Tag Archives: Bible

The Christian Bucket List

This week’s lesson is a simple question for every Christian- What are some things we need to get done here on earth before we meet our Saviour?

INTRO

Recent movies, books, discussions have focused on a “bucket list” for your life- things you want to get done or experience before you die.

 It is not a bad idea- BUT- is there a more important “bucket list”? An ULTIMATE “bucket list”?

 There is a list of things that every believer should want to accomplish before they meet their Savior!

 Today we will talk about a few- there are probably many more!

 What would you put on your Spiritual “bucket list”?

 Remember- Salvation is the MOST important decision in life! Today we are speaking about things for the believer- those who already know the Lord, have been baptized, and are members of a Bible teaching Local New Testament Church.

THE ULTIMATE BUCKET LIST:

1. Have a consistent clean account with the Lord

a. We live our lives in such a way that we immediately confess sin when the Spirit brings it to our attention.

b. Spurgeon said: “keep short accounts with God”.

c. This first item envelopes our entire Christian walk as a whole- to have lived a Godly life as much as is in us!

d. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

2. Complete God’s will for your life

a. We all have a plan for our lives written by an almighty God!

b. What do you feel the Lord calling you to do?

c. Have you made taking steps to fulfill His will for your life a PRIORITY?

d. It’s never too late to start.

e. Matthew 20- workers in the vineyard- started different times but all received same reward.

3. Read God’s Word through in its entirety!

a. This is NOT a race to say you did it in a certain amount of time.

b. Quality time reading and meditating on God’s Word from start to finish.

c. Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

d. Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

e. God’s Word can keep us out of TROUBLE! We must know what it says for it to help us!

4. Have a CONSISTENT personal Prayer and Devotion time every day.

a. The hustle and bustle of life can make this very hard.

b. We must find time to spend with God every day.

c. As the old saying goes- if we are too busy to spend time with God then we are too busy!

d. Make a priority of spending daily time- get up early, stay up late, lunch breaks, driving, whatever it takes to get into a deeper relationship with the Lord.

e. George Mueller- Evangelist, Missionary, worked with Orphans. Read his Bible through over 200 times and half of those were on his knees! He documented over 50,000 specific answers to prayer that were made to God alone and no one else!

5. Actively take a role in your Church- take responsibility and do something!

a. There are SO MANY things that need to be done within a church fellowship! Have you ever helped?

b. It involves your time! But it is so worth the reward.

c. Nursery, Vacation Bible School, Teach a class, Help with a Bible Study, S.O.W. ministry, choir, special music, greeters, ushers, etc.

d. Pray about and commit to a few things that you can do very well. You can’t do it all!

6. Lead someone to Christ

a. Most times, this involves having to pour into someone’s life- getting to know them and developing a trust to share the Gospel.

b. Sometimes it can be a spontaneous moment that the Spirit lays on your heart to immediately approach and present someone with the Gospel.

c. In any case- are YOU willing to step out in Faith to do this?

d. Remember we have a command to share the Good News.

e. Start by giving out tracts, leave for waitress, gas pumps, store clerks, etc.

f. Look for ways to develop deeper friendships with neighbors, co-workers, etc.

7. See your entire immediate family come to Christ.

a. Every one of us should desire to see our kids, spouses, parents, siblings come to know Christ before they or we come before the Lord!

b. What active steps are we taking to help proclaim God’s love and redemption to them?

c. Our kids- are we taking every chance we get to reinforce God’s PERSONAL offer of salvation that they must decide for themselves? Start when they are born praying for them to know Christ early in their life!

d. Claim God’s Word- pray for salvation for the souls of your family.

e. Reminder- don’t do, say, or live in a way that detracts from the Holy Spirit working in their life!

f. Live a testimony that shows them an authentic, changed, joyful, and peaceful person!

