Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Do We Really Need To Read The Bible?

Wouldn't it be great of we didn't need to do all that reading? Really! As believers in Christ, we all have the Holy Spirit inside of us...don't we? He is the One who will reveal truth to us...isn't He? He speaks to us today...doesn't He? So...all we should have to do is listen to Him...and we can skip all this emphasis on this book...right?

Wrong!

We do have the indwelling Holy Spirit. He does indeed speak to us. He will help us with Scripture. But, the Holy spirit is not our problem. Our problem is
us. We have an amazing tendency to interpret what we think the Holy spirit is saying to us through the filters of our own desires and pride. We have an equally amazing tendency to justify our own desires and biases by believing, with all our heart, the the Holy Spirit is telling us something that tantalizes us and satisfies our need for self-elevation (prov 14:12). The next thing you know, we're flying off in the wrong direction fully convinced God is leading us down that path to more power, money, signs, wonders, miracles, health, prophecy, whatever...you name it!

Yes, God does all those things and can give us any of those gifts any time He desires. But Scripture is very clear that we are to "test the spirits" (1 John 4:1) before we buy into any of this and attribute it to Him. How do we test the spirits? Well, we can't just ask a question in our minds and hope to get an accurate answer (Luke 21:8). We can't
feel it in our hearts and hope we're right (Jer 17:9).

What we we can do and should do, is compare the things we hear with Scripture. This is the ultimate test of voracity and the only objective criteria we have for measuring whether we are hearing from God or not.

2 Timothy 3:16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

This is a familiar verse. What doesn't get a lot of exposure in this verse is the word for "adequate" which has a connotation of being complete or sufficient. The indication of these two verses is that without Scripture, there is something missing, something we need to complete us if we are going to do the good works God intends for us to do.

This is why God has breathed out His word for us and given us the Bible. With the Holy spirit in us, speaking to us, guiding us, empowering us and sustaining us...the Scriptures complete us, providing the real world check we need in order to carry on and grow in Him, verifying what we hear and enabling us to sort the good from the bad (Heb 5:13-14). As such, we are prepared and equipped to walk the walk of a godly people.

Yes, we do really need to read the Book. But it's not a chore, it a blessing, one graciously given us by a loving Father who wants to see us complete (Col 1:28).

10 comments:

  1. I know there are more, but I like these two passages...

    Romans 15:4 assures us that the OT is still valid: For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

    1Thess 2:13 assures us that the NT is necessary too: For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

    KK

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  2. We do have the Holy Spirit. He does indeed speak to us. He will help us with The Holy scriptures. But, the Holy Spirit is not our problem. Our problem is us. We have an amazing tendency to interpret what we think the Holy Bible is saying to us through the filters of our own desires and pride. We have an equally amazing tendency to justify our own desires and biases by believing, with all our heart, that the Holy Bible is telling us something that tantalizes us and satisfies our need for self-elevation (prov 14:12). The next thing you know, we're flying off in the wrong direction fully convinced God is leading us down that path to more power, money, signs, wonders, miracles, health, prophecy, whatever...you name it! To claim that the writing is fool proof is just as foolish as to claim that the voice is.
    2 Timothy 3:16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

    17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

    Another interesting word study is that the word scripture here is the greek word for writing... it literally says that all writing is inspired by God. The verse before also indicates a delineation between the holy scripture (by directly referring to it in that verse) and scripture (by not directly referring to it in the next verse). Obviously, not all things written are right or good in the sense that most people view the holy scripture, but in the same way not all things in the holy scripture are right and good either... for example David seduced Bathsheba and committed murder. But we all accept that that's not what it meant in this passage about scripture being good for training, but really the only reason we got that is because a prophet heard it and someone valued what he said and wrote it down. In fact there's not one story in the book that doesn't involve someone speaking according to what they were hearing. If Moses had had to check what he heard by a book I wonder if he would have had the stomach to carry out the ten plagues... I wonder if Elijah thought to see if there was chapter and verse supporting what he was about to do when he raised the widow's son from the dead... What if Abraham said "but God... no one has left their fathers house and headed out after a place they've never seen before"? And I haven't even gotten into how the bible scholars of the day completely missed Jesus because he didn't look like what they thought the book said about Him. If we had only ever followed the book as humans... there would be no book to follow.

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  3. Interesting ideas but let me mention two things.

