No Apologizing

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tag Archives: Bible

Are Christians Sociopaths?


Are Christians, particularly Christians in America, sociopathic?

What started as an off the cuff remark I made during a recent sermon at my Church (Legacy Church, in Kansas City, MO) has begun to legitimately haunt me (you can hear the sermon here)…

Christian… Sociopath… These are two words that on the surface seem completely incompatible.  Acts 11:26 tells us that the term “Christian” was first used of disciples in the Antioch church.  This was initially used as an insult in that people were saying they were “little Christs”.  In other words, they were just like Jesus, who because of His great love for people, voluntarily died to pay for the sins of the world. On the other hand – the dictionary defines sociopath as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” Another says that “Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.”

How can someone who is living a life that is reminiscent of a man whose critics admit was at least a good person and moral teacher exhibit behavior or attitudes that are patently selfish and apathetic to others? However, in spite of the apparent contradiction, I think if we are truly honest with ourselves, the answer is closer to “yes” than any of us who call ourselves a Christian would like to admit… And it tears me up inside… Let me allow this clip from Atheist Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette to begin to explain what I mean:

“How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” There is the rub… Way too many “Christians” fall in a daily routine and are comfortable to coast through life without a broken heart for their friends and family who, if what we believe is really true, are destined for an eternity without God… Well… to be honest that is the essence of selfishly living life “without concern for the effects of their behavior [or lack thereof] on others”, isn’t it???

We certainly shouldn’t be comfortable with it… But sadly I think that may just be the problem… our comfort.  Because we are relatively comfortable, especially in comparison to most of the rest of the world, we just get into auto pilot and unintentionally slip into apathy.  It’s not a conscious thing, but it occurs anyway… and it’s tragic.

Penn said “There comes a point where I tackle you… and this is more important than that.” Because people’s eternities are so important, our “social conscience” should remind us that we have a “moral responsibility” to love those around us enough to take the risk of offending them or losing a friendship to in a sense “tackle” them by sharing the truth about Jesus

Let’s pray to God for forgiveness for our sociopathic tendencies and begin to live a life that actually reflects our name-sake, Jesus… and refuse to scoot through life uncaring and unaffected by the many people we know who do not yet have a relationship with Him.

Advertisements

US Government Persecution of Christians continues


Not that I am a doom or gloom type of a guy but I feel like we have reached that line in the sand as a culture.  Rather than looking down at the line and pausing for a moment to contemplate what the next step should be, our culture has now jumped over the line and took off sprinting.  Last month I posted a link to an article from Breibart talking about the persecution of our brothers and sisters in the military.  Some of the verbiage used by the fellow who crafted the Department of Defense position was harsh.  Now I stumble across an article which brings the President into play in the ongoing persecution of Christians in the Military.

According to this article (READ HERE), Congressman John Fleming offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would protect the religious rights of soldiers.  To quote Fleming It would have “required the Armed Forces to accommodate ‘actions and speech’ reflecting the conscience, moral, principles or religious beliefs of the member.”  The Presidents response was that it would have a “significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.”

Weird how Christianity and the expression of Christianity would have a negative impact on morale, good order and discipline.

All I can do is sit and shake my head.  How does it come to this?

Fleming offered several examples of persecution within the amendment.  So check this out…

Fleming introduced the amendment after a series of high-profile incidents involving attacks on religious liberty within the military- including an Air Force officer who was told to remove a Bible from his desk because it might give the impression he was endorsing a religion.

He said there are other reports of Christian service members and chaplains being punished for their faith.

  • The Air Force censored a video created      by a chaplain because it include the word “God.” The Air Force feared the      word might offend Muslims and atheists.
  • A service member received a “severe and      possibly career-ending reprimand” for expressing his faith’s religious      position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog.
  • A senior military official at Fort      Campbell sent out a lengthy email officially instructing officers to      recognize “the religious right in America” as a “domestic hate group” akin      to the KKK and Neo-Nazis because of its opposition to homosexual behavior.
  • A chaplain was relieved of his command      over a military chapel because, consistent with DOMA’s definition of      marriage, he could not allow same-sex weddings to take place in the      chapel.