8. Suffer for Christ

a. This comes in many different ways.

b. Be willing to suffer shame, mocking, berating for a stand we take for Christ and His Word.

c. Is there ever a time that we have given up something great that would have been ours yet it violated Scripture OR we were led by the Spirit to not accept and we refused?

d. Sometimes it involves getting out of our comfort zone- taking a BOLD stand! (Life Chain)

e. 2 Titus 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

9. Be a CONSISTENT tither to the Lord’s work

a. How many unnecessary bills have been paid with God’s money? (remember it’s ALL God’s!!!)

b. How many vacations, boats, cars, jewelry, guns, etc. have been purchased with money that should have been tithed to the Lord?

c. There is no justification for not tithing! There is NOTHING we can use as an excuse.

d. It’s stealing from the God who allows us to have everything we do right now!

e. Are we so UNTHANKFUL and UNGRATEFUL and UNTRUSTING that we can’t trust God to supply our needs if we give Him the small amount He asks?

f. Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

g. My family has seen this over and over and over again. God is true to His word.

10. Personally get involved with Missions

a. Participate in a short or long term mission if at all possible. (even if it is after we retire!)

b. Consider taking a vacation to serve if possible!

c. There are local and long distance missions- find something that you can do.

d. Don’t forget children’s homes, homeless shelters, soup kitchens- they all have hurting people!

e. Write letters, pray, call, email, encourage our missionaries.

f. Take time to get to know them personally.

g. Stop by and read the bulletin board each month – so you know how to pray.

h. Take note of the missionary spot light- use that as a weekly prayer tool.

i. Don’t forget our missions table in the back of the sanctuary!

j. Financially take a part in supporting Missions.

k. Take the PRIVILEGE of feeding or hosting a missionary when in town!

l. I have some project ideas for 2016 for our class! Stay tuned!

11. Be Physically, Mentally, and Financially Healthy- these SUPPORT a good testimony to the world!

a. We know it’s the temple of the Lord- we should do more to take care of it.

b. 1 Timothy 4:8 “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having provise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

c. Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

d. I think there is balance between these two verses.

e. There are so many benefits to healthy living- we should take time to do our best to make wise decisions in our nutrition and exercise.

f. Mentally we should desire to be healthy, not stressed, panicked, etc.

g. Remember to cast our care upon the Lord- trust in Him for direction.

h. A personal goal of us all should to NOT leave debt for our kids.

i. We should also desire to live debt free in order to better support God’s Work.

j. We should have an emergency financial plan. More to come next year on that.

k. Be a faithful steward.

l. Set goals and PRAY and DO! We have to do our part if we trust God to do His.

12. See MIGHTY answer to prayer!

a. We are talking MIRACLES here!

b. We should have great answers to prayer that have no explanation other than “God did”!

c. Look for ways to pray in faith for God to show His mighty Hand so that we can give Him the glory and honor!

d. Use our triumphs as testimony to an almighty God.

e. I am cancer free today! That is a wonderful testimony to a God that answers prayer!

f. Daniel 11:32 “…ut the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”

g. Matthew 19:26 “…ith men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

h. Psalm 81:10 “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

i. Keepiing a journal/prayer journal is a great way to remember what God has done for you when you are going through tough times.

13. Practice Sacrificial giving

a. Look to the Lord’s guidance on this and be willing to obey.

b. Important to be honest to your debts and not use bill money for something UNLESS you have clear leading from the Lord to do so. (A bad testimony to never pay bills but be seen putting extra money into church and other needs)

c. Reminder that if you aren’t tithing, then this really doesn’t apply to you because you need to honor God with that first!

d. Have you ever given up vacation, rainy day money, etc. to fill a need God placed on your heart?

e. The poor seems to be better at this than we are- they will share food when they don’t have it, money when they don’t have it, etc.

f. If you really want it to be sacrificial- there may be times when it is ANONYMOUS.

g. Remember whatever we do- do it with JOY!

