One of the good things this pandemic has brought about was more adoption of ways of delivering products. In store pick-ups and curbside deliveries have been crucial in helping to keep long lines down while social distancing. I hope this continues long after things clear up rather than having the full on cashier-less store. Yes, I still have faith in retail stores in spite of massive closedowns. No need to hear comments from the peanut gallery.
So, my wife found this gem of a book recently just laying on the check-out counter as she was purchasing some items. Such a historical book and makes a great addition to our book collection. In our previous devotional, we talked about additional rules of Hermeneutics including juxtaposing and integrating words. Today I hope to do three things here:
- Give a little more information about Biblical interpretation
- Give a short talk on Biblical Authority and the difference between infallibility and inerrancy.
- Provide further grounds for exploring other religions and cultures in great detail.
In the last post, I made a suggestion to not weaken the potency of words in order to suit our understanding. For those who are well acquainted with the Bible, they know how powerful words can be and the danger behind weaking it. It’s good to remind us here that the rules behind Biblical Interpretation are not arbitrary rules given by some scholars, it is written in the Bible itself.
You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you. Deut 4:2 ESV
Gee is that all?
There are two types of interpretations: exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is interpreting the text by the author according to the author’s word in context. Eisegesis by contrast is importing your own ideas of meaning into the text. Generally speaking eisegesis is shunned and for good reasons yet not altogether correct.
The prophets of Judaism had warned Israel about failing to discern between good and evil. (Read Is 5:20-21; Ez 22:26) The Jews many of times fell away from serving God to serving idols keeping themselves from reaching the Promised Land. It is also proverbial wisdom to avoid eisegesis although wisdom will sometimes clash.
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. Prov 30:5-6 ESV
I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. Ecc 3:14 ESV
Grace to Write
Because God’s Word is and should be held in high regard, eisegesis is commonly avoided in respect of authority. For who would talk back to the highest authority? A Supreme being does not stand to be corrected. These are the premises concerning the infallibility of the scriptures. However, with Logic, a distinction must be made between infallibility and inerrancy. These are two different words which imports two different sets of meanings. I am preparing to make a dangerous claim. Please take the time to consider my propositions:
If something is inerrant, it must be infallible. The inverse is not true. Something can be infallible and contain errors. The Bible contains many errors, perhaps more than we would like to admit.
Haven’t we already proven deviations from God’s Word with translations alone? Are there other inaccuracies in the Bible? I can find them. Can you?
The righteousness that comes from law keeping states that one must be careful to not make mistakes to be right with God. The righteousness that comes from grace states that one has fulfilled the law through simple faith in Christ. The former strives to maintain the integrity of the letter. The latter maintains the purity of the Spirit. As our beloved Matthew would write:
And so I maintain an epigrammatic expression that I have said once and will say again: One cannot honestly assert the existence of transcendental truth without recognizing objectivity as lies by way of omission.
Why would God give His Word to mankind with ‘mistakes’? Allow me to give an explanation. Do not take it as absolute truth. Perhaps God withholds his revelations to test the faithfulness of his people. Faithfulness in loyalty, in belief, in accuracy, and in reflection. Perhaps in the same way a person is given a standardized test with multiple choices, God gives His Word to his people. No one expects all the answers in a multiple choice question to be correct.
(T)All (TEST)In(G) the(S)Is
I’d like the solve the puzzle Pat. What great fortunes await those who do the will of God! What glory there is for those who worship God in spirit and in truth; in true righteousness and holiness, without pretense and a false estimation of one’s productivity. For without Christ, all of one’s works are corrupt. To deny Jesus who is the Messiah; the Perfect One, would essentially be denying One’s full potential. And I’d hate to see many souls continue to be infidels on the day of judgment. For on that day I’m sure as Alex would agree as well, that for those unbelievers the question still remains: What is Double Jeopardy?
Now let’s go to our devotional verse in 2 Timothy. I will not break it down this time. I’ll let you do it and come up with your own reasoning. Try to consider why I would explore different texts across religions and cultures. Just a few notes here and then I’ll ask a question:
15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Tim 3:15-16 KJV
Excuse the Old English here. I’ve always been an old soul. Note the omission of holy between verses 15 and 16. Paul believes scriptures were given for a purpose. The following question does not challenge those purposes, but for whom or what those purposes are for. Choose the BEST answer:
When a person reads the Word of God, who should be instructed?
God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain!
And yet there are some who will deny things in spite of sufficient evidence. What a way to go when tenacity becomes stubbornness! May we be persistent in what is good and true. For this marks the end of an error. I’m sorry did I say error. I meant to say Era. That’s that accent kicking in.
What are your thoughts about this devotional? Do you believe people should counter God’s word? Do you think the Bible contains errors? Please give your comments below.