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Found 11 results

  1. Hi everyone, I am currently in the process of gathering information for my EPQ project discussing whether or not Euthanasia should be legalised in the Uk, as a part of this I am including the viewpoint of Christians to evaluate the discussion. I would be extremely great full if anyone would be willing to leave any thoughts with regards to Euthanasia and Christianity. Many Thanks
  2. In another topic, I sought the wisdom of the community here. I asked what technique people use to resolve difficult to understand scriptures. I got many great answers. Here is result: Primary Sources: - Rely on God - He is supreme and He will speak - Spirit is trustworthy - Scripture Alone is claimed as the sole source by some - Within the scriptures, determination must be made as to which passage(s) contain the primary message, there after using that passage to understand other passages. Secondary Sources: - Counselors, direct contact and remote, play a role, but you must have a rubric (logic structure) with which to evaulate them. Their role is primarily to help with understanding the context of the whole of scripture. - Positional Authority (church government) has a high hurdle to jump to qualify as a source - if force is involved the hurdle is too high I am posting it again as the original post was so long that I think I lost readers. I just want to see if this makes sense to most people. Click the reaction icon at the lower right to indicate what you think of this list of decision points.
  3. As a quick disclaimer: I have seen your replies and clearly some of you have a heart for God. Others, spend far too much time listening to the doctrines of demons. Know this, unless they block me I will not quit. I write for a world that is filled with people with a heart like mine; one that has learned to err on the side of mercy. Have a great day basking in the love of Jesus Christ our soon coming King. Now, on with the post. Having addressed who or what Gog could be in my previous post, we now look at the directive given to Ezekiel to prophecy against Gog (from a great distance, and through time,) about what God's plan is, for the last days. Ezekiel 38:3 NASB and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Eugene Peterson's “The Message” gives us this, “Be warned, Gog. I am against you. Ezekiel 38:4 CJB I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords. Why would verse four be immensely significant in the Jewish mind? If you think back to the story of Jonah you remember that Jonah was asked to prophesy against Nineveh and tell them their days were numbered. While that might seem appropriate, especially if you had an intense hatred for the Ninevehites and wanted them dead because they were sadistically cruel and bloody people. But Jonah also knew something about God that most of us miss, and that was that God's nature was one of mercy. The other thing that Jonah understood was that the Ninevehites were a part of the Assyrian nation, just as Gog is, and they had the nasty habit of dragging their victims back to their lands by putting hooks in their mouths, among other places. “I will turn you around.” Another piece of insight for you. Having recently gone to the beach to be with family, I took an ice chest of cold drinks. I dragged that chest from the car, across the beach sand, and now, later in the day, I was dragging it back again. By the time I got to the stairs that lead up to the car, I was exhausted. I could feel the full weight of the ice chest as I went up the first step. Suddenly it got lighter. I actually thought I was going to turn around and see an angel. What I saw was the long-haired young man whom I had just passed carrying a skateboard. My wife, who was about 22 meters behind me, saw the skateboarder and internally had said, Lord, that would be great if that young man helped my husband. With that, the young man stopped, turned, and began to help me without saying a word. You see, God has ways of his will without a word being exchanged; and, the young man, he probably thought it was his great idea. “and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.” In one of my posts on Ezekiel 38, I went into great detail about the people of that region, the Scythians. One of their claims to fame is that they were skillful horsemen and deadly with weapons as they rode. Would Ezekiel have known that? It is highly possible as the line of descendants that produced these people existed long before Ezekiel did and he would have learned this through oral history. At this point, I only wish to say, that someone attempted to challenge my previous assertions about Gog, saying, Gog was Satan. Based upon verse four alone is that probable? Not likely seeing as 1Chronicles 5:4 shows us the lineage of a man named Gog, a descendant of Reuben – the disinherited son of Jacob, but then, Ezekiel's prophecy and the actual occurrence of these events spans well over two thousand years and no one lives that long. The only other thing that has