14. Establish a Legacy

a. What heritage are we leaving our children? Grandchildren? Greatgrandchildren?

b. Proverbs 22:28 “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”

c. Will it be said of us- He/She followed Christ? He/She was faithful?

d. Will our church family miss us when we are gone? Will there be a hole to fill?

e. Be a compassionate and dependable Friend

i. Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

ii. Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

iii. Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…

iv. Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

f. Be a stellar spouse

i. Song of Solomon 4:10-11 “How fair is thy love…my spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips…rop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.”

ii. WOW! The spouse has great love, smells good, is affectionate, has kind words, and has clean clothes!

iii. Are we guilty of trying to look good for everyone else but our spouse? Do they get 2nd best because we are so tired of having to impress everyone else?

iv. Proverbs 18:22 “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.”

v. Proverbs 19:14 “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

vi. Proverbs 12:4 “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

vii. Proverbs 31 woman! Prov 31:11 “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…

viii. Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

g. Be a wise parent

i. This only comes through being grounded in God’s Word and raising kids God’s way.

ii. Proverbs 5:7 “Here me now therefore, o ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.”

iii. Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.”

h. Be a responsible child

i. Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” There is no age limit mentioned here!

ii. Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” Again… No age limit mentioned here!

iii. I Timothy 5:4 “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to REQUITE their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.”

iv. We should care for our parents- no matter what they have done to us, no matter what we have to sacrifice- it is our duty to the very best of our ability to see they are cared for.

The Christian’s Bucket List…

???What else would you put on your list?

???What things do you need to work on?

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Knowing God’s Will For Your Life – Part 1

Introduction:

In order to study this topic and get the most out of it, it is very important that we realize from the start 4 simple truths that God’s Word plainly teaches:

1. Truth #1- God does have a will for each of our lives.

a. Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”

i. There is a divine predestination for our lives! (Ordered: “koon” 3559 “to set up, erect, prepare, provide, to establish)

ii. There is a divine delight in following God’s will! God delights in us following His will and yet we will be delighted by following God’s will as well because we are in fellowship with Him!

iii. There is divine support when we follow God’s will. (Upholdeth: “sawmack” 5564 “take hold of, bear up, stand fast”)

b. Saying- “The steps and the stops of a good man are ordered by the Lord”

2. Truth #2- God’s will is GOOD for us!

a. Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

b. God knows what is best for our lives. There is no better Captain to chart our course.

3. Truth #3- God wants us to KNOW his will!

a. Ephesians 5:17 “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

b. God says that it is the wise man that knows what the will of the Lord is. SO- He must make it known if He tells us to understand His will!

c. He does not wish to hide His will from us.

4. Truth #4- We can ENJOY God’s will!

a. Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”

b. God’s will is not “runner up” to a successful life that we think we could have had- it’s THE life that He has ordained for us.

c. Even in the midst of trials, persecutions, and set backs- if we are in God’s Will we can find peace and joy in the fact that we are doing business for the king!

SO WHY DO WE NEED GOD’S GUIDANCE IN OUR LIVES?

A. God knows our NATURE as no one else does.

a. Psalm 139:1-4 lists 5 things that God knows about us. “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.”

b. He knows our (1)downsitting; (2)uprising; (3)thoughts; (4)ways; and (5)words

c. God knows the most extreme mundane things about us all the way to the most secretive tucked away Dungeness corners of our hearts. There is absolutely nothing hid to Him.

B. God knows our FUTURE as no one else does.

a. Isaiah 46:10 “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet…”

b. God is not bound by time – He sees it all simultaneous. We can trust Him!

c. He sees the ups and downs, the trials and triumphs. Trust Him to prepare us!

C. God has a PURPOSE for each of us as no one else has!

a. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee…”

b. John 15:16 states that God has chosen us and ordained us to bear fruit for Him.

c. Psalm 139:17-18 “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

d. What a great message that God THINKS about us! We are not just an accident, not just a random evolutionary mistake. We are made in the image of God and made with a purpose!

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE WILL OF GOD

A. Mistake #1: “God’s will is hidden”

a. Terminology confuses young Christians. “I’ve found God’s will” can sound like God hides it and we have to look for it to find it.

b. These phrases simply mean that as we mature in our walk with God and are open to the Spirit’s leading, we can more clearly see the will of God.

B. Mistake #2: “Well, this is something I really want to do, so it can’t possibly be God’s will.”

a. Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

b. As we sincerely seek the Lord, His will and our desires begin to merge together. Our desires are replaced with “God-centered” desires.

c. God’s will is not “second best” or undesirable! It is BEST!

