We attended a service where we discussed getting rid of much of the Bible Study material people use today, and focusing on the Bible itself. Our daughter attended a Sunday school where she was very disappointed by the lesson.
“A lot of what he said was loosely based on Scriptures (few biblical references) but when I brought up, ‘but Scriptures say,’ he would respond [with] something along the lines of, ‘Well, that’s true but that doesn’t apply to what I’m talking about,’ and kept putting down my translation, saying its too confusing. He keeps challenging us to go out [to evangelize] but … ” She went on to say that he implied that requiring people to do things that seem necessary for Christian growth is legalism.
Sadly, this is the majority position of those who claim to be believers. They teach the “little flock” in churches, and reaching large numbers has for these preachers and teachers taken the place of faithfulness to the Word of God. It doesn’t matter if the church is small, large, traditional or liberal. The trend seems to be universal across the country. “Doing whatever is necessary” to reach people is more important than holding fast to the truth you are supposed to be reaching them with.
The “wolves in sheep’s clothing” mentioned in the title are the people who want to pick and chose what to believe and what to teach about what the Bible says. They are also the people who study commentaries, spiritual self-help books, and other so-called Christian growth works to the point where they hardly study the Bible itself, or teach it in the churches, anymore.
The speaker we listened to this morning chose 1 Thessalonians 5, concerning the coming of the Lord, as his text. He had a very clear position on it. Yet, in the last few days I (Michael) have had several discussions on Facebook. What does the Bible teach about the future? What is the second death? Who is the antichrist? What does the return of the Lord mean? We have also discussed the more immediate concern of who, according to principles based in Scripture, to vote for to be president.
Many people pointed out that the Scriptures mean what they say, and to take them at face value. The complaints against that position boiled down to, “I don’t want to believe that.” It’s an issue of the will, not the understanding of the words.
Allegorical interpretations of the Scripture go back to Philo and Origen.
Nothing we study should take the place of the Bible. No authority should take the place of the Scriptures; not a pastor, not a priest, not any traditions. We should not love a family member above God’s truth. Nothing should detract from glorifying God. We should not let anyone tell us parts of the Bible should be ignored. We don’t get to pick and chose what is authoritative.
When do you stop judging the Bible and let the Bible judge you?