credence is a demonic spirit/ fallen angel that carries that name. In this battle coming against Israel, who are the players? Ezekiel 38:5-6 NASB Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6) Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you. Persia – Modern day Iran Ethiopia – At one time Ethiopia was known as Cush. Put - Put is the Libyans. While Qaddafi may have been a wild man, since his removal the nation has turned into a violent Muslim nation. Gomer - Sits squarely in modern day Turkey. Beth-togarmah - This was territory from which the Medes emanated. It is the region in which the Armenians resided. At one point in time, the Assyrian nations bordered Beth-togarmah, and it is the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. While Russia has dominated these people at times they seem to be independent of Russia while maintaining civil war amongst themselves. There is a strong clue embedded within the verse that says, “in the far reaches of the north, with all its troops-many peoples are with you." Again, this is the Scythian region and one of their claims to fame was Genghis Khan. Ezekiel 38:7 CJB Prepare yourself, get ready, you and all your crowd gathered around you; and take charge of them. Consider something here. Ezekiel is writing this while he is in Babylonian captivity; which for him, began around 570 B.C. Now, over 2570 years later, God is finally bringing this collection of assailants together for a horrendous battle. A battle, that for Israel, will look impossible. Many will add another war in here, the Psalm 83 war. Some even insert it before the events that Ezekiel lays out before us. Psalms 83:3-8 ISV They plot against your people and conspire against your cherished ones. 4) They say, "Let us go and erase them as a nation so the name of Israel will not be remembered anymore." 5) Indeed, they shrewdly planned together, forming an alliance against you— 6) the tents of Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagrites, 7) Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, and the inhabitants of Tyre. 😎 Even Assyria joined them to strengthen the descendants of Lot. Interlude. Psalm 83 has similarities to what we see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but what I don't see is Cush, and Put – Egypt and Libya. I am not sure those nations can be excluded as the descendants traveled extensively. Ezekiel 38:8 CJB After many days have passed, you will be mustered for service; in later years you will invade the land which has been brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, the mountains of Isra'el. They had been lying in ruins for a long time, but now Isra'el has been extracted from the peoples and all of them are living there securely. “After many days have passed,” Far too many read this and think it merely means weeks later. This phrase, like “the prince that shall come,” that is defined for us in Daniel 9:26, has several encroachments into history. The problem is, these intrusions are spread across thousands of years. Many is the Hebrew word rab meaning much, many, numerous, and abundance, among others. Verse eight is clearly a description of Israel. Ezekiel 38:9 CJB You will come up like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land—you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.' “You will come up like a storm,” Sudden and overwhelming. Are all storms sudden? No, in many cases people will say, this is storm weather and it always starts like this. So, the implication is that we have a strong probability of knowing when this will come. Just today (6/29/2018), through the MEMRI website, I learned of a Middle Eastern newspaper that leans heavily toward Erdoğan, publishing an article calling for the Muslim of the world to gather in Jihad against Israel (this article was published in Dec of 2017 – not that long ago. An aspect of the article was a map which showed Israel surrounded on every side with army tanks. Surrounded on every side sounds very much like Ezekiel's words. “you will be like a cloud covering the land.” - Clouds are formed by thousands of drops of water. We are told that the number seems innumerable. “you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.” - These are people of a like mind – Muslims may not be unified in “religion” but they all seem to understand the idea of Jihad. Ezekiel 38:10-12 CJB "Adonai Elohim says: 'When that day comes, thoughts will well up in your mind, and you will devise a sinister scheme. 