C. Mistake #3: “I haven’t gotten a definite answer yet for every part of this problem, so I’m not going to do anything.”

a. We can’t sit in fear and not move forward in life to serve Christ!

b. We must earnestly seek God’s leading and step out in faith.

c. If He loved us enough to die for us, He isn’t going to play games with our life!

D. Mistake #4: “Well, Lord, I’ve decided that the best way I can serve you is…”

a. We shouldn’t plan our life without God and then try to force Him to approve it!

b. You can’t compromise with God! “I’ll make a lot of money and give it to You”

E. Mistake #5: “I’ve disobeyed the Lord. I missed His will sometime ago, and now I’m doomed to “second best”.

a. Look at Peter! (Rebuked God, Denied Christ 3 times, cursed, etc! YET he was used GREATLY in the Lord’s service!) There is always hope for us.

b. Look at Paul! I Timothy 1:13 “…who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy…” God can use us in spite of our past! Don’t think you are trash!!!!!

HOW TO MISS GOD’S WILL

A. So what if we absolutely can’t discern God’s will for our lives?

a. We must acknowledge we might have hidden sins that need to be confessed.

b. We must acknowledge our walk with the Lord may not be what it needs to be.

B. Let’s look at James Chapter 4 and some possible areas we may need to consider:

a. Following sensual desires. James 4:1 “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that WAR IN YOUR MEMBERS?” LUST

b. Putting yourself first. James 4:2 “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

c. Praying with the wrong motive. James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

d. Choosing the wrong friends. James 4:4 “…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoseoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

e. Failing to confess known sin. James 4:8 “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

f. Refusing to be humble. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

g. Prideful heart. James 4:13-17 “…For what is your life?…ye rejoice in your boastings…therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

C. If we have active sin in our life we MUST confess it and get “in tune” with God so that we are able to discern the Spirit’s leading in our life!

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Missions – For Everyone!

We are having a Missions Conference at our church this week.  As I have listened to the messages, the missionaries, the programs, one thing has been made very evident to me.  Missions is not just a few people being called to go with the Gospel.  Missions is a command placed on every believer by God!  Our part in missions is certainly varied, yet all are called to help disperse God’s wonderful plan of Salvation across the Globe.  As one speaker put it so plainly last night- there are 3 responses to the call of missions on the Believer’s life:  (1)You can GO! If you can’t go, then (2)You can help SEND!  And sadly, if you don’t do either of these, then (3)You can live in disobedience to God’s Word.  So what part are you willing to play in the call?

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The Literal Method of Interpretation

The Literal Method of Interpretation

            The Literal method of interpretation stands in direct opposition of the Allegorical method discussed in the previous study.  The Literal method of interpretation is defined by Pentecost as “that method that gives to each word the same exact basic meaning it would have in a normal, ordinary, customary usage, whether employed in writing, speaking, or thinking.” (Pentecost, 1974)  In short, this could be stated in the more simple idea that God meant exactly what He wrote.  There is no need for trying to decipher words or phrases in search of some “deeper meaning”.  The Literal method also employs using both the grammatical and historical considerations of the passage, which helps to bring writing from antiquity into a more understandable meaning today as it also accounts for customs and practices of that time period. (Pentecost, 1974)

It is noted by Ramm that Ezra is considered to be the first of the Jewish Interpreters and therefore the first instance of using Biblical hermeneutics. (Ramm, 1970)  As this method moves throughout history, the key component of its practice is that the interpreters continue to use the Word of God as the Authority for interpretation and that interpretation is based in a literal rendering of the passage.  Some of the key rules developed during these periods in history are still in use today.  Ramm points out that these include:  (i)Words must be understood in terms of the sentence , and a sentence in terms of its context. (ii) Scriptures dealing with similar topics should be compared to relieve apparent contradictions. (iii) Clear passages should be given preference over one less evident if both are dealing with the same subject matter. (iv) Very close attention should be paid to spelling, grammar, and figures of speech.  (v) Logic can be used to determine the application of Scripture to problems in life not specifically treated, and (vi) God has chosen to speak in the tongue of man so that he can understand it.  (Ramm, 1970)

