Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I'm Not Sure That Means What You Think It Means!

I'm going to be honest and share one of my biggest pet peeves. Isogesis. Isogesis is when you have an idea or a belief or a thought and then you find a Bible verse or part of a Bible verse to support what you say. That problem with this it ignores context completely. If you take a phrase out of context, you can make it say whatever you want. The media has been doing this for years, politicians are pros at it. Don't do it.

Instead, you need to exegete a passage. I want to teach you today real quickly how to let your theology be Biblical, instead of having to twist scripture to match your theology. Remember, the Bible should shape your theology, not your reasoning, not your feelings, and not some guy on TBN. You must take the Bible as a whole and use context, scripture, and the Holy Spirit to come to a correct understanding.

First, when we study, we read entire passages that complete the thought. Don't worry about the verses or chapters, read the complete thought. Let's look at Romans 8. We all loves verse 28, right, that all things work for the good of those who love God. Then we stop. Sometimes we fight about the idea of "being called according to His purpose", cause that sounds like election. Then we get to 29, and people often gloss over it. We just sort of skip down to verse 31, cause we like that part. This is not the way to read the passage.

First, start at verse 26, read through verse 30. I'm not going to post it, go get your Bible. This is all part of the same paragraph, so how does 26 and 27 relate to 28? The Spirit is praying for us according to the will of God. What is the will of God for you? Skip down to verse 29, for us to be conformed to the image of His son. All things work together for our good in accordance with the will of God, which is for us to be more like Christ. This has been God's will for us all along, this is why we were predestined, called and justified, so we can be secure that God is not leaving us or abandon us in trails. That is the next section, verses 31-36, that God is with us.

So, it's not that God works everything for our good so we will be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise. It's so we can look more like Christ. All things happen so we are more like Christ. Does that sound a little different that the interpretation of the TV preachers? You know it does.

Let's tackle one more, one of my favorites. Jeremiah 29:11. We love this verse, it's KLove's encouraging verse of the day. With this, I want to teach you two parts. First, we have the exegesis, which is the same process. We read the whole passage. God is telling the people of Israel, through Jeremiah the prophet, that they need to get cozy. They need to accept the exile for now, but God has a plan for the future. He isn't finished with the nation of Israel yet. Did you get that last part, He is working on the nation of Israel. Who is this verse too? Was it to the people of Babylon? Nope. Assyria? Nope. It's to the Southern tribe of Judah, not even the whole nation, it's to Judah, to the exiles. He has plans for those in exile. Should we take a promise made to a specific people at a specific time and make it a blanket statement for everyone? Hmmm.

Here is the second part. This was a promise to Judah, but it's in the scripture for a reason. This is important, because not only do we need to study and understand the correct meaning of scripture, but then we apply it to our lives. We do this by finding the timeless principle that God is demonstrating. God's nature is revealed in this passage, He is working and He has a plan. We know from Ephesians, chapter 2 verse 10 that there are works that God prepared beforehand for us. God has prepared a path for His people, both for Judah and for us. We see God's character that He has and knows the plan for us. We can't directly apply this verse because God doesn't  have a plan to give us hope, the hope is now given, we have the hope, which is Christ. We have a future, it's our eternal life with Christ. He has given us those things, so now we must walk in the path, the good works which God has laid out for us.

This process of study for the Bible may be a little longer, a little more complex but it's a much more accurate and rewarding that finding a verse that supports your idea and making the Bible conform to your theology. Let the Bible shape what you believe and how you think, this is key to having the mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit will teach you if you are a Child of God, and you will find great wisdom. The alternative is folly, and you don't want to speak of God what is not true. Just ask Job's friends.

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