11) You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder." You will attack the former ruins that are now inhabited and come against the people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and other wealth and are living in the central parts of the land. “ When that day comes,” - Question, does God do anything at random? The answer is NO, as everything is part of a precise and well thought out plan; a plan which includes giving man a free will and the opportunity to choose life or death. Regardless of the optional qualities, the plan is still in place and intact. So, is it possible that God would leave the option for Gog to design and plan out “his” own destiny? Not a chance and verse ten is no different, as “that day” is entirely in God's hands, and, a part of God's plan. Another consideration is the terminology “that day.” The phrase is attributed to several events; one of which is the return of Jesus as the warring and conquering Messiah, who also fights a bloody battle in the Jezreel Valley; there is the great white throne judgment and the entirety of the seven-years of God's wrath upon the earth. Are any of those events what we are looking at here? I do not believe so as there are always other events associated, which we do not see here. “thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” - The Hebrew word for thoughts is dāḇār and literally means words. I could read this when that day comes, words will pop into your head, you are going to think this is your sinister scheme, but in reality, you will be doing what I have planned all along. Mind is the Hebrew word lēḇāḇ and also means heart. In God's understanding, the heart and the mind are one in the same. Devise is from the Hebrew word châshab and means to weave, fabricate, or plot. “You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.” The context of Deuteronomy 3:5 is applied to Israel's conquer of Og, the King of Bashan. Having destroyed Og's fortified cities they were never rebuilt by Israel. It also demonstrates that cities were typically fortresses; this is not what you see in Israel today. Deuteronomy 3:3-6 NASB "All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns. Zechariah 2:4 NASB and said to him, "Run, speak to that young man, saying, 'Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. I like the way the ISV version translates Ezekiel 38:12, “the people … who live at the center of the world's attention.” Currently, all the world seems to be looking at Israel, once again. Whether Israel is at the center of the world or not is debatable, but God is making that nation the center of attention. And, although we have not covered the verse yet, it sums up the reason behind all this tumult. Ezekiel 38:16 ERV...I will bring you to fight against my land. Then, Gog, the nations will learn how powerful I am! They will learn to respect me and know that I am holy.
  4. Okay, I will start with an idea. With the ability to go online to places where you can read the Bible in various versions, it is not hard to print a page or more of a Bible text, just be certain to discover the legalities of what you may or may not do, from the copyright holder of your chosen version. That being done, you can format and print the text, using your chosen version in a word processor, and make it such that there is one or more, large columns which is left blank on the page. That way you may fill in the margins with the insights you gain as you study, making a life's work and heirloom. These margins can be things you learn from others, new insights you gain, things you purpose to work on or pray about, quotations you think are especially meaningful, cross reference verses, definition of original language words, etc, etc. The way I think works well, is to do this on 3 hole punched paper, so you can put it in a three ring binder notebook, or in smaller paper type 3 ring folders. If you really want to be fancy, buy one of those comb binder machines, or go to you local stationary store, where they may let you use their binding machines for free, many do, or, they will bind them for you for a nominal price.
  5. Bible Trivia Questions 1. At Jesus's last Passover meal, what did the disciples argue about? Who would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom Where they should sleep Who should prepare the meal Who would betray Him 2. Why does Jesus tell us to be merciful? Because GOD is merciful to us Because it is the right thing to do Because we will be rewarded in heaven Because it is the only way to overcome evil 3. Where do the words we speak come from? From our thoughts From our teachings From the true feelings of our heart From what we hear 4. What is the last book in the Old Testament? Genesis Micah Revelation Malachi 5. What was Jesus' occupation? Carpenter Blacksmith Fisherman Web Designer Answers: 1. At Jesus's last Passover meal, what did the disciples argue about? Who would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom Explanation: Disciples should not set themselves above each other Reference: Luke 22:24 2. Why does Jesus tell us to be merciful? Because GOD is merciful to us Explanation: Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.' Reference: Luke 6:36 3. Where do the words we speak come from? From the true feelings of our heart Explanation: A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Reference: Luke 6:45 4. What is the last book in the Old Testament? Malachi Explanation: Malachi is the 39th and last book in the Old Testament. Reference: Malachi 5. What was Jesus' occupation? Carpenter Reference: Mark [In order to see answers, highlight the space above.]