There would continue to be schools of Allegorists to emerge during this same time and would be in direct opposition to the Literal approach but much support can be given for the Literal method.  Some of these included by Pentecost are:  (i) The literal meaning of sentences if used as the normal approach for all languages. (ii) Any secondary meanings found in the passage are dependent upon the previous literal meaning of the terms. (iii) The majority of Scripture makes adequate sense when interpreted literally.  (iv) The literal approach maintains room for figures of speech, symbols, allegories, and types when the nature of the passage demands so.  (v) The literal approach is the only approach that offers a way to check and confirm the interpretation. (vi) This approach clearly fits with the nature of Inspiration of Scripture. (Pentecost, 1974)  One point to re-emphasize is the fact that the Literal method does allow for figurative speech.  When figurative speech occurs in the Scripture, the Bible student realizes that the purpose of the figurative speech is to reveal a literal truth but never at the cost of destroying the literal truth that is intended in the Scripture. (Pentecost, 1974)

The Literal approach is certainly not without its objectors.  Three objections are brought out by Pentecost concerning this approach:  (i) The Bible contains figures of speech. (ii) God is a spirit and therefore the teachings of Scripture are Spiritual in nature and are taught with earthly objects and human relationships. (iii) The Old Testament holds deeper meaning in its words than what they appear to literally contain. (Pentecost, 1974)  How is the Bible student to answer the critics on these objections?  Is there merit for these complaints of the Literal method?  In answer to the appearance of the figures of speech found in Scripture, it has already been shown that both the literal method and figures of speech can easily co-exist within the boundaries of sound hermeneutical practice as long as the Bible student realizes that the figures of speech are there to reveal a literal truth.  The student must remember that the Literal method includes the historical characteristics as well, which include figures of speech possibly found and known to the people of the period.  For example, all throughout Scripture the Lord is referred to as the “Shepherd”.  The Bible student clearly understands that the Lord is not a physical Shepherd in the sense of having sheep, a sheepfold, pasture, etc.  The figure of speech however is used to express the great and marvelous fact that the Lord very much has the duties and characteristics of a Shepherd towards His people.  No harm is done with the fact that this “picture” is used to teach the literal truth of God’s provision and protection for His children.  Literal methods of interpretation and figures of speech can be used in harmony.

The second attack on the Literal method employs the idea that, because God is a Spirit, there is no “tangible” teaching of literal things to be drawn out of Scripture.  There is merely “ideas” and “life mottos” that one can take and use to commune with God on a Spiritual plane.  God simply used earthly objects and human relationships understandable by carnal man to present Spiritual teaching.  This idea would be used to support the heretical Allegorical approach.  Things such as the Garden of Eden, The Flood, even Satan himself are “stories” to present a humanistic lesson to mankind.  This could not be further from the truth!  God, though existing in Spirit, very much longs for His creation to know Him and to know His Word.  It is not a Book of suggestions and ideas, but is a Living Book that is overflowing with literal truth for the Christian.  It is the Literal accounts of Biblical lives of God’s people and truths given to mankind inspired by the Spirit.  Sin is real.  The penalty for sin is real.  A real Hell awaits for all those who die without Christ.  What a sad account it would be if that is where it ended!  There is also the fact that Christ and His Sacrifice is real!  Salvation through His shed blood is real!  Heaven and the future Kingdom and new Heavens and Earth are real!  The idea of “spiritual” ideas and philosophies without tangible truths is totally unfounded.

           The last argument deals with the idea that there is more in the Old Testament that meets the eye.  Lessons and truths brought forth in the Old Testament and discussed in the New Testament seem to perhaps go deeper than realized at first glance.  Interpreters then use this idea to allegorize Scripture.  When the Bible student truly studies this relationship, however, the conclusion is arrived that shows the New Testament truths of the Old Testament are brought about through literal fulfillment.  Types are many times used in the New Testament to refer back to the Old Testament, yet this is not allegorization.  Just as with figures of speech, types are used to represent and teach a literal truth that can be used by the believer.  God has perfectly chosen the components of Scripture for mankind.  Its truths are real.  The Literal interpretive approach is the only vehicle through which the Bible student can arrive confidently at the intent and teaching of Scripture.