Folks, I have said it before and I will say it again.  We are on the downward slope here.  The persecution cat is now out of the bag.  Right now the trend is persecution because it will be offensive (political correctness).  At some point it will turn into a crime where we will be literally punished for our beliefs, when they (the world) see that we are more concerned about eternal life rather than the immediacy of this life and continue to evangelize.

We may not be very far from that based on the Breibart article .  It is beginning to get real now.  We have to be preparing ourselves mentally for the sacrifice that we will have to make in order to honor God and follow through on the Great Commission.

My first sermon


Here is a link to my first sermon.  It is on Ephesians 6:5-9.  Please let me know what you think.

 

 

 

Are we a nation of Sodom?


This week the Supreme Court will be hearing two cases regarding same sex marriage.  Now before the “equal rights” fan crowd goes crazy I just want to clarify.  This piece is not about the political game being played with the institution of marriage.  This piece isn’t interested in the benefits of civil union versus marriage.  Rather, I wanted to take a moment to reflect historically on how our current culture compares to others in history.  You see, this Supreme Court ruling may re-define marriage.  Regardless of the ruling, our nation has been moving away from traditional, biblical marriage under the guise of equality and justice for some time now.  Even Christians are in support of this move and sit off to the side clapping their hands as our society becomes more “evolved,” “caring” and “enlightened.”

That being said a comparison can be drawn between our society and others throughout history.  there is nothing unique about American society historically speaking.  To illustrate this point, I am going to throw some adjectives out and let’s see who they seem to describe…

Arrogant

 Overfed

 Unhelpful

 Haughty (acting superior and disdainful in case you were wondering)

Sexually permissive

 Indulgent

 Immoral

 Unconcerned

 Do the words above describe America?  I would think that on this point an Atheist and a Christian can agree.  America is often described globally as an arrogant nation full of haughty people.  Neither, is there any doubt about us being overfed – We are incredibly overweight and by and large a lazy nation.  We are more prone to not help someone in dire need than we are to help them.  We are a sexually permissive nation that was “freed” by the sexual revolution – to the point there are very few taboos any more. Homosexuality…well that is just part of the freedom that we allow here in America. We are indulgent, often act in immoral ways, and are generally unconcerned with anything that doesn’t directly affect our own bottom line unless it is so incredibly shocking that it basically jumps up and slaps us in the face.

Yep, that is the America that I am an adult in and the America that my children will grow up in.

But why does this matter – Why am I concerned?  Well, because these adjectives are the very words used to describe Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible.

Let that sink in for a while…..  Still sinking in?

The American society in which we live has now become a nation almost exactly like Sodom.  Don’t believe me?  Here is a sample scripture… you decide for yourself:

Ezekiel 16:49-50 “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me…”

Liberal theologians are quick to point out (or at least they try to point out) that homosexuality had nothing to do with the destruction of Sodom.  They go so far as to say that God has no problem with homosexuality at all.  This of course is absolute foolishness and Christians should own the fact that God has rejected homosexuality both through His Word, and in creation.  Read this BLOG POST

There is absolutely no doubt that the America we live in fits the biblical description of.  The Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage and DOMA may solidify that even more.

 So I say…Welcome to the United Sodoms of America.  The good ol’ US of A.

So what does this mean?  I don’t know but it’s not good.  A society that is going out of its way to rip itself from the God of the Bible under the pretense of equality and justice cannot be good.  A nation that is ever increasingly turning its back on its Judeo Christian ideals…cannot be good.  A nation that is now supporting the single religion of Humanistic Moral Relativism (Atheism) cannot be good.

If you believe that God doesn’t do judgment…you need to go read the Bible (more or again or for the first time).   I believe it is just a matter of time before this nation is judged, and it won’t be pretty.  The question is, what are we willing to do about it?  Are YOU willing to carry the message of the Gospel to your friends and family?

The Bible….review #1


I am about half way through the first show.

I did find where the producers were interviewed on Bill O’Reilly.  They describe themselves as being devout Christians.  They talkedabout how they wanted to create a show that would depict the Bible as is… so how are they doing?

Well…The first major thing of note Lot and Sodom.

