truth taught.
Study the Bible so as to rightly discern the mind of God.
Share your  meditations with others and listen to others.

J McKee

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