Bibliography

Pentecost, D. J. (1974). Things To Come. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Ramm, B. (1970). Protestant Biblical Interpretation. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Cushing-Malloy, Inc.

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The Dangers of Misusing Allegorical Interpretation

The Dangers of Misusing Allegorical Interpretation

            The proper interpretation of Scripture is crucial to the Bible student if he wishes to correctly know and apply Biblical knowledge to his life.  It is no different than attempting to read a road map with a distorted view or complete misunderstanding of which highways lead to the destination one needs.  If the wrong highway is chosen, then the destination could be missed by blocks or by thousands of miles.  In either case, the person fails to reach the destination.  It doesn’t matter how much they trusted in the map because, although the information was placed there correctly by the original writer, misuse and ignorance of proper utilization by the map user negated the true facts and caused him to err in his travel.  Such is a simple example of Biblical Interpretation.  When one fails to use the Literal Interpretation of Scripture and trusts in Allegorical “suggestions”, there is no end to the number of destinations one will arrive at.  One thing remains certain, however:  among all the many directions Allegorical Interpretation can take the Bible student, it will never deliver them to the true destination of correct Biblical Exegesis of Scripture.

Allegorical Interpretation can be defined as “the method of interpreting a literary text that regards the literary sense as the vehicle for a secondary, more spiritual and more profound sense.” (Ramm, 1970)  A simple paraphrase of this definition could be stated:  “read between the lines”.  Its belief is that the words are simply the method of delivery to the reader and its underlying tones and unwritten meaning must be gleaned by “experienced scholars” and delivered to the layman.  This lie has been propagated for thousands of years by Roman Catholicism who have taught its people that only the “church” can truly read and understand what Holy Scripture says and therefore must be the “voice of God” and the only one to distribute “knowledge” to the people.  This has created untold wars throughout history, but sadder is the fact that it has sent untold millions to an eternity of damnation.

The Bible student would do well to understand that, according to Pentecost, there are three real dangers associated with Allegorical Interpretation of Scripture. (Pentecost, 1974)  These are not mere “grey areas” of argument and debate but are indeed core problems with the very root of this Interpretive System.   The first danger associated with Allegorical Interpretation is that it does not interpret Scripture.  This makes it very easy for the interpreter to make very broad and even abominable uses of God’s Word.  It leaves the area of passage interpretation open to much speculation.  An account such as the Creation Story found in Genesis 1 is held by true Bible Students of the Literal Interpretative method as the documentation of the actual events involving actual people in history past.  Because of this, the student realizes the origin of sin in mankind, the reason for the depravity of man up until this time in history, and the future judgment as well as redemption that awaits different groups of people.  Not so with the Allegorical approach.  Much speculation and “fairy tale” characteristics are attributed to this account under that system.  God’s powerful and mighty Word is reduced to nothing more than a “bedtime story” for children that speaks of “make believe” events that help the reader to understand good and evil on earth, thereby rendering the transforming power of the Word as “none effect” in the heart of the unregenerate.

The second danger seen in the Allegorical Interpretative approach to Scripture is that it moves the Authority of Scriptures from the Word itself to mankind.  This is perhaps the most dangerous error of the three in that it takes God’s Sovereign and Omniscient power as Creator and delegates it to a product of His creation:  man.  There is the absence of the believer being “illuminated” by the Spirit as he reads the Scriptures in humble and authentic thirst for the Word and is replaced by total dependence upon a man and his view of the passage.  Intense study and prayer in search of Biblical meaning has been replaced by “soaking up” another man’s unfounded beliefs and opinions.  The student is easily led down the path of heresy because of the lack of personal diligence and labor in the pages of God’s Word.  His sword is “dull” so to speak, and he is simply unable to rightly divide the Word of Truth in this setting.  This has been seen throughout history with the endless number of Cults who have mislead countless numbers of people away from God’s true Word to that of manmade religion and idolatry.

