Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We're Baaaacck!

Hi all!

Sorry about no post last week, but that's just the kind of week that last week was. (How many times can you fit the word week in one sentence? I Win!)

I have something great for you today. As we are all trying to read the Bible for all it's worth, I think you will find this helpful. It is about the study of hermeneutics, which is how we interpret the Bible.

As I have been studying for the "Follow the Leader" series, it has become even more apparent to me how important this is. Because I didn't know the context of the passages and because I didn't know what it meant for them(the people he was speaking to)specifically - I wrongly interpreted the meaning of these texts for years.

It's amazing how knowing context and language peculiarities make difficult passages much more understandable, like the "clear eye" passage in Matthew 6.

Anyway, here is the article. This guy is good to read if you want to explore the rest of his blog as well. He teaches at Asbury Theological Seminary, which a lot of Wesleyans go to.

Have a great week! Don't forget to share your thoughts with the rest of us


Anonymous said...

I have been finding it more and more important to know what we are reading. As we go thru Awana's I find looking at it thru childrens eyes. Sometimes we focus on reading and memorizing scripture, but don't really stop to think about what it really means. Taking it a step further to research the context, meaning, and application in truth takes more time, and I assume that I should just wait till Sunday. However, the Leader I must follow is Jesus, and there are plenty of resource for me to Follow the Leader. That way while at church on Sunday, I know that the Church leader, Pastor Phil, is speaking the truth. How could I say, I don't like a sermon without knowing just as much or more about the source of the information?

Thats my story and I'm sticking to it!

God Bless,

Phil said...

So, is this a veiled attempt to say that you didn't like one of my sermons?
Fine, I think you have a funny haircut!

john m said...

I think maybe what anonymous Charles was saying is that if we are diligent in our own study we will be in agreement with our diligent pastor. However, the whole glass house thing might apply to the rock thrower with the hair cut comment. On a serious note I think as far as myself I probably do not spend enough time in prayer before and after my Bible reading. I do greatly enjoy the revelations that come from hermernuetical study (is that a word?). Well I am eagerly awaiting some more insight from Pastor as well as the rest of the bloggers. Laters,

david m. said...

Appreciate the blog/article. What a great reminder of the importance of approaching Bible study both prayerfully and as a disciplined behavior. I'm not sure if I ever quite appreciated the concept that scripture had a single, eternal meaning with practically limitless applications depending on the spiritual openness,understanding and diligence of the reader. Awesome to contemplate. Even if we can't all be Hebrew or Greek scholars to get all the grammatical nuances, we can be cognizant that every bit of scripture was written in some sort of historical context, and ask that our eyes be opened to its application for each of us. I know I'm guilty of being pretty sloppy and cavalier in my approach to the scriptures much of the time.

God help us to be led by His Spirit when we open His Word, and help us give the study of it the diligence it deserves (II Tim. 2:15).

ffejobet said...

I like reading your blog as I enjoy a Halo Burger, Kogel Hot Dog and a Big John Steak and Onion. It helps me digest both physical and spiritual food.

eric said...

I always enjoy reading what ya'll have to say about scripture, it makes feel smarter just listening. I have a question since we are talking about correctly interpreting scripture that I hope ya'll will help me out on. I have been reading about spiritual gifts and I came across a verse (1 Corinthians 12:7) that I dont understand the meaning of. It says: But to each one is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good. Is this talking about us being given the Holy Spirit who gives us spiritual gifts for the edification and building of the church? Any wisdom from ya'll would be apreciated.

john m said...

Hey, Eric I can tell you what I believe Paul is saying in this scripture, but it might just make you feel even smarter. I think by manifestation he means that the Holy Spirit manifest itself in different ways but all for the common good. For example one manifestation would be " the message of wisdom" another would be "faith" another would be "healing". Your gifting then would be how the Holy Spirit manifest itself in you, "as he determines" 7:11. Many gifts but 1 Spirit. Paul goes on to say that we and our gifts make up the body of the church, and each gift like each part of the body is important. That was a total paraphrase but I believe it to be accurate. I hope that helps a little or at least did not confuse you more.
Keep on reading and pray for the gift of discernment to manisfest itself in you.

eric said...

