Sunday, December 11, 2005

Reading and Understanding the Word

Hebrews 4:12-13

For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

The Bible is a living document, evident in the fact that one cannot tire in reading it. No matter how many times I read a passage, I can still gather something new from it. So though it is certainly important to look at who the author's original audience was, and to dissect and define the text. As long as our goal in that in-depth study is to draw closer to the Lord, and to put the focus on Him and what he wants, and less on us and our ideas. The Bible is God's Word and He is teaching us something new every time we pick it up. I think too often we break up the text, so as to make it say something that we want it to. (Please help me to see if you think I'm guilty of that in using this text, in making this point.) God is not a God of confusion, He has preserved His Word throughout History so that we can still read and understand it. Often the most plain and obvious interpretation of a passage is the most accurate.

The word is piercing our soul and spirit, causing division between things of the Lord and sin in our lives. We are but clay in our Father's hands, He is working us over so that we might further glorify Him.

We cannot hide from Him, so let us continually read his Word and seek the truth.


At 12/11/2005 8:31 PM, Blogger Reformed Centurion said...

Right on.

At 12/11/2005 8:52 PM, Blogger Ana Banana said...

It is amazing to see how many people break off little peices of God's word to make it say what they want it to say. I too hope that God will reveal His truth and allow me to see His word with renewed eyes each time I open up the Bible.

At 12/12/2005 8:15 PM, Blogger Ana Banana said...

That conference looks incredible, so we will have to see if it will work out.

At 12/12/2005 8:43 PM, Blogger Ana Banana said...

Ana's mom says..."after hearing the article, I am truly blessed. Jo Ellen King (My Mom...hehe)

At 12/12/2005 9:04 PM, Blogger Julianne said...

Great post.

ps-nice links you've got.

At 12/13/2005 5:54 PM, Blogger Matador190 said...

I have only 16 words to say: the bear in the tree climbed to the top of the coffee pot to smell the peaches. That, and great post.

At 12/13/2005 5:58 PM, Blogger Matador190 said...

Don't you hate these word verification things? I mean, what does it do? Protect your blog from people that can't read english letters? Or what if you're missing a finger and you can't reach the 'Q' button, for example. So not only does it discriminate against people of other nationalities, it also discriminates against amputees! This is insane! Well, it won't stop me 'cuz I'm SMART. Or that's what my caretakers tell me.

At 12/15/2005 5:25 PM, Blogger Antonio said...

Just for the New Testament, you are 2000 years removed from the dead language used to write it, the idiom, the cultural context, the figurative language, the symobols, the mindset, and the worldview of the original readers of it.

Next, you are relying upon fallible men translating (and often taking great liberty) the text into another language, English, that is not as precise, and often cannot express the import of some of the Greek linguistical nuances.

Then, there is the difference between milk of the word and meat. Even Peter found Paul's epistles "difficult to understand" (2 Peter 3:15-16). Milk takes maturity to understand.

Next, authors have detailed trains of thought within their context that builds ideas one upon the next, that needs to be examined in order to get the sense of where they are going and what import it is.

There are many grammatical considerations that do not come easily from the English text, for translators take liberty with moods, tenses, co-ordinate and subordinate clauses, gender, perticiples, direct.indirect objects, predicate nominatives, etc, etc, etc.

The task of properly interpreting the Bible is not one of ease. It takes rightly DIVIDING it. Many people lump everything together, pull scripture out of context, and bring their theology to it.

Destruction can come to the one who is careless, flippant, and un-critical with the Word of God.


At 12/16/2005 4:35 PM, Blogger Reformed Centurion said...


I guess from your point of view the proper interpretation of the Bible is possible for only the very learned. Nobody who just picks up a Bible has the possibility of rightly interpreting scripture. Those few privileged people who know and understand every historical context and linguistic variation are the only ones who can be trusted with the truth of the Bible. That is just plain silly. That view holds that it is not the Bible alone that declares the truth. You need prior understanding of numerous other subjects to gain any substance from the Scriptures. Am I wrong about what you are trying to say?

At 12/17/2005 5:38 PM, Blogger Antonio said...

I see that you did not deny a single point I made.

If you don't deny, then you must concede.

I made a bunch of TRUE observations, then I drew two conclusions.

The conclusions were:

1)The task of properly interpreting the Bible is not one of ease. It takes rightly DIVIDING it.

2)Destruction can come to the one who is careless, flippant, and un-critical with the Word of God.

YOU put words into my mouth. You jumped to conclusions, and assumed.

Now which of my observations or conclusions do you disagree with?


At 12/17/2005 10:50 PM, Blogger Reformed Centurion said...


It is clear I did not fully understand what you were trying to say. That is why I asked you if I misunderstood. If you answer one question for me I think it would help me to understand where you are coming from.

Is it possible to properly interpret the Bible (through the internal witness of the Holy Spirit) based solely on the Bible itself? That is if someone were stranded on a deserted island with nothing but a Bible could they understand the Scriptures based only on the words contained?

At 12/18/2005 2:28 PM, Blogger Antonio said...

The point I was making was what I made. I made true observations and drew 2 conclusions.

I will answer your questions if you answer me my question that I posed to you first:

Now which of my observations or conclusions do you disagree with?


At 12/18/2005 3:44 PM, Blogger Reformed Centurion said...


If you would could you please clarify for me exactly what you mean by the word "DIVIDING", and why did you put it all in capital letters? I really do not know what you were saying in that one point, and so I cannot agree or disagree.


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