  6. Originally published September 28th, 2008 In as much as several of you lately, and many over the years have asked how I go about Bible Study and why I think my approach is a good one, I have decided to blog on that topic.First off, I do three different types of Bible studies. Expository, topical, and word studies.As I define the terms, an expository study is one were I select a passage, a chapter, a whole book, or some other contiguous grouping of words from the Bible, and then go verse by verse, looking at the verse, it’s context, the intended audience, the historical setting and any parallel or related passages, to gain an understanding of the grouping of words which I am examining.I would say that a topical study, would be an examination of a specific subject, such as abortion, the rapture, tithing, marriage, etc.Finally, a word study is where I begin by looking at a word in a verse or verses in English, where either I am uncertain of it’s usage, or just want to more fully understand it’s significance and nuances, Then look ate the original Greek or Hebrew word that was translated into the specific English word at the location in question. Once having identified the original language word, I then look at every occurrence of that word in the Greek or Hebrew to see the ways the word is used, and also consult works written for the purpose of original language study, such as Lexicons.My favorite type is the topical study, but the methods I use are based on principles that can be applied not only in these different studies, but can be applied to other historical literature as well as current literature.There are rules of interpretation than most conservative theologians agree upon. By and large, they look to me to be good common sense rules, so I try to stick to them. This minimizes the “that’s your interpretation” phenomenon, which is so silly. I prefer to have a good interpretation any day, than MY interpretation. Many of these rules come from traditional Jewish rules of interpretation. Now immediately, we must concede, that there are obviously limitations to these rules, or most Jews would have recognized their Messiah. The problem is, that we are human, we make mistakes, and we bring our own prejudices and preconceptions to the interpretive table. It is true for me, it is true for you also. So, sound rules are a foundation for understanding the Bible in a consistent manner, they are there to help you see past your own prejudices, but they will only work if you are willing to be consistent, and not change the rules to suit an interpretation you prefer.So what are some of these rules? In no particular order. Always examine a verse or passage in it’s contextThis means that you look at the verses leading up to that passage, and following, so that you can see what the cubject actually is, being discussed. Ignore the chapter heading and number, these are man-made, it is up to you to determine when a subject begins and ends. Examining a passage in context, also involves not just reading and understanding the nearby verses, but also identify who is being addressed in a passage, for whom is the message intended. Sometimes it is a specific individual, some times Israel, sometimes the church, sometimes it applies universally to mankind, determine this. The historical context is also important, Understanding things about a time and place, can affect how you understand the passage. Context, is one of the most important aspects of Biblical interpretation.Okay, suppose we have done all that. We have arrived at what we think the verse is saying and to whom. Remember that the scriptures are divinely inspired. Therefore, they will never contradict each other. We can use that to help us check our understanding of a verse or passage in question. The next rule is: Compare Scripture with ScriptureHere, we search out other passages on the same topic. For example, let’s say we examined the ten commandments, and saw there: “Thou shalt not kill.” We have now the understanding that it is always wrong to kill. However, as we read in other places in the Bible, we find that God ordains wars, and prescribes putting people to death for certain crimes. Knowing that the God does not contradict himself, we understand that we must have a faulty understanding of “thou shalt not kill”. This brings us to another rule of interpretation. Examine the Verse in the Original LanguageTime was when you had to own quite a library to follow all of these rules effectively. In modern times, there are theological libraries in the form of software, which are substantially less expensive than they would be in printed form. Additionally, many of these helps are online. Go and experiment with sites such as blueletterbible.org, biblestudytools.com, and/or biblehub.com. You will find many things to aid your understanding on those sites. In the case of thou shalt not kill, we would find that a better translation of the Hebrew would have been “You shall do no murder”.Another tool which is indispensable is a concordance. A concordance let’s you look up Bible verses by words that exist in English in the verse. For example, if you looked up the word “locusts”, you would discover the word occurs in 17 verses. The concordance would show you part of the verse - a partial context. This is useful if you want to find verses that have a word in common with a verse you are examining. Seeing the context, lets you see if the verse is related