Okay so the show depicts this event as follows:  the two angels go to Sodom, and are apparently assaulted and wind up at Lots house.  Lot then allows the angels into the house where he holds off the crowd outside.  Lot tells the crowd that they (angels) are his guests and that he will not let them take them.  Well that didn’t please them so the angels (one of which was a Samurai master) went out and cut a pathway out of the city.

Ninja angel

 

What really happened?

Lot is sitting in the gateway to Sodom.  The two angels walk up, and apparently Lot recognizes them and refers to them as lords.  Lot invites them to his humble abode, but the angels refuse wanting to spend the night in the square.  Lot insists and finally the angels give way to Lot.  Now, while the conversation was going on someone or a group of people noticed the angels.  Lot leads the angels back to his house and cooks a meal.  Meanwhile a gang forms outside of Lots doors and they are demanding the two angels….to have sex with them.  Lot, protecting his guests offers his daughters to them.  That was unacceptable to this gang, and they threatened to hurt Lot and pressed forward to the door.  The angels pulled Lot back, struck the gang with blindness, and lead them out of the city.

I think the show really missed an opportunity with this.  Can you think of this scene where Lot chooses to protect the servants of God by giving his own daughters over to this gang of miscreants?  What a powerful message of sacrifice   This was the reason he was saved out of the city.   Also….what a way to cheapen everything that the show accomplished in a 2 minute segment.  A Samurai ..really?  Of everything that was in the show this will be the one thing remembered.  No one will be talking about the imagery of Noah’s arc or the faith of Abraham, or the depiction of Egypt (which was incredible)…but every is talking about ninja angels….

The Bible on History Channel


So a new series is beginning on the History Channel tonight.  This series will be acting out the Bible and is creatively called….”The Bible”.  Reminds me of…”Allow myself to introduce….myself”.

the-bible-hero-v5-H


 

 

Anyway…I will be tuning in with a skeptical eye of course because cable channels like the History Channel tend to approach topics related Christianity from a secular perspective and tend to get many facts wrong or write it from the perspective that it is a fairly tale.

I will do my best to post my opinion of this show as it goes along.  I will have to say that I have pretty low expectations.  We shall see.

Here is a link to the show in case you haven’t heard of it.

Be sure to grab your Bible….get comfortable and hopefully enjoy!

Ten suggestions for becoming Biblically based Moms and Dads


I am taking a class on Biblical Marriage Counseling.  My assignment for this week, create a top ten list for becoming Biblically based Moms and Dads.  This list is not the end all be all.  It is important to raise your family in the ways of the Lord.  If you are in need of counseling be sure to get in touch with your pastor.

  1. Model a loving relationship for your children.  Husbands love and protect your wives and children.  Wives submit to your husbands. (Ephesians 5:21-33)
  2. Have the right attitude when doing things at home.  Be honest, speak well and show integrity when accomplishing tasks (Titus 2:5)
  3. Be a mother to your children.  Don’t be seduced by what your professional career can offer.  (1 Timothy 2:15; 5:14).
  4. Testify of what the Lord has done for you. (Joshua 4:6-7)
  5. Teach your children about God and the sacrifice of Christ and they will always remember it. (Proverbs 22:6)
  6. Fathers, provide discipline to your children. (Proverbs 13:24)
  7. Do not provoke your children to anger.  (Ephesians 4:26-27)
  8. Do not exasperate your children (Ephesians 6:4)
  9. Cultivate a Christian character with your children that is self-controlled and pure (1 timothy 5:22, Titus 2:5, 2 Corinthians 11:2)
  10. Be a mentor to younger women (Titus 2:3-5)

A tale of two Christians


There are perhaps hundreds of examples (or even thousands or even hundreds of thousands) of when two Christians come to a different conclusion on the same topic.  Some of these differences could be as simple as disagreeing on who wrote the book of Hebrews, or something as complicated as the creation account in Genesis.  Having been in the apologetics game for a little over two years, I have had my share of disagreements with Christians on some theological matters.

Over the last two months we have had the ability to literally watch this unfold on national TV.  It was so subtle, that I doubt many of you tied these two events together to compare and contrast these two Christians.

What am I talking about?