The third danger of using Allegorical approach to Interpreting Scripture is simply that there is no way to test the conclusions of the Interpreter.  Without solid Literal Interpretation and a clear “black and white” approach to the passage, there is no way for the Bible student to reproduce the same meaning or message of the text in question.  It is opinion.  Just as in Science, if there is no way to repeatedly glean the same meaning from the experiment, then there is no way to fully rest in the satisfaction and security of its contents.  Allegorical Interpretation stands guilty of this practice time and time again.  Once again, its unfounded beliefs and practices have been used throughout history to twist and pervert God’s Word offering alternate views of the Gospel and of even sin itself.

The Allegorical approach to Scripture is a very dangerous practice.  Its conclusions are the attempts of man to create a Utopia on Earth and be “co-laborers” with God in the Redemptive process of mankind.  Its teachings lead people in spiritual darkness and in the end can deliver their souls to an eternity of hell and damnation.  The Allegorical approach to Scripture must at all costs be avoided by the Bible student seeking to know the truth.

Bibliography

Pentecost, D. J. (1974). Things To Come. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Ramm, B. (1970). Protestant Biblical Interpretation. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Cushing-Malloy, Inc.

 

 

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Hermeneutics and Its Critical Role to Biblical Interpretation

Hermeneutics and Its Critical Role To Biblical Interpretation

            The task of interpreting what the world views as the “antiquated literature” of Scripture has been one of special challenges down through the centuries.  Unlike other written works, however, man’s eternal soul and fate rests on its correct translation and application.  For this reason, a thorough understanding and working knowledge of Hermeneutics is an absolutely necessary tool for the Bible student.  Hermeneutics is simply defined as the science and art of Biblical interpretation.  While its definition may be simple, it correct use and application is something of a weightier matter.

The study of Hermeneutics accomplishes many things for the Bible student, of which the most important is without question to rightly understand what God has said to mankind in His Holy Word.  An improper or absent use of a hermeneutical principle can yield something as small as an ignorant idea to as something as serious as an occult teaching.  Another useful benefit of correct hermeneutical practice is that it helps the Bible student to better understand what the Biblical writers actually penned.  Whether it be a language, culture, geographical, or religious barrier, Hermeneutics helps to clear the picture of the past and translate the true meaning into the “thought” or “language” of today.

There are two basic approaches to the interpretation of Scripture:  Literal and Allegorical.  It is how one views these approaches that ultimately shapes his Biblical doctrine and Eschatological beliefs.  For example, if one approaches Scripture with the Literal approach, he would expect the Book of Revelation to describe events yet still in the future- including a thousand year reign on Earth by Christ Himself upon the throne of David.  The Literal approach takes God literally when it is possible to do so.  Literal interpretation takes God’s message delivered to the Writers and trusts exactly what has been penned down to have occurred or to occur exactly as it has been recorded.  There is little room for compromise or alternative definitions when the Bible student takes this approach.  The logical conclusion of Literal interpretation, therefore, is that the Bible student will come away from the study of the Scripture with a very definite and clearly defined view of the passage.  When the Bible student taking a Literal interpretative approach reads:  “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire,” it is with clear understanding that it is realized that a devastating and physical future judgment awaits those who reject Christ.  (Revelation 20:15, KJV) 1

In sharp contrast to the Literal interpretation of Scripture, the Allegorical interpretation leaves much room for misinterpretation and even gross misuse of Scripture.  The Allegorical method would move away from a “statement” that the Scripture is teaching to more of a global “idea” of the passage.  Literal words and sayings become nothing more than “pictures” and “symbols” used to support the view of the one doing the Interpretation.  Because of this, the logical conclusion of using this method of interpretation of Scripture can be summed up in one word:  chaos.  The Bible student who employs this approach to his studies does nothing more than put his faith in what or whom he is learning from.  Sadly this approach has been used to condone homosexuality, polygamy, drinking, and other Sociological problems of today.  It has also robbed the Bible student of the “blessed hope” of the future Rapture and Millennial Kingdom as this approach commonly denies the two events.  This approach commonly takes the Bible student from relying on the Holy Spirit for illumination of Scripture in personal study to a dependency upon “scholars” who claim to know how to interpret the sayings of old.  It is a means of Interpretation best left in the waste can of liberal teachers from which it originated.

Endnotes

1All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Bible version, Royal, 1971.

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