Stripping the Bible of mans' support
Stripping the Bible of mans' support.
Every pulpit, every week, everywhere Christians are told how to think. There is usually an elevated individual often wearing the mantle of a priest or a pastor who informs all those gathered of what he believes they should know. This preacher and his preaching is informed through both his purview of Scripture and his world view. Any pastor or priest who has gained even a modicum of academic approval has eaten from the Tree of Knowledge and teaches his audience accordingly.
As discussed in Shooting a Holy Cow man has become most adept at bringing his own support to the Bible by inventing how it is to be read.
This SoulSense series How to Make Sense of the Bible continues to unpack Bible reading and interpretation that all readers may find an authentic, undiluted and untrammelled Scripture - pure of scholarly appeals and denominational axioms.
The Bible no more requires man's uninspired explanations than God can be advised by man's counsel.
1) What does the Bible say about its interpretation?
The Bible appears deliberately vague, even strangely silent upon how it is to be best read, but read it must be. The Bible is to be the daily diet of the simpleton and scholar alike. It is food for both the poor and the prosperous. There is no soul upon God's earth that cannot be made wealthier from the Holy Scriptures.
These Scriptures were written to prevent man from going astray (Jn 16:1), for encouragement towards endurance through the promise of hope (Rms 15:4) and to provide man with great profit (2 Tim 3:16).
BUT - the Bible does not define any method of interpretation.
"The static of this world makes it hard to hear the Spirit of God." ~ Gary Barkalow.
Understanding Scripture in context is part of the world's static; maybe even the loudest part within protestant evangelical Christianity.) Context is the screaming of the Tree of Knowledge to drown the Tree of Life. Only the Tree of Life speaks the living Holy Scriptures to disciples.
The Tree of Knowledge has built a fortress around Scripture that can only be mounted by those warriors who have trained well in its academies. In both Protestant and Catholic traditions the priest is the doyen of knowledge and the master of the Bible.
New Testament teaches clearly a Bible divinely inspired by and with the Holy Spirit of Truth, who leads the reader into all its truth. This is the same Holy Spirit who lives within each disciple. The Holy Spirit is the God-given conduit of truth (not context for instance). Divine Biblical commentary ia already planted within the believer.
The Bible confirms it is the living word - alive to any circumstance, any conscience, anywhere, anytime. Contextual analysis is a killer of divine inspiration. The Holy Spirit of Christ can and does apply the Bible regardless of context. He can uplift, uphold or even chasten the reader from written thoughts never obscured by time, culture or context. For instance Jeremiah 29:11 is just as bright today as when the tragic Jeremiah first offered it to a nation in deep distress. This powerful verse does not require an understanding of context or a grasp of ancient history to be still alive today. In fact to view its context alone is to assign, even condemn this wonderful promise and divinely given hope to yesterday.
Contextual analysis is a killer of divine inspiration.
The Bible should be approached with the heart of a child and not the heart of a scholar. Scholar's dissect the Bible - children don't.
2) The Static of 'Context'.
Christians do not need academic tools to receive the Lord's wisdom, to plumb the depths of Divine thought or hear directly from heaven; in fact academic tools may well be an impediment. Context is the loudest of man's tools reached for within a pulpiteer's study and taught from the evangelical pulpit.
To grasp context is to find the truth of the content is what I have learned in a 'previous life'. This axiom simply straight-jackets the Holy Spirit and imprisons God's word.
- Context can NEVER be the only arbiter of truth because Jesus is the truth and the Holy Spirit is the purveyor of His truth.
- To mine context so as to determine meaning is to replace the work of the Holy Spirit and to set context itself above scripture, as the correct tool to inform the reader of Scripture's meaning.
The best commentary upon Scripture is Scripture. Any tool of man, any skill of interpretation not supplied from the Tree of Life is simply a tool crafted by humans that are reclining against a bough of the Tree of Knowledge.
The knees are always the first shelf to climb upon when seeking understanding of God's Word. Seek the author of the Word and not just another reader of the Word to apply it to you each day. God can, H does and want to apply His word personally to you.
“The Bible is very easy to understand but we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly." ~ Søren Kierkegaard
NEXT MONTH - How to mine the Bible for all it is worth (becoming a Biblical excavator)