About two weeks ago, President Obama, declared to the world that, based on his understanding of his faith, he believes homosexuals should be allowed to get married Here’s exactly what he said:

And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others.

But, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.

Compare and contrast this to Kirk Cameron, who stated the following when asked about same-sex marriage:

I believe that marriage was defined by God a long time ago. Marriage is almost as old as dirt and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve: one man one woman for life – ah till death do you part. So, I would never attempt to redefine marriage and I don’t think that anyone else should either. So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No I don’t.

Could there be a sharper contrast between two people when it comes to applying their faith?

One Christian is saying that same-sex marriage is okay because the Golden Rule says to treat others the way you would want to be treated, while the other affirms that marriage is defined by God, and is between one man and one woman.

These are mutually exclusive ideas, so one has to be right and the other wrong.  How are we to gauge which one is correct?  Since both claim to be Christians and because the Christian faith is rooted in the Bible we should look to what the it has to say about the topic, right?  Additionally, we have to assume that both hold the Bible to have some sort of authority, since both quoted it.

According to scripture (Specifically Acts 17:11) we should be like the Bereans and test everything that is taught against scripture.   Based on that, we have 3 specific points that we must review in order to come to an educated conclusion about these two different viewpoints: 1. What does the Bible say about homosexuality; 2. How does the Bible define marriage?, 3.  What does the Golden Rule mean?

So what does the Bible say about Homosexuality?  How does it describe God’s thoughts on it?

Lev. 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

Lev. 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act”

1 Cor. 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Rom. 1:26-28, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

So here we have two examples, two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament.  All provide a clear example of what God thinks about homosexuality.  Please understand that I am not passing judgment on those that are homosexual.  This is God’s Word.  God’s Word is pretty clear.  Homosexuality is a sin, an abomination, and a detestable act.  There doesn’t appear to be any gray in this area.

How does the Bible define marriage?

There are several (and when I say several I mean numerous) Bible verses that speak directly to marriage.  A quick sampling includes Genesis 2:22 – 24, Proverbs 5:18-19, Proverbs 12:4, Matthew 19:4-6, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16, Ephesians 5:22-23, and Colossians 3:18-19.

The one that really sticks out is Hebrews 13:4 where the author writes Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

According to the author marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure.  God will judge those that do not keep it pure.  This includes those that are adulterers and the sexually immoral.  Adulterer is a fairly well defined and specific term.  Sexually immoral however, appears to be more general or a more encompassing phrase.  What does it refer to?  In the New Testament it typically refers to any sexual sin.  This would include homosexuality.  Here the Bible appears to be very clear that all must honor marriage (clearly defined as man and woman throughout the Bible) and to keep the marriage bed pure (excluding all sexual sin including homosexuality).

What about the Golden Rule?

This verse can be found in Matthew 7:12.  A basic summation of the Golden Rule is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  This is exactly as the President stated.  But what does it mean?  I found a great explanation of this in a commentary written by Matthew Henry.  From the golden rule we can derive 3 things: 1. We must do that to our neighbor which we ourselves acknowledge to be fit and reasonable; 2. We must put other people upon the level with ourselves; 3. We must, in our dealings with others, suppose ourselves in the same particular case and circumstances with those we have to do with and deal accordingly.

So what does all of this mean?

As Christians we are called to obey the word of God.  The Bible is considered the word of God thus we are called to obey it in its entirety.  This means that a Christian’s response to gay marriage must encompass all of the above, and not just one component.

It is clear from the scripture above that God considers homosexuality a sin.  It is also clear that marriage was designed by God to be a covenant relationship between a man and a woman for a lifetime.  We are also called to treat others the same way that we would want to be treated.  However, the way that Obama uses the Golden Rule redefines it in a way that basically says “I wouldn’t want someone else to tell me not to get married so I can’t tell someone else that they cannot get married”.  The use of the Golden Rule in this manner opens a Pandora’s box.  One could simply replace the “get married” with anything they like and the Golden Rule would apply (I wouldn’t want someone to tell me not to sell drugs to kids, so I don’t think drug trafficking should be illegal). I’m sure that President is a bright guy, but this line of “logic” is obviously absurd.

