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Saturday, March 30, 2013


Have you ever wanted the Bible to say something that you were not sure that it did?  It may have been close – but it just was not crystal clear.  I found myself in that situation this morning.  Psalm 27:4 and John 15:5 are passages in which I spend a lot of time both personally and in working with men.  This morning I really wanted the word that the NASB translates “dwell” in Psalm 27:4 to be equivalent to the word translated “abide” in John 15:5.  The question is answered by looking at which Greek words are used to translate Hebrew words, most often in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament.
What do we do when the Bible does not say what we want it to say?
While there may be a conceptual connection between Psalm 27:4 and John 15:5, I was not able to find a strong link between the Hebrew “dwell” and the Greek “abide.”  I sure wanted to.

I have read some articles and heard some messages where connections like that are forced.  Speakers and writers have redefined words in order to force the connection.  In doing that they are forcing the Bible to say what they want it to say.  It is a much better course of action to allow the Bible to say what it says and let it change you.

There was a example of a good approach when you want to make a connection in a – not sure what to call Google+ or Twitter “friends” so I will go with – acquaintance, +Ron Edmondson's blog yesterday.  As you read that post you will see that he offered his thoughts tentatively, with questions rather than declarations.  That is a great example of how to approach issues about which you are not sure.

Not to follow +Ron's  example is to force the Scripture to say what one wants it to say.  Unfortunately that has been done quite a bit in the Church.  If you are reading or listening to what is being said about the Bible’s position on homosexuals, you will see many examples of people attempting to force the Scripture to validate their position.  That practice leads to the perversion of the text which culminates at best in heresy and at worst blasphemy.

1 comment:

  1. I fear that when I'm in that kind of position, frequently, and it's usually when I have an issue I'm trying to drive, it comes from a simple (and terribly ungodly) internal source - arrogance.

    Studying Matthew 16 this week, just started this AM. I was already stopped right away with the situation in vs.5-12 where the disciples had forgotten bread for their boat trip across the Lake, focused on the Jesus' phrases in vs.9 and 11 - "do you not yet understand or remember...," and "How is it that you do not understand...?" Hummm....

    Obviously the disciples were in a developmental pattern under Jesus and Matthew seems to be willing to point that out. It's not the first time they had heard these words. In Ch.15:16, responding to Peter's request for Jesus to interpret a recent parable, "Are you still lacking in understanding also?" Jesus seems to have expected that would by now. Ch.'s 13 contain the parables of Jesus' Kingdom sometimes with explanations. Yet they didn't understand as much as He expected they would.

    Why not? Obviously we probably can't know for sure. For one thing, though, in Ch.16 they seemed to be struggling to put Jesus' words into their own situations. Of course that's important for us to do with the the truths of Scripture. But until I first observe and understand what the Spirit is teaching, I can't but fall off the track.

    For me, beneath it all unless I am willing to take the time and follow the process to let the Spirit teach me I can only read my own faulty understanding into the truth and out comes confusion at best but even worse misunderstanding followed by misapplication. It helps me to try and ask myself, "Why are you responding this way to this issue?" Sadly it's frequently an unpleasant answer if I'm even willing to hear it at all.

    This is not really an answer to Mike's post as much as my own confession....