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.

Friday, May 3, 2013

How Not To Read The Bible

Your bible isn't going to read itself which means that you're going to have to do it manually. You're also not going to absorb God's word by proximity, so getting you NIV down off the shelf or the King James off of that ornamental stand is vital.. 

You need to get in there and read, pray, meditate, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of His word. I can go on and on about how to read your bible (and I already have, and I will again) but today let's talk about what not to do with your bible.

Don't Use Partial Verses - If you're going to take something out of context, using partial verses is the worst possible way to do it, and I've heard pastors do it more often than is comfortable. Take Luke 10:37 for example. This passage is the tag end of a long beautiful parable, however chopping to down to "Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same"" to justify anything other than what Jesus was teaching... imagine if  Pastor Brimstone said during service "The Hossenpheffer family has decided to double tithe from now on, and you all should follow suit. As it says in the bible, right there in Luke Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same" so y'all gotta start forking over the cash." I'm not sure if that's heresy or blasphemy. Probably heresy, but I've heard similar. Not as extreme, but similar. 

Don't Put Unrelated Passages Together - Here's a couple of passages that could be put together horribly: 
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. (2 Peter 3:8)  ....  and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.” And they were deeply grieved. (Matthew 17:23)
If we put these phrases together we would have to conclude that Jesus won't rise from the dead for approximately 1,017 more years. Luckily 1 Corinthians 15:20 tells us otherwise. 

Don't Add Words - adding a word here or there can alter the meaning of the verse you're reading. I'm not talking about the nearly pornographic bible perversion called The Message, or the heresy of the Queen James perversion, I'm talking about a subtle grammatical nudge that changes the entire meaning of a verse.  And the jehovah's witnesses are masters at this. The jehovah's witnesses very own bible, the New World Translation, has been built just to do one thing, agree with their point of view. One of the most beautiful and powerful verses in the bible has been twisted to match their own purposes
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
has had one little word added by the JWs:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.
This one little addition changes Jesus from God, and the son of God, to something separate, something no longer divine. This addition was made when the original Greek clearly did not have anything like that, nor say thing like the JW's now believe. This was not inspired by the Holy Spirit but by something else. Anyone else smell brimstone? 

Don't Pervert Words - Take "Atonement". Atonement in Judaism is the process of causing a transgression to be forgiven or pardoned. Many new-age religions and the LDS will convert "Atonement" to "At-one-ment" which they say means to be one with God. It almost makes sense; Atonement, At-one-ment... except here in the real world the Bible wasn't written in English, atonement comes from the Hebrew word kapparah. So if you properly split up the word  atonement for your own offshoot religion you get "Kap-pa-rah" which means nothing. (which is what at-one-ment means theologically)

Don't Ignore Related Passages - Some denominations claim that salvation only comes through baptism, such as the roman catholic church. They base their beliefs on Acts 2:38:
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
But the bible never say you must be baptized to be forgiven or saved, the word baptized means to be "dipped in" or "immersed in" and it doesn't necessarily mean water. Here in Acts you're being immersed in the name of Jesus Christ because of the forgiveness of sins, the word "because" being a more accurate translation. But you don't have to drill down that hard into the original Greek to understand, just read related passages. One of the more famous:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Here it clearly shows that Baptism, being an act or a work, is not part of your salvation. If anything it's a celebration of your salvation. When you're baptized you're saying to the world that you died to sin and were reborn to life in Christ, in our own puny human way we're emulating our King. Many study bibles have related passages marked, check them out as you're reading. Yes it may slow down your reading a bit but it will open up your understanding of God's word. 

Don't Ignore The Four Important Points - As Dr. Bill Creasy says over and over; when reading the bible there are four specific things you need to be aware of:

The Bible is rooted in Geography.
The setting for the Bible is the 'Fertile Crescent,' a land bridge linking Europe, Asia and Africa. It is in this place that God established his people and sent his Son into the world. This land plays a major role in God's covenant with his people and his plan of salvation. A basic knowledge of the geography of this region is key to understanding biblical history.

The Bible is rooted in history. God carried out his plan to redeem humanity on the stage of human history. The Bible must be read and understood against the backdrop of historical peoples, nations and events spanning thousands of years. To properly understand the bible we must understand the customs of those times and not interject today's "sensibilities" on to desert dwelling people of 4,000 years ago.

The Bible is a unified literary work. Every part of scripture is best studied and understood in light of the whole. Though written over a 1500-year period by at least 45 authors, the Bible in its final form is a unified literary work. It is linear in structure, its protagonist is God, its conflict is sin and its theme is redemption.

The Bible is the word of God. All scripture is God-breathed...' (2 Timothy 3:16). We understand that the Bible is "inspired" in the highest sense of that word, and that its human authors "...were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21) to write the words of scripture while applying their own personalities, talents and abilities to do so."

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