to the topic you are studying, or to the verse you are studying, In the Gospels for instance, the different authors some times have additional details that another Gospel writer left out. Perhaps you are wanting to find a particular verse you are thinking of, a concordance can be useful for that. This can also be done with online Bible search sites.The next ones are not rules, but recommendations. Read a passage in several translations. Translations are not all alike, nor equally good, and none is without error. Most are pretty good for casual reading of the scriptures, but by reading a passage in a different version, you can often uncover some nuance, that you may want to explore further.Additionally, it is a good idea to to read about a given passage in a commentary or two, or three. In that way, you reap the benefit of the work that someone has already put into understanding the passage you are looking at. Here again, none is without error. In fact, by reading commentaries, you may come across views you never considered. Consider them, but stick with the Bible text itself, which brings me to the next rule. Let Scripture Interpret ScriptureWhat do we mean by that? Sometimes a verse you may be considering, is already discussed in another passage in the Bible. Since the Bible is inspired by God, you have to accept the Bible’s explanation of itself. How would you know that a passage is commented on in another section in the Bible? My primary answer is read the Bible until you are familiar with it. I realize than not everyone will follow this advice, so there are other ways. The commentaries I spoke of, will often point such passages out. A good reference Bible, such as Thompson’s Chain Referance Bible, will show related passages - a very helpful tool. When reading a passage, assume it is literal, unless there is a compelling reason not to. In John 10:9 (NASB) Jesus says:“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”A literal translation of that would be to think of Jesus claiming to be a slab of wood on a hinge. There is no need to be so literal. The context of the passage will usually indicate what the author was saying. Parables and visions, similes and metaphors are frequently used in the bible. There is an excellent book on parable and metaphors, learn to spot them. Some times it may not be so obvious:John 11:11-15after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples therefore said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead",(NASB) In the passage above, we see that even the disciples took things too literally. Understand the Historical Background This takes some digging, but it is most helpful to understand figures of speech, customs and historical circumstances surrounding a passage. Where is the author, why is he there? To whom is he writing and why? These type of things are very useful to stay aware of. For example, some passages are written directly to a person of a people, and may not apply universally. Strive to avoid interpreting through the eyes of your own experience and culture. A helpful tool for this is the book: "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" Keep with precedentsSome people love inventing new meanings for words. Understand what the words meant when they were written from the original languages, if you are working in your own language, understand the meaning of the word when they were translated. For example, you may run across the word “quick” in the King James Version. Quick meant ‘living’ or ‘alive’ in 1611, not ‘fast’. Many modern commentators have erred by insisting that certain words mean certain things that they did not mean when written, don’t make the same mistake and don’t make the mistake of assuming that what they say is true, do your own research. Use Common Logic This one seems like a no-brainer that I should not even have to mention. Ask yourself, if a given understanding of a passage makes sense. Be careful here though, not everyone thinks alike. When I say to ask if it makes sense, I don’t mean does it make sense to you! I mean is the conclusion a rational one given the words used, the circumstances etc. is it where the majority of scriptural evidence points you? Don’t make the mistake of using you logic to over-rule the plain revelation of scripture. For example, I don’t like hell. It makes no sense to me that such a place would exist, why punish someone eternally for things done during the short span of a lifetime. However, I must keep in mind, that my thoughts are not His thoughts, and my ways are not His ways, so, I go with what scripture plainly teaches - there is a Hell. Recognize and determine the validity of inference This is similar to the above. You may find it difficult, for example, to discover a verse that indicates God is a triune being. However, you might fine a verse that refers to a person known as the Holy Spirit, and that the person is called God. You might find a reference to the fact that there is a person called the Father, who is also called God. Then you may find a reference to a person who is called the Son, again, He is called God also. You will find verses that indicate the these person are distinct. You will also find versed that categorically state that there is only one God. Putting them all together, we realize that there are three separate persons who are each God, and there is only one God. Therefore, the three persons are the one God. That is inference. For