False Doctrine / Sound Doctrine – Part Two

Bible terms must be defined by Scripture if possible.  We often attempt to define Biblical concepts in today’s terms. This is not good Biblical Scholarship.  Proper scholarship requires that we define Biblical terms and concepts in a way consistent with Biblical intent.

A perfect example of this principle is in the definition of Baptism.  If we use the definition given by a typical English dictionary such as Webster.  Webster defines baptism in this way: The act of baptizing; the application of water to a person, as a sacrament or religious ceremony, by which he is initiated into the visible church of Christ. This is performed by immersion, sprinkling, or pouringObviously this definition doesn’t match the Scriptural definition. 

How do we let Scripture define Biblical terms?  John 3:23 says, “And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.”  It is worth mentioning that John was baptizing in Aenon because there was much water there.  There has to be a reason that baptisms were done where there was much water.  If this is not the case John could have baptized anywhere.  In the Biblical account of the Ethiopian  we are told that when Jesus was taught to him that his response was, “Here is water what hinders me from being baptized?”  Notice the response in Acts 8:38-39.  In this text it says, “And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”  One more text, Romans 6:3-5 says, “ Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”  

Let’s tie this together.  Webster said that baptism is performed by immersion, sprinkling or pouring.  If we stand by this definition we will have missed the Bible definition.  John tells us that he was baptizing in Aenon because there was much water.  Phillip and the Eunuch went down into the water for the baptism.  After the baptism they came up out of the water.  This again signified much water. Romans 6:3-4 tells us why there needed to be much water.  This text tells us that much water is needed because Bible baptism is a burial.  This eliminates sprinkling and pouring from our definition.  This is an example of why Bible phrases  need to be defined from Scriptural definitions.

The Biblical phrases “false doctrine” and “sound doctrine” must always be defined from Scripture.  The meaning we apply to them today must be the same meaning they had in their Scriptural context.  To apply a latter day meaning to a Biblical concept is to go beyond what is written.  In my next article I will show from Scripture the meaning God assigned to these two Scriptural concepts from the context in which they are discussed.

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