I was discussing something with a family member and they said ‘You just can’t interpret the Bible literally because so many people argue over what the literal interpretation of that verse is.’ He makes a good point. In what way should we go about finding the ‘literal’ interpretation of a verse? And another question, when do we know when to not interpret a passage of Scripture literally?
I am trying to understand what gives the appearance of conflicts in the Scripture. First and foremost, I am NOT questioning the infallible Word of God. In Exodus 33:20, we are told that no one can see the face of God and live. In John 1:18, Jesus reminds us that “no man has seen the face of God.” Yet in Genesis 3:8-12, we read that “the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God….” In the following verses, God conversed with the man and then his wife. In Genesis 3:20, the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. Didn’t Adam and his wife see the Lord God at these times?
Question–Eph.5:18, says “Do not get drunk on wine which leads to debauchery” and there are at least 10 or 12 more references on this topic. I was taught that consuming alcohol was a sin. I don’t think there is a reference to directly support this but the Bible does discourage this practice. As a medical practitioner I have witnessed the terrible consequences of drinking to excess, and therefore do not participate in this practice.
I am troubled by the condoning of drinking by many pastors almost to the point of encouraging this practice! They will point to the fact that Jesus must have supported this because he made water into wine! However, there are even some Bible teaching pastors that are alcoholics.
I know that when God made a covenant with Abraham, he was defining his descendants as a people set apart for Himself (the Jews). I believe that it was through the Jews that God would reach the rest of the world, first by using His relationship with them to be a witness of His love, then ultimately through our Beloved Saviour Jesus Christ.
If the law in the form of the commandments had not yet been given, how did the people at that time know what was sin? It is written that faith alone can please God and this is why Abraham is named ‘the father of faith’, but what was the fate of the those who didn’t know God and didn’t have the law to point them in the right direction? Also, were Abraham’s descendants – up to, including and beyond the time of Moses – aware that the only way to Heaven was through the Messiah and was this awareness due to the fact that they knew they were a chosen people?
Thank you in advance – it truly is a blessing to be able to ask you these things!
How do you interpret the parable of the sower in view of your stance on OSAS. Would you suggest that the seed that fell on rocky ground equates to those who do not receive the word and therefore are not saved? But what then of those who fall away in the heat of testing, and the ones whose growth is choked by the cares and worries of this life? Are they “Saved” in the first place? Or would you say that they never really received the word in the first place?
A quick question: in at least two of your studies you have used the expression “Let’s get mystical”. And in the study about the first miracle of Jesus, you go as far as saying that John (the apostle) was a mystic. Can you clarify this for me? I’ve always been under the impression that I should consider mysticism something wrong in the eyes of God, although I must admit I do not know a great deal about it.
I am currently researching the question if the Kingdom of Heaven and the Church are one and the same. Most Commentaries I read say so. Somehow this does not gel with me.
Reading Daniel 2:43-44 it appears to me that the things revealed to him are incredibly precise up to the first coming of Christ. Then the vision appears to leap to the time of the end. “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom…”
Could it be that the terrible beast, the fourth empire, encompasses all the time and empires from Rome on until today, peaking in the ‘Anti-Christ’s’ empire. If so, then the Kingdom of Heaven would be set up when Christ comes to destroy this last chapter of the great and terrible beast.
If this scenario has any validity then the Church can not be the Kingdom, for the Kingdom of Heaven has not as yet arrived on earth, and the ‘kingdom’ parables in Matthew 13 do not address the Church directly, although some of the lessons learned from them apply also to the Church. Can you please shed light on this?
Why did the apostles choose to suffer a martyrs death? If Christ died once and for all for our sins, and bore all the suffering of mankind, why did they feel the need to be martyred? They were the closest to Christ, so shouldn’t they have best understood Christ’s message of “it is finished”? I don’t understand why they didn’t preach in hiding like what takes place in Muslim and communist countries today. It sounds like they believed in redemptive suffering- a Catholic concept.
I enjoy reading your extensive bible studies and use them as a study tool. Because I am human, some areas I have pause, but in areas of doctrine I believe, using the Bible as the only true measure, that our views parallel. Therefore I am very interested in how you view the reading of Jeremiah 30:6. Just this morning it struck me that this passage seems to be describing someone suffering from poison, esp poison gas, like sarin.