Understanding the Bible - Easy, Difficult or both?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Curious, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. Curious

    Curious
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    I've had numerous discussions with family, friends and other acquaintances on Biblical subjects as I'm sure you have. It seems to me that that things are more easily understood if they "can be" taken literally. It's when opposing factions begin to apply their interpretations that causes most debating.

    Do you find this to be the norm?

    just Curious
     
  2. Rippon

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    Everything taken in context is necessary . Some portions of Scripture should not be taken literally , as such . For example , many words of Satan were really his words , but they are not doctrinally true . The hills do not literally skip like rams . Jesus is not literally a door . I can go on and on with more examples .
     
  3. Curious

    Curious
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    Thanks, Rippon - maybe I didn't pose my question clearly enough. I enclosed the words "can be" in quotes so as to indicate I knew everything could not be taken literally. I also know context is most important. Just this morning I listened to a discussion concerning the "soul" and I'll give you the verse of scripture discussed.

    Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (KJV)

    To me the verse literally says that man is a living soul. Any reason not to take that literally?

    Thanks
     
  4. donnA

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    I agree,
    aside from the indwelling Holy Spirit the most important thing to understand scripture is context.
     
  5. Brandon C. Jones

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    Welcome to the board Curious:

    My answer is both: some parts are and other parts are not. Thankfully, others in the church (or your church) are there to help you in understanding. Thankfully, many have gone before us who believed the canonical Scriptures to be normative and inspired and have said much about them. We have many resources available to us. I do believe the Spirit works through them. Don't fall into the trap of letting yourself be your own rule of faith and practice via your isolated interpretation of Scripture. Dialogue with the Church past and present. Ask your pastor or elders for good resources in studying Scripture and hopefully they will be available to you in equipping you for growing to the full stature of Christ.

    One bit of personal advice is to let the literal meaning confront you, especially in difficult passages. Don't be too quick to understand it. Don't be too quick to rationalize that it must not mean what it says. Wrestle with it! If you're familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his discussion of the sermon on the mount is challenging in this regard.

    Of course context is key and there are good books on hermeneutics out there. One accessible one is "Grasping God's Word." I would also heartily endorse a primer to theology to help matters. Currently, I still recommend Erickson but others here may have better recommendations.

    As to your specific example: nephesh is a word with many meanings in the OT. Sure, Adam became a living person but thinking of the KJV's soul as an immaterial substance separable from the body is not taking the text literally.

    I hope that helps,
    BJ
     
    #5 Brandon C. Jones, Apr 20, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2007
  6. DQuixote

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    I highly recommend a comprehensive study of dispensationalism and lots of prayer. Don't gloss over either one!
     
  7. gb93433

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    2 Peter 3:14-16, "Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction."
     
  8. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    I think the biggest hinderance to Bible study is having preconceived notions of what the Bible "really says".

    Shed those preconceived notions, and read the words, and look at them in context.
     

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