What are methods of Bible study and Interpretation?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Frogman, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. Frogman

    Frogman
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    I have always heard the following passage of Scripture used as a plea to the lost to let Christ into their heart.

    What are the guidelines for interpreting this passage of scripture that permit someone to disregard it's immediate context?

    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  2. StraightAndNarrow

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    What are the guidelines for interpreting this passage of scripture that permit someone to disregard it's immediate context?

    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
    </font>[/QUOTE]Personally, I believe that the Bible in general must be interpreted in terms of its cultural context. This passage specifically is at the end of Christ's message to Laodicea. He rejects with disgust (spews them out of His mouth) because there works are not indicative of a body of Christians. Therefore, I don't accept the explanation that is usually given which is this verse is directed to Christians only, necessarily.

    These members of this church are suspect in terms of their true Christianity and there their salvation. This is the condition of most of mankind. Therefore, Christ is addressing this statement to all of mankind. He's telling them what they must do to be truely saved.
     
  3. cojosh

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    No scripture should be privately interpeted, so God's Word has only one meaning. Either an interpretation is right or it's wrong. Though, this is true it seems that a scripture can be applied to several different situations, but it's meaning should not change.

    Many individuals get into a lot of trouble when they study scripture and do not observe to whom it is written to. It's wise to ask questions before interpreting and applying. Who, What, When, Where, and Why?

    I don't think applying the above scripture to lost church members does any damage to this verse, since these churches are symbolic of churches that exist today. I agree with StraightAndNarrow.

    All the bible was written for us, but not all of it was written to us.
     
  4. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." This is fellowship. This is not salvation. Jesus is not knocking on the door of your heart so He can enter and you will be saved. This message in Revelation 3:20 is to a church who had lost their vision of having fellowship with the Lord.

    The only way to have fellowship with the Lord is through the Word of God. The church at Laodicea was lukewarm, self-sufficient and in need of nothing. The spiritual condition of this church made it hard for the Lord to get in where it counted to have any meaningful fellowship with them. In Revelation 3:20 the Lord is inviting anyone who will hear Him to respond to this invitation to have fellowship with him. Fellowship had to do with eating and talking about things of common interest. Notice the phrase “will sup with him.” For the Lord to sup with anyone in the church of Laodicea would mean that there had to be preparation by those who were in the church behind the door.
     
  5. Frogman

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    Amen, Hope of Glory.

    This passage is talking to a dying, or dead church.

    It is not the Lord seeking to 'enter' into the heart of an individual, but for repentance (vs. 19).

    Why is this passage so often misunderstood and misused?

    Isn't taking this passage and making it apply to the Lord knocking on the heart of a lost person obviously taking it out of context?

    If not, why not?

    Bro. Dallas
     
  6. StefanM

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    I completely agree with you here.

    It's misused because it sounds good for evangelism.
     
  7. StraightAndNarrow

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    But Christ ultimately speaks to individuals and that is what he is doing here. By their acts, the members of this church caused Christ to reject them (