some, this makes no sense, I have no problem with it. This is a case however, where you may have to suspend what you think is logic, and accept that this is what is revealed in scripture, we have no right to over-ride revelation with our opinions. Recognize the unity of scripture The 66 books that make up the Bible each has it’s own story to tell. However, there is one author behind each of them, and He has His story to tell as well. When you read and study the Bible, be aware that there are themes that thread their way through the various books of the Bible, some books cannot be fully understood without the benefit of the other books. If you have an interpretation of a passage, that is a contradiction to another passage, then you have not reached a correct understanding, for God does not contradict Himself.There may be more that I am forgetting, I will add them in if they occur to me, but that is the way that I approach the study of the scriptures, I hope some of these principles, are ones that you will find helpful in your own studies. Be Blessed! Ω Omegaman 2.0 This page has been visited 11,913 times since September 28th, 2008 5 Responses to “How I Study the Bible - one approach” Sharon Graham Says: December 12th, 2008 at 9:58 am Thank you for explaining how to study the bible it is a big help. FresnoJoe Says: February 28th, 2009 at 9:39 am “there is one author behind each of them, and He has His story to tell as well” Oh So Amen Dear Brother, So Amen! “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,” Psalms 40:7 “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” Hebrews 10:7 AyinJade Says: March 2nd, 2009 at 7:27 pm Lol Mega, with a date of Sept 28th, you are always assured of having this post as the first one seen in the admin blogs. I had a hard time finding my latest blog entry until I realized that the date of this blog was incorrect. Omegaman Says: March 4th, 2009 at 3:09 am That is when it was posted, Sept. 28th, 2008 jayblayze Says: April 23rd, 2009 at 6:11 am Thanx for your thoughts and all the support at http://www.worthychat.com tonight april 23 You keep on speaking the truth will ya. Thanx again, Jamie
  7. I am teaching in teaching in bible college,,, right now i started to teach soteriology, while i am preparing some lesson stuff, i am facing lot of thinking time and research time, pl join with me to share your views on Soteriology Step 1 ...........Holiness of God Step 2........... The sin o Man, Step 3 .......... The penalty of Sin Step 4 .......... Spiritual Death Step 5 .......... Unrighteousness Step 6 ......... God's grace Step 7 ......... Justification Step 8 ......... Salvation by faith (not by works) i am trying to make 8 divisions to make whole lesson plan,, Please share your ideas,,
  8. Dear brethren It is glad to see your previous prayers for us,, It is always glad to request you all to pray again Our Bible college.. LIGHT = Learners In Grace, Holy Teachings which is running for 40 people We have finished first year teaching course We ARE are also preparing to start the 2nd year teachings please pray or better teachings, for better students, better results,, blessings to all
  9. When the apostles talked about the word of God, what were they refering to?Obviously it was not the old testament. and there was no new testament then.i believe it was not the old testament becasue no ordinary person had access to itthey usually say things like: and the word of God grew"we will give ourselves to the study of the word and prayer"And i believe they were not referring to Jesus Christ as the word, because of the context of usage.I will appreciate your opinions, i have had this in my mind for a while. Thank you all.
  10. Sept. 18th, 2008 - - - Post Script - There is also a version of this post at the blog on my website which has links to online copies of the books mentioned In as much as several of you lately, and many over the years have asked how I go about Bible Study and why I think my approach is a good one, I have decided to blog on that topic. First off, I do three different types of Bible studies. Expository, topical, and word studies. As I define the terms, an expository study is one were I select a passage, a chapter, a whole book, or some other contiguous grouping of words from the Bible, and then go verse by verse, looking at the verse, it’s context, the intended audience, the historical setting and any parallel or related passages, to gain an understanding of the grouping of words which I am examining. I would say that a topical study, would be an examination of a specific subject, such as abortion, the rapture, tithing, marriage, etc. Finally, a word study is where I begin by looking at a word in a verse or verses in English, where either i am uncertain of it’s usage, or just want to more fully understand it’s significance and nuances, Then look ate the original Greek or Hebrew word that was translated into the specific English word at the location in question. Once having identified the original language word, I then look at every occurrence of that word in the Greek or Hebrew to see the ways the word is used, and also consult works written for the purpose of original language study, such as Lexicons. My favorite type is the topical study, but the methods I use are based on principles that can be applied not only in these different studies, but can be applied to other historical literature as well as current literature. There