    First, "Graphe", the word used for Scriptures in 2 Tim 3:16 is used 47 times in the NT to denote the Holy Scriptures. Let me share what the New International Greek Testament Commentary has to say about 2 Tim 3:16; "γραφή (NT 50x [30x singular], Pl. 14x [9x singular]) was used in the Greek of the day for any piece of writing, but in the NT it is used only of holy scripture (BAGD s.v. 2; cf. G. Schrenk, TDNT I, 751ff.)

    Knight, G. W. (1992). The Pastoral Epistles : A commentary on the Greek text (445). Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press."

    Here's what Weust has to say about the same passage: (3:16, 17) After exhorting Timothy to hold fast to the sacred scriptures he was taught, and those were the Old Testament scriptures, Paul now proceeds to describe them. “All” is pas (πας), which when used with a singular substantive without the article, means “every,” not “all.” “Scripture” here is graphē (γραφη), “a writing, thing written,” used of the writings of the O.T. prophets (Matt. 26:56), and of the O.T. scriptures in general (Matt. 26:54). The expression pasa graphē (πασα γραφη) (“every scripture”) speaks, not of the O.T. scriptures as a whole, but of each separate passage considered as a unit. The first thing Paul says about the O.T. scriptures which Timothy was taught, is that every part of them is inspired of God. The verb of being is often left out, as it is here, and the reader or translator must supply it. “Inspired of God” is theopneustos (θεοπνευστος), made up of theos (θεος), “God,” and pneustos (πνευστος), from pnein (πνειν), “to breathe.” The compound word means “God-breathed.” The statement therefore is, “Every scripture is God-breathed.”

    Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (2 Ti 3:14–16). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

    So, in context, Paul is talking about every Scripture, not all writing.

    Secondly, I agree we need the Holy Spirit along with the Scriptures in order to understand as much as we can. Either without the other is an exercise in futility and can be dangerous.

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  4. I see how you come to your conclusion (I still have a different take on it), however, even in the commentaries they are not inclusive except in theory of the New Testament. I wonder if Paul would have included his own writing in that statement at the time he wrote to Timothy what we now refer to as that passage. But then that begs the question when talking of the New Testament who determined and what was the criteria of that being scripture and who then determined that that also agrees with what Paul had in mind here in what he was saying to Timothy and if that was not in his mind at the time how did it end up in all the commentaries and beliefs of this day? And why not other writings?

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  5. Certainly not all of Paul's writings were considered inspired. Only the one that are in the Bible. In any event, ti wasn't Paul's decision nor was it Paul's ideas, if we are to believe the Scriptures were inspired by God through the men He chose to use. As far as criteria is concerned, the guidelines used at the Council of Chalcedon are widely know as well as the fact that they were merely formalizing what had already come to be recognized as the whole body of Scriptures. The debate over what was included and what was not included had been fueled by misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the facts for centuries. The bottom line is this, if we believe the Bible is inspired, as it says it is, then we have a set of criteria we can use and an objective measure of the things we feel and "hear". If we don't believe it is inspired, we are left to our own devices and impressions.

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  6. Well I understand your position. However, my point is that the Voice is just as inspired as the book and just as useful. And an objective measure of things we read and "understand". If we don't believe it is inspired, we are left to repeat the mistakes of those who've gone before us and esteem them the whole time. And we are still left to our own devices and impressions because you have them about the book just as much as you do about a voice.

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  7. Your comments are intriguing. The difference with the Book is that we have enough knowledge and resources about the original languages to arrive at far more objective conclusions than trying to rely on an inner voice for all things (Jer 17:9). Man's interpretation of those conclusions can be problematic and subject to his own biases and prejudices. We have to always be willing to ask ourselves if we are going to change the Word, or allow the Word to change us. There has to be an objective foundation used to make our determination as to what is from God and what is not (1 Tim 6:3-5).

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  8. The only truly objective foundation I know is God.

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  9. I appreciate the discussion sir. Thus our differences, you say knowledge and resources about the original languages, I say devices and impressions based on supposition and theory, and sometimes whim, fear, desire, and even angst. Same for the voice... perhaps that's why faith is so important? I tend to think so... faith in Him more then me... faith in His ability to speak and instruct more then my ability to hear or interpret.

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  10. Amen, my friend. Thanks for stopping by and engaging in a godly manner. These types of friendly debates should challenge us and help us grow. The body of Christ is rich and diverse!

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