Where the Golden Rule does apply is in how we deal with those who are homosexual and support gay marriage.  We are to treat them with the same respect that we would want to be treated.  We would share a kind word with them in the same manner that we would like to have others share with us.  We would help them when they need help, be there for them when they need it…the list goes on.  Part of this includes loving them enough to tell them when they are doing something wrong.  This would be similar to a loving parent telling their child that what they are doing is wrong and they will get hurt if they continue to do it.

You see, it takes no love at all to condemn someone through silence or endorsement of something that is not good for them.  In the same way that silence can kill someone who is addicted to drugs, an open endorsement of something that is clearly wrong and sinful can be emotionally, physically and spiritually destructive.  That takes absolute love and the absolute application of the Golden Rule to tell someone that their choices are putting them in danger (see the Omega Study for empirical evidence as to why we are calling homosexuality and same-sex marriage “dangerous” – and that’s even ignoring the spiritual aspects of the issue).  The application of the Golden Rule here:  I would want/expect my friends and loved ones to tell me when I am doing something wrong, thus I would tell my friends and loved ones when they are doing something wrong.  The key here is to do it in a way that is loving and caring.  In this context a Christian who says to a homosexual, “I love you and I want what’s best for you… The lifestyle you have chosen is patently dangerous and because what you are doing goes directly against the Word of God, it is a sin…” demonstrates more love for that individual than the person who says “Do whatever makes you feel good…it’s all okay.”  The ability to stand in front of someone and state the truth is pure love and is the ultimate application of the Golden Rule.

We are not saying definitively that President Obama has rejected the Christian faith in its entirety – Whether the President is an evangelical Christian is a discussion for another time.  Specifically, in this post, we are simply pointing out that the logic behind his use of scripture as justification for affirming same-sex marriage is ignorant and misguidedly faulty at best and dangerously deceitful and manipulative at worst.

A detective who ignores evidence…is not much of a detective


So I have been studying the wonderful topic of hermeneutics.  If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry, I am sure you are not alone.  If you have been reading our blog for a while, we have talked briefly about hermeneutics.  Stated simply hermeneutics is the study of the Bible.  Sure a textbook definition would be much lengthier, but this will work for now.  So I came across a topic while reading that I thought was interesting. You see, there are several wrongs ways of studying the Bible.  One of the more common wrong  ways  of interpreting the bible is called the selective evidence fallacy.  This fallacy occurs when we cite just the evidence that supports our favored interpretation or when we dismiss evidence that seems to argue against our view.  An analogy, imagine a detective going into a crime scene.  He dismisses the finger prints that clearly point to the person that did it, because he decided as he approached the scene that someone else did it.

The above example is something we hear of on several occasions.  Each time we hear about we are outraged that someone would do that.  The odd thing is that most people offer no outrage when people use this same approach when interpreting the Bible.

Take the book of Job for example.  Let me know show you selective evidence in practice from Kenneth Copeland.  This can be found at the following link:  http://www.kcm.org/real-help/article/acting-fear-look-jobs-life

We all know the Copeland has a favored interpretation that the book of Job has to fit into.  This would be an interpretation that would have to include the use of faith in some fashion.

The first point that Copeland makes:  The sacrifices that Job made were supposed to have only been once.  Since he did it multiple times, Job sacrificed in unbelief.  As a result, the thing he feared came upon him.

Here Copeland needs to find a way to blame Job for his misfortune.  The fundamental premise here is the Job no longer walked in faith, and as a result of this HE brought down this judgement on himself.  The reality is that there was nothing wrong with what Job was doing.  In fact the Bible mentions nothing about Jobs unbelief, rather we see God commending Job at the beginning.  As for the sacrifices… The author specifically mentions that this was his custom.  Another thing the Bible says is the Job was BLAMELESS, and UPRIGHT.  Initial Evidence here indicates that if Job was upright and blameless, and his sacrificing, must have been as well.  Remember it was his custom, something he regulary did.  If what Job was doing was wrong, would he be upright and blameless?  Probably not.  In order for Copelands theology to hold he must insert or read into some of the things in the Bible.  There is nothing in the beginning of Job which indicates that Job’s sacrifice is wrong.  Further more there is nothing to indicate that Job’s sacrifice was due to unbelief or a lack of faith.