are rules of interpretation than most conservative theologians agree upon. By and large, they look to me to be good common sense rules, so I try to stick to them. This minimizes the “that’s your interpretation” phenomenon, which is so silly. I prefer to have a good interpretation any day, than MY interpretation. Many of these rules come from traditional Jewish rules of interpretation. Now immediately, we must concede, that there are obviously limitations to these rules, or most Jews would have recognized their Messiah. The problem is, that we are human, we make mistakes, and we bring our own prejudices and preconceptions to the interpretive table. It is true for me, it is true for you also. So, sound rules are a foundation for understanding the Bible in a consistent manner, they are there to help you see past your own prejudices, but they will only work if you are willing to be consistent, and not change the rules to suit an interpretation you prefer. So what are some of these rules? In no particular order: Always examine a verse or passage in it’s context. This means that you look at the verses leading up to that passage, and following, so that you can see what the cubject actually is, being discussed. Ignore the chapter heading and number, these are man-made, it is up to you to determine when a subject begins and ends. Examining a passage in context, also involves not just reading and understanding the nearby verses, but also identify who is being addressed in a passage, for whom is the message intended. Sometimes it is a specific individual, some times Israel, sometimes the church, sometimes it applies universally to mankind, determine this. The historical context is also important, Understanding things about a time and place, can affect how you understand the passage. Context, is one of the most important aspects of Biblical interpretation. Okay, suppose we have done all that. We have arrived at what we think the verse is saying and to whom. Remember that the scriptures are divinely inspired. Therefore, they will never contradict each other. We can use that to help us check our understanding of a verse or passage in question. The next rule is: Compare Scripture with Scripture Here, we search out other passages on the same topic. For example, let’s say we examined the ten commandments, and saw there: “Thou shalt not kill.” We have now the understanding that it is always wrong to kill. However, as we read in other places in the Bible, we find that God ordains wars, and prescribes putting people to death for certain crimes. Knowing that the God does not contradict himself, we understand that we must have a faulty understanding of “thou shalt not kill”. This brings us to another rule of interpretation. Examine the Verse in the Original Language Time was when you had to own quite a library to follow all of these rules effectively. In modern times, there are theological libraries in the form of software, which are substantially less expensive than they would be in printed form. Additionally, many of these helps are online. Go and experiment with sites such as blueletterbible.org, biblestudytools.com, and/or biblehub.com. You will find many things to aid your understanding on those sites. In the case of thou shalt not kill, we would find that a better translation of the Hebrew would have been “You shall do no murder”. Another tool which is indispensable is a concordance. A concordance let’s you look up Bible verses by words that exist in English in the verse. For example, if you looked up the word “locusts”, you would discover the word occurs in 17 verses. The concordance would show you part of the verse - a partial context. This is useful if you want to find verses that have a word in common with a verse you are examining. Seeing the context, lets you see if the verse is related to the topic you are studying, or to the verse you are studying, In the Gospels for instance, the different authors some times have additional details that another Gospel writer left out. Perhaps you are wanting to find a particular verse you are thinking of, a concordance can be useful for that. This can also be done with online Bible search sites. The next ones are not rules, but recommendations. Read a passage in several translations. Translations are not all alike, nor equally good, and none is without error. Most are pretty good for casual reading of the scriptures, but by reading a passage in a different version, you can often uncover some nuance, that you may want to explore further. Additionally, it is a good idea to to read about a given passage in a commentary or two, or three. In that way, you reap the benefit of the work that someone has already put into understanding the passage you are looking at. Here again, none is without error. In fact, by reading commentaries, you may come across views you never considered. Consider them, but stick with the Bible text itself, which brings me to the next rule. Let Scripture Interpret Scripture What do we mean by that? Sometimes a verse you may be considering, is already discussed in another passage in the Bible. Since the Bible is inspired by God, you have to accept the Bible’s explanation of itself. How would you know that a passage is commented on in another section in the Bible? My primary answer is read the Bible until you are familiar with it. I realize than not everyone will follow this advice, so there are other ways. The commentaries I spoke