Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lesson 3.1(cont.) of Bible Interpretation.

This lesson is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.

Rule 3.1 (cont.):  No Prophecy of Scripture is of Any Private Interpretation

Dr. Lowe continued in the notes given to the class:
But what II Peter 1:20—from which our rule is taken—really means is that no verse or portion of Scripture can be given an interpretation which clearly contradicts the meaning of other Scripture, because all has been given by one Perfect Mind, even the Holy Spirit, and therefore cannot be contradictory.


 Revelation 3:14 …the beginning of the creation of God.

This is interpreted by some (Jehovah Witness sect) that Christ was a created being, the first thing that God created.  This is contradictory to the whole fabric of Scripture.  Christ is not creature, but Creator!  Revelation 3:14 is a title of Christ, showing Him to be Head of all creation as He is the Head of the church.

          At this point in our class on New Testament Interpretation, Dr. Lowe had us open our Bibles to that classic passage on the proper method of Bible Study in the second chapter of I Corinthians.  After reading the entire text, Dr. Lowe would make his comments to the class and then dictate the following notes:
          Examine carefully the method of Bible study outlined in I Corinthians 2:10-16.  While unsaved men do not know and cannot know what God has prepared for those who love Him (verse 9), there is clear revelation that God does impart this knowledge; and, moreover, He tells how He does this imparting:

I Corinthians 2:10 “But God hath revealed…unto us by his Spirit…”

We understand what men tell us because we understand the spirit of men: from man we understand only what man can know.  However, as born-again believers we receive the Holy Spirit, and He is not limited to the wisdom of the world (verse 12).

1 Corinthians 2:13 “…comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

What is the most spiritual thing in our possession?  The Bible, of course.  It is not a case of comparing what one man says about the Bible with what another man says.  The believer is to compare Scripture with Scripture!
Here a revealing Greek word is used which is translated for us as COMPARING.  The word is sugkrinō , which denotes (a) to join fitly; to combine, in the sense of combining spiritual things with spiritual; (b) to place together; hence, to judge or discriminate by comparison. [Vine]  In the past recent decades the word DISCRIMINATION has been looked upon with disfavor—consequently we have missed the point so far as Bible Discrimination is concerned.  There are those who would have us “be so loving” that we would accept anything anyone said to us, “in the spirit of love”, and never mind how the Lord is offended by our stupidity!  The believer is to be discriminate: he is expected to discern! Here’s what we mean:
            One man, speaking from a glass house on the west coast says some particular verse means thus and thus…another man from the mid-west (so famous for his “divine healing” that he has built a hospital!) says it means something else, quite different…then the “confectioner,” widely known for his radio/TV program (a Pretentious, thoughtless, loose-doctrine, badly mixed up club) shows so little discernment that he seems to put “every wind of doctrine” into a religiosity- blender and bottle feed all his gullible followers this sugar-sweetened, no-spiritual-calories added diet!—but, woe be to that person dares to even question the validity of their teachings!  Surely the Lord is NOT in any of this undiscerning conglomerate of theological hash!
            And, as the late Dr. O.E. Phillips would say, “if that offends you, you come to me and apologize, and I’ll forgive you!”

            Let the believer beware!  It is not what men say about The Word, but what The Word says about The Word!  Sound, evangelical Bible teachers can help us; for this we are grateful.  But, should any teaching, from any source, cross the grain of The Word itself, beware of the “Spiritual splinters” that may peirce your hands!
          1 Corinthians 2:14 “…spiritually discerned”

          The Holy Spirit in the Word, and The Holy Spirit in the believer gives him spiritual discernment, that is, the ability to make the correct “comparing.

          Beloved Dr. Harry Ironside passed a Russellite {now known as a “Jehovah Witness”} holding forth on a street corner in Los Angeles, and Dr. Ironside saw a man whom he knew had just recently been converted listening intently!  Fearing that one so young in the faith might not know about the insidious teachings of this cult, Dr. Ironside was concerned.  Debating on the best way to approach the brother, he saw him walk away, shaking his head.  This new believer could not discern what was wrong, but the Holy Spirit gave him “spiritual discernment” to know that something was wrong!
          While we must be alert to the need of new Christians when they are challenged by the cults, we must also depend upon the Holy Spirit to give them proper “spiritual discernment”.  Too rapid an approach will often be used by Satan to stir up their curiosity for the “forbidden fruit” of the “appetizing” bait; we must wait on the leading of the Holy Spirit in directing us to speak, while at the same time giving the Holy Spirit opportunity to impart the necessary “discernment” by which to know that they must not “play with” false teaching of any kind!  But let’s not be so cautious that we fail to heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and thus fail to respond is He bids us warn of the dangers of such “thin ice” experience!  Dr. Lowe continued his dictation:

1 Corinthians 2:16 “…the mind of Christ”

          It is not that we are equal with Christ, but that Christ, by the Holy Spirit, has made known His will and Word, not to the unsaved, but to us who have spiritual life in common with Him!
          That phrase, “the mind of Christ” implies the counsels and thoughts of God.  The believer is not to be guided by the rationalistic thinking of his fellow-men, but by the Divine Mind, the “intelligence” of Deity, yea, literally, by the “mind of Christ!”
Philippians 2:5 “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”

          In writing a work of fiction, the author must “live” the part of his various characters: he must think their thoughts, mimic their actions, pursue their individual motives.  The better he does this, the better the novelist writes; and the easier it is for his reader to identify with the characters.  That’s true in imaginative composition—but we are not writing a novel as we live the Christian life.  We are, instead, LIVING A LIFE—and this life we live must be the life the Lord designs to live out through the believer!
          In present day marriage (not particularly Christian marriage—or--should we say?—definitely not in Christian marriage!) the idea is that both parties continue to live their individual lives, and simply unite their personal properties where it seems convenient.  In Christian marriage, the two become “one flesh”—but more than that, they become “one mind”…”one purpose”…”one concept”.  They live together in the framework of “holy matrimony”—and they grown alike in motives and actions, fellowship and love!  This was vividly brought to the attention of the writer, when, as a young man, (in depression days) he took employment with an undertaker.  The very first funeral was that of an elderly gentleman, in the home in which he had lived for sixty years with one wife.  I was struck with similarity of appearance between the widow at the casket and the clay form in the casket.  On returning home, I remarked on this fact to my mother, who stated:  “Why, David, don’t you know that when two people live together for so many years in harmony, they not only get to act alike and think alike, but they even begin to look alike!” No, I didn’t know that then, but I have since that day taken the opportunity to silently scrutinize the faces of many an elderly couple, and have learned to accurately determined those who have lived together in peace and harmony and to make a separate category for those who have merely dwelt together under the same roof!

            Oh, that I might bear HIS resemblance in my every day walk before fellow men!  Would my dear reader be willing to make that his prayer also? AMEN!

No comments:

Post a Comment