The second point Copeland makes:  Job was not aware of a personal Devil.  Instead, Job believed that God was the reason for what happens to him.

Here Copeland again must fit the book of Job into his theology.  His theology regarding this is that God has no authority on Earth.  Here Copeland has to look for evidence to support his theology in order for his theology to hold true.  The book of Job however tells a different story.  Again, we see at the beginning of Job where God allows Satan to do things to Job to test his faith.  Copeland ignores key evidence at the beginning of the book where God grants authority for Satan to hurt Job in a test of his faith (Job 1:6 – 12 and Job 2:1 – 6), and where God explains how he is the Creator of everything (Job 38 – 42).  This evidence in the Book of Job is contrary to the evidence that Copeland submits (or lack of evidence).

The book of Job is an illustration of God’s authority on Earth.  This very point is contrary to Copelands theology which denies God’s authority on earth.  This is a perfect example of the selective evidence fallacy.

Can 2+2 = 4 and 5?


Is this really possible?

Really, we all know this is a rhetorical question.  We all know that 2+2 cannot equal 4 and 5.  It has to be one or the other, it cannot be both.  This principle can be found all over and really should be considered as solid as the law of gravity.  What I am talking about is the law of non-contradiction.  Simply stated an answer can be one thing and not another.  An apple cannot be an apple and an orange.  An oreo cookie cannot be a oreo, and a chips ahoy.  This is something that very few would take the time to argue.  However, when it comes to the Bible many people willingly accept the premise that it can be interpreted in a number of different ways.  Furthermore they accept that it is okay, and that those different interpretations should be acceptable…the phrase “we are all Christians” comes to mind.   However, this simply cannot be the case as it would break the law of non-contradiction.

A couple of points from the Bible.

Mark 11:23 has only one meaning.  Either Jesus is saying that we literally have the power and authority to make a physical mountain actually change locations, or Jesus was proving a point in a non-literal way.

Jesus is either God (part of the trinity), or He is not.

God is either King and Lord of this world, or He is not.

There is no middle ground. The point that I am trying to make is this, there are a number of church’s and religions that preach a different gospel, a different Jesus, and a different God from the one held to  in orthodoxy.  One of us is wrong, and the other is right.  The differences are so
vast, that there is no middle ground.

Trying to discern which is true can be a daunting task.  However, we have all been given the Holy Word, and have been given the singular truth.
What I am talking about is a little known word called hermeneutics.  Never heard of it?  Simply put hermeneutics is the study of
interpretation.  It is understanding the context of what you read in the Bible.  By context I mean using knowledge of the following items to determine what God is actually trying to say: who did God use to write it, who did they write it to, why did they write, what is the historical perspective and what light does other scripture (especially the surrounding scripture) shed on the passage.

The first thing you have to remember is that the Bible (though inspired by the Holy Spirit) was written down by men.  This is important to know as you read the Bible.  It helps to understand that Romans, was recorded by a real man named Paul…who had some of the same frustrations that you and I have, who got sick, experienced pain, and disappointment very much like we do. These things are reflected in his letters.  It is also important to remember that the letters of the New Testament were directed to a specific audience.  Very much in the same way that you would
write an e-mail to a dear friend, Paul wrote 1 Timothy to Timothy. Much like we’d write a memo or letter to a church, he penned Romans to a group of people in a church in Rome.

As you listen to sermons your radar should always be up to examine what your pastor is saying (cf. Acts 17:11).  Always compare what they are saying about a verse in the Bible with its context.  A good rule of thumb is: if a pastor pulls one line out of a Bible verse to illustrate a point, without adding context, there is a good chance that it has been taken out of context.  This is not 100% guaranteed, but it happens more often than you think (Especially with word of faith preachers).

Be sure that you are examining Scripture for yourself.  First and foremost I highly recommend gaining a better understanding of hermeneutics.
I would recommend a book called “how to read the Bible for all its worth” by Gordon D Fee and Douglas K Stuart.  This is the book I read when I began my journey.

%d bloggers like this: