Honesty in Bible Study

bibleIf ever there is a place for honesty it ought to exist in Biblical scholarship.  I was reading a  religious paper.  In the publication the author was saying that the church in Galatia had been influenced by false teachers.  In Galatians 1:6-7 Paul wrote,” I marvel that you are so quickly removing from him that today called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel; only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” The author of the original article was using the above text to condemn all who do not practice religion as he thinks it ought to be done. His statements go on to tell that those who seek to change his view of religion are change agents, with an agenda of change.   He is using as proof text Galatians 1:6-7.  In this text Paul is warning against allowing the Judaizing teachers to bind their culture and particularly circumcision on the churches of Galatia. This is not close to what was being taught by the author of the religious article.  If we are going to condemn others for practicing what we view as unbiblical, at the very least we ought to be correct and honest in our proof texts! Galatians 1:6-7 has absolutely nothing to do with the changes we see occurring in the church today. 
   Another of the favorite texts used by those who want to hold to the unwritten creed is 2 John 9-11.  In the King James Version this text says,
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:  For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”   This section of Scripture has been used as a “monkey wrench passage”.  It has been used with little or no regard for the context.  In the context it is talking about those who refuse to acknowledge Christ as coming in the flesh.  We have been all over the map on this section.  Usually we are consistent with this Scripture applying it to anyone who does not agree with our particular version of truth.
   On and on we could go with similar passages.  All misapplied so we can hold the accepted doctrine together.  It is past time for us to apply God’s Word with honesty.  Rather that studying so we can defend the dogma, lets seek diligently for truth.  Let’s apply the truths of God’s Word, as they actually exist rather than twisting Scripture to defend pre-determined positions!  If there is ever a place for honesty it certainly ought to exist in Christians as we diligently seek Him.

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5 Responses to Honesty in Bible Study

  1. Wayne McDaniel says:

    Dell, You are certainly correct in pointing out the misuse of scripture by sectarian minds that always seek to control the hearts of others. The judaizers did the same sort of thing in the middle of the first century. They likely used OT verses they were familiar with to try and enforce their rules on the Gentiles that had believed Jesus died to attone for their sins. Hear Paul, “So then, am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16)

    Paul wrote to rescue the Galatians from the tyranny of false brethren (2:4) ,who would sever them from Christ (5:4) , by having them rely upon keeping certain items from the law of Moses (5:3) . Paul was adamant: “For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled with a yoke of bondage.” (5:1)

    “They zealously seek you in no good way; no, they desire to shut you out, that you may seek them.” (4:17) Those Jews sought CONTROL over the Galatians , saying certain practices were essential. They were neither the first nor last, to seek control over others’ faith. Jesus exposed those who sought to pipe the tune for others (Luke 7:31-2) , to bind burdens on others (Mt. 23:4 ), to cast out of the synagogue any who believed on him (John 9:20-23).

    We find the same desire for control among the apostles (Mark 9:38-41), foretold of the Ephesians elders (Acts 20:30) , and exemplified by Diotrophes (3 John 9). The desire to control even Jesus , is prompted by Satan with amazing speed (Mt.16:23) . It continues, and none of us are immune to it. From small house churches, to large congregations; seeking to control others , to silence those who disagree — reveals the pride of Satan.

  2. Don Morrison says:

    Dell,

    Thanks for your post today.

    All my adult life I have been in ministry. And most of that time I have had to tip-toe around minefields planted by sectarian traditions. We have defined ourselves by doctrines – mostly disputable – rather than by the grace of Jesus. The arrogance which produces the claim of doctrinal perfection is the same that produces the sense of sinlessness. (I remember, in a casual conversation, a church leader commenting that he could not remember the last time he sinned, indicating that it had been so long). When we realize that we are merely human and fallible in every way – that the heart is deceitful above all things, then we can embrace many as sojourners along with us. Not only can we enjoy their fellowship, but we can learn from them as well. We are all just sinners, desperately in need of a savior.

  3. Don, I presently know of an individual who states that he no longer commits sin. This same indivdual holds the party line on all doctrinal issues. He prides himself in getting every doctrine right. I too have been in ministry all my adult life. I can tell you absolutely without a savior I would be lost. Why can’t we understand that God wants our heart and not perfect intellectualism. In His Grace, dell

  4. muddypuddles says:

    This was a great post and was followed by great comments. Don, perhaps the church leader was telling you that he had Alzheimer’s rather than being recently sinless. There are a lot of things I don’t remember as well. At least I think that’s true. Actually, now that I think about it, I can’t remember forgetting anything.
    Great Post Dell,
    God Bless, Dennis

  5. Philip Sims says:

    Thanks Dell, isnt that the exact message when Jesus says in John 5 how those long before us searched the scriptures, not to find the message about Jesus but to offer proof of what they already knew? It amazes me how our “understanding” often determines the message. Instead of our searching for God’s message we simply look to prove what we already know. peace brother

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