Too...much...wisdom...can't...take it...all...in!!! No, just joking, thank you Mr M. it's funny you said to pray for the spirit of discernment to manifest it's self in me because I just recently realised that we can ask for different spiritual gifts. I always thought that we were given certain spiritual gifts and that is what we had to work with but the Bible says to ernestly desire the greater gifts and also that if someone has the gift of tounges let him pray that he may interpret. Any thoughts or comments?

eric said...

Also while we are at it a very interesting verse I read was 1 Corinthians 14:8 For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle. The context is Paul is talking about speaking in toungs not edifying the church and that we need prophets and interpreters to give the church direction. There are people who don't belive we are given gifts of prophecy or tounges or interpretation any more, if that is so how can we have direction for the church? Thoughts, comments?

john m said...

Eric, I am not an expert on the subject by any means but I can share my limited understanding. I have been in church meetings where tongues have been spoken and it seemed somewhat chaotic, however, I have also witnessed other times that were very orderly and there was an interpretation. So, I would not be one who says that the gift of tongues is not intended for our day. I do however, believe it to be very misused. As far as prophesying goes, it is very common in our church. Having said that, let me explain that the word Paul is using for prophesy can mean to proclaim the gospel or publicly proclaim the Word of God. I think prophesying in the sense of predicting the future is much more rare. The church can get direction through the Word when earnestly proclaimed. We should all desire that God be glorified thru us in which ever way the Holy Spirit determines. I am encouraged by your desire to dig deeper and seek the truth and I apologize for my own limited understanding.

david m. said...

Eric's asking good questions! (And John M.'s giving good answers!) It's important not to forbid tongues as Paul says in this passage. There's a verse later in I Corinthians 14, where Paul also says it's better to speak 5 words with understanding than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue. That pretty much puts the gift in perspective, doesn't it? 10,000 words is more than most men speak in a day.

That reminded me of a funny story I heard about a husband reading the newspaper who came upon a study that said women use more words than men. Excited to prove to his wife that he'd been correct when he accused her of talking too much, he showed her the study results: "Men use 10,000 words per day and women use 20,000 words per day." His wife thought for a minute and said, "It's because we have to repeat everything we say." The husband said, "What?"

Phil said...

Hey, What did I miss? Great conversation!

Let me throw in my two cents (which adjusted for inflation and the value of the market right now is worth about .00000001 cent).

It is a challenge to know when a verse is a principle for everyone ALL the time, and when it was for just those being written to AT the time. It's not that it doesn't have any application for us, but context becomes very important to know that that application is.

My take on this chapter (14) is that Paul is giving an "at the time" principle. Some application for us, but primarily addressing a particular situation in that church.

In this case, you don't have to look very hard to see the context:

For if you have the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking only to God, since people won't be able to understand you...
(1 Corinthians 14:2a NLT)

A person who speaks in tongues is strengthened personally, but one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire church.
(1 Corinthians 14:4 NLT)

Dear brothers and sisters, if I should come to you speaking in an unknown language, how would that help you?...
(1 Corinthians 14:6a NLT)

Even lifeless instruments like the flute or the harp must play the notes clearly, or no one will recognize the melody.
(1 Corinthians 14:7 NLT)

That leads, then, up to verse 8:

And if the bugler doesn't sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle?
(1 Corinthians 14:8 NLT)

Through context, we see that the emphasis isn't how the message came (tongues) but is the message clear.

Paul is saying that having a tongue noone can understand only benefits you. And the gifts, at least during worship, should benefit the entire church.

I think Paul is advocating less speaking in tongues during worship, not more.