of, will often point such passages out. A good reference Bible, such as Thompson’s Chain Referance Bible, will show related passages - a very helpful tool. When reading a passage, assume it is literal, unless there is a compelling reason not to. In John 10:9 (NASB) Jesus says: “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” A literal translation of that would be to think of Jesus claiming to be a slab of wood on a hinge. There is no need to be so literal. The context of the passage will usually indicate what the author was saying. Parables and visions, similes and metaphors are frequently used in the bible. There is an excellent book on parable and metaphors (The Parables and Metaphores of Our Lore), Learn to recognise these things. Some times it may not be so obvious: John 11:11-15 after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples therefore said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, (NASB) In the passage above, we see that even the disciples took things too literally. Understand the Historical Background This takes some digging, but it is most helpful to understand figures of speech, customs and historical circumstances surrounding a passage. Where is the author, why is he there? To whom is he writing and why? These type of things are very useful to stay aware of. For example, some passages are written directly to a person of a people, and may not apply universally. Strive to avoid interpreting through the eyes of your own experience and culture. A helpful tool for this is the book: "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" Keep with precedents Some people love inventing new meanings for words. Understand what the words meant when they were written from the original languages, if you are working in your own language, understand the meaning of the word when they were translated. For example, you may run across the word “quick” in the King James Version. Quick meant ‘living’ or ‘alive’ in 1611, not ‘fast’. Many modern commentators have erred by insisting that certain words mean certain things that they did not mean when written, don’t make the same mistake and don’t make the mistake of assuming that what they say is true, do your own research. Use Common Logic This one seems like a no-brainer that I should not even have to mention. Ask yourself, if a given understanding of a passage makes sense. Be careful here though, not everyone thinks alike. When I say to ask if it makes sense, I don’t mean does it make sense to you! I mean is the conclusion a rational one given the words used, the circumstances etc. is it where the majority of scriptural evidence points you? Don’t make the mistake of using you logic to over-rule the plain revelation of scripture. For example, I don’t like hell. It makes no sense to me that such a place would exist, why punish someone eternally for things done during the short span of a lifetime. However, I must keep in mind, that my thoughts are not His thoughts, and my ways are not His ways, so, I go with what scripture plainly teaches - there is a Hell. Recognize and determine the validity of inference This is similar to the above. You may find it difficult, for example, to discover a verse that indicates God is a triune being. However, you might fine a verse that refers to a person known as the Holy Spirit, and that the person is called God. You might find a reference to the fact that there is a person called the Father, who is also called God. Then you may find a reference to a person who is called the Son, again, He is called God also. You will find verses that indicate the these person are distinct. You will also find versed that categorically state that there is only one God. Putting them all together, we realize that there are three separate persons who are each God, and there is only one God. Therefore, the three persons are the one God. That is inference. For some, this makes no sense, I have no problem with it. This is a case however, where you may have to suspend what you think is logic, and accept that this is what is revealed in scripture, we have no right to over-ride revelation with our opinions. Recognize the unity of scripture The 66 books that make up the Bible each has it’s own story to tell. However, there is one author behind each of them, and He has His story to tell as well. When you read and study the Bible, be aware that there are themes that thread their way through the various books of the Bible, some books cannot be fully understood without the benefit of the other books. If you have an interpretation of a passage, that is a contradiction to another passage, then you have not reached a correct understanding, for God does not contradict Himself. There may be more that I am forgetting, I will add them in if they occur to me, but that is the way that I approach the study of the scriptures, I hope some of these principles, are ones that you will find helpful in your own studies. Be Blessed! Ω Omegaman 2.0
  11. A Harvard study learns that those inclined to cheat, more likely to want to work for the government. Not sure this belongs in Weird and Wacky, I am not surprised. Link to article: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-cheating-students-government-jobs-corruption-20131118,0,2929974.story#axzz2lQjlBZ1q The study was performed on students in India - I would much rather have seen a study of this type in the U.S.
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