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How to Understand the Bible

One scripture does not make a theology

The number one is not a sum; it’s a lone number. Twelve is also a number.  Neither number is a sum.

But 1 and 1 = 2, and 10 and 2 = 12, hence a sum. Simple huh?

Here’s the key. The Bible itself says that the “sum of thy worth is truth.” This is found in the most accurate translation of the Bible, the New American Standard.

Psalm 119:160
The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

In order for you to get a sum you will need two separate scriptures, and preferably three. When you have two or more scriptures working together you have a theology.

For example, the Bible says that Jesus came to save the whole world, which indeed He did. But that is not a sum. If you believe that alone you might walk away thinking Jesus saves everyone on planet earth.

You also need to know that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. That is called a conditional phrase. It adds a condition which man must meet before he is saved. So the sum of that is that everyone on the planet can be saved if he/she believes and you now have a tenet of theology. It’s a start. Put many tenets together and you get a creed.

Conditions apply to understanding

In fact virtually everything in the Bible has a condition attached to it. And that condition is faith. We must accept what God says by faith and then act upon that faith. Once we do, God confirms His word to us.

John 7:17 If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.

Believe first then see the results

Here is an example of conditional scriptures. “If you continue in my word you are my disciples indeed and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

I can’t tell you how many people tell me – you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

Notice they substituted “set” for “make.”  “Set” indicates an event; “make” denotes a process.

Do not substitute your own word

But never mind. The real problem is they forgot the conditional part -IF.

Now you can start reading the whole Bible and not just parts, the parts you like. Watch the exact words exactly. Don’t patch in your own ideas and before long you’ll know what you are talking about.

Here is an example of taking one passage and ignoring another passage on the same point.  The Amish have separated themselves deliberately from the rest of the world. They refuse to use many modern conveniences; their dress and modes of transportation are different from the Americans, that they refer to as “English.”

Here is the passage they site:

Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

This part of the verse the Amish obey. but the rest of the verse is:

so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

And this last half of the verse they ignore.  Obeying God may mean to be an airline pilot, a translator for the United Nations, or a beautician in Hollywood.  The call of God and obedience take precedence over any calls to making personal and corporate holiness more worthy than obedience.

Here is where many of us stumble. Not just the Amish. It is very easy to make things and rules more important than the inner man. God, after all, looks on the heart not on the outside. A heart can be pure, while on the outside a person works for a garbage collection agency. God does not want us focusing on externals. We will do that anyway!

Holiness is the missing element in the majority of Christian living where anything goes. That is not the heart God wants.

Obedience is to the whole word of God, not just the passage we like. If you ever wondered what God’s will is, there it is.

#mandarin #chinese #allemand #espagnol #cantonese #francais

PS “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is not in the Bible and neither is “God helps those who help themselves.” I’ll bet some mother thought that one up.

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