So, in answer to your question, IMHO, tongues was never meant to be the means by which the church recieved direction - but through prophecy (proclaiming the Word) and special revelations.

I wish you could all speak in tongues, but even more I wish you could all prophesy. For prophecy is greater than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church will be strengthened. Dear brothers and sisters, if I should come to you speaking in an unknown language, how would that help you? But if I bring you a revelation or some special knowledge or prophecy or teaching, that will be helpful.
(1 Corinthians 14:5-6 NLT)

David sums up in a few words what takes me pages - good job!
Thanks John, for your good insight, too!

Phil said...

One more thing..

I left something out. The reason I think that this is an "at the time" principle is because Paul is addressing a problem in the Corinthian church. There was obviously too much emphasis on tongues going on, which happens a lot today as well.

Some people can read this chapter and say - "wow, look how important tongues are - there is a whole chapter devoted to it." I think the chapter is a response to the innapropriate use of that gift and an attempt to put it in perspective alongside the greater gifts.

Anonymous said...

Well All I can say is i'll wait til next week for something easier. Ok maybe not. It's neat how Pastor has brought up digging into God's word and the correct study of it. The past few months i've craved to dig deeper into the word and gain a better understanding of it. So to start on that path I joined BSF this year.(we're studing The Life of Moses) and it's amazing the insight i have gained and the tid bits of info that have come from the up till now. (we're in chapter 10 just finished with the plagues).
I ollk forward to the ome year study that's planned for the beginning of the year.

Laterz John T

eric said...

WOW!!! A lot of good information for me and I think ya'll have covered my questions very thoroughly, thank you I appreciate the information given. I agree with you Mr M. about the gifts of tounges being misused and I believe the reason is because it is the easiest "greater gift" to fake. So how can we tell if they are truly speaking in tounges or if they are faking? This is just my opinion and I welcome any thoughts and comments from ya'll, I believe Mr M. already addresed the answer by looking at the order or chaos of the situation also if there is an interpretation, but I think Jesus gave us another way of telling and that is found in Mathew 7:15-16 15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So something else that has been bothering me, we have spiritual gifts given to us and we have a way to distinguish between true and false teachers or prophets so why do we see so few of these "greater gifts"(at least ones that produce good fruit)? Again this is only my opinion but I feel that the church today has taken the emphisis off of knowing and exercising your spiritual gifts and placed it on improving ones own self. How can a person expect to have a great gift of faith if they dont exercise and use their gift of faith in small things, likewise how can someone expect to prophesy for the whole church unless they practiced listening and hearing Gods words for their own life? Ok one more thing, if these spiritual gifts are from the Holy Spirit being made manifest in our lives how did we have prophets in the old testament times? This one kinda has me stumped, unless the words for prophet and prophesy are different in the Greek or Hebrew text?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Phil said...


I am not sure what you are asking...

Are you asking how there were there prophets in the O.T. since, the Holy Spirit is N.T.?

eric said...

I guess my question is, spiritual gifts are from the Holy Spirit right? We were not given the Holy Spirit until Jesus' ascention into heaven. Prophesy is listed several times as a spiritual gift, so is there a difference between the spiritual gift of prophesy and the prophets of the old testament?

eric said...

Ok I think I am begining to understand a little bit, I have been trying to restrict God by placing perameters, but God is the same God in the old testament as he is in the new testament and today. The christians of of the old testament were just as saved and just as forgiven as we are today because God is not restrained by time. Even though Jesus did not sacrafice himself on the cross for our sins until later does not mean that they were any less covered by his blood. With that being said that would mean that old testament christians would be just as capable of being filled with the spirit as we are and we can see a very good example in Sampson (look at Judges 14:6, Judges 14:19, Judges 15:14....) . So if the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson then could it not go upon anyone? I would love to get someone elses thoughts, comments, or correction about this.

eric said...

Wow! 1 Samuel 19:20-21

Phil said...

i love my church too