Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Never Read A Bible Verse!

Never read a bible verse, don't do it. Read a bible paragraph, read a bible chapter, read before the verse you're using, read after the verse you're using, get the context, but don't just read a bible verse. I'm not a scholarly bible student but I've been through The Book more (much more) than the majority of people who call themselves Christian and have learned that other than Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 most of everything between them needs to have their context examined before being used. Check this out:
"And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree" - (Revelation 9:4) - Seen on an Earth Day T-Shirt.
This one's a classic. This verse was actualy worn on a T-Shirt at an Earth Day rally. I wish I had been there to see it, not only is it out of context, it's only a partial verse. On the surface it looks warm and fluffy and earth friendly, but let's look at Revelation 9:4 again, this time  in context:
1 Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. 2 He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it  stings a man. 6 And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them. (Revelation 9:1-6)
Nothing says "Happy Earth Day" like a plague of man eating locusts.

This is a pretty extreme example, but a good illustration of the dangers of taking a bible verse out of context. It's kind of like using 2 Chronicles 6:14 on a T-shirt to prove that the bible says there's no God. One verse that's commonly misused because it's taken completely out of context is of course Matthew 7:1, I went over the misuse and misunderstanding of that verse here, but it's still one of my favorite verses that is misused, abused, overused and misconstrued. 

Here's a really good example, in John 12:32 Jesus says "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself" which sounds awesome. To be lifted up means to be glorified, to ascribe power and honor and glory to Jesus and the hearts of all around will be transformed and drawn to him, and there are plenty of examples of this verse being used in this context in actual sermons... BUT - that's not what Jesus was talking about. You have to read the next verse to understand: But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. (John 12:33). The proper context kind of takes the warm & fuzzy completely out of it.

In John 8:32 Jesus tells us "and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." The problem with this verse is that it's half a statement. Taken out of context it means that not lying will set you free, but free from what? Free from all your earthly cares and woes? however take in in context, read it along with the previous verse, remove the verse numbers and it makes much more sense: 
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
The truth mentioned here is is much more than just random honest facts, here we are talking about divine truth, the facts surrounding Jesus as Messiah and Son of God, but also to the teaching that he brought. A genuinely saved and obedient follower of the Lord Jesus will know divine truth and both freedom from sin (John 8:34) and the search for reality. This divine truth comes not merely by intellectual assent (1 Cor. 2:14) but saving commitment to Christ (cf. Titus 1:1–2).

Sometimes we can't actually get the full context because we don't speak Greek. I wish the study bibles would include the proper Greek phraseology when running into words that have multiple meanings... like 'love'. Look at 1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. Besides being the most overused improperly contextualized verse in the bible, in English it doesn't make the statement that John meant. There's four Greek words that have vastly different meanings that get translated to "love" in English:
  • Storge means affection, like you'd have for a baby or a puppy
  • Phila means friendship like you'd have for a buddy. It also means loyalty to friends, family, and community
  • Eros means passionate sensual love, not always sexual in nature but mostly is
  • Agape is the deep self sacrificial type of love. Love so deep you'd that you'd lay your life down for the object of your love.
All of these can be interchanged for the word love, however in 1 John 4:8 only Agape is used. Not knowing that the proper translation is "agape", one could legitimately conclude that the since I eros Sally, then I know God because he is Eros, or because I phila Dave, then I know God because God is Phila. Or even that since I eros Mary, then I know God because he is Storge. But here the Greek word is Agape, and how many people know a deep sacrificial love as God displayed when He sacrificed Jesus for us? Another problem with this verse is that many people only pay attention to the last three words and ascribe their own meaning to them. Yes, God is love, but He's so much more, and above all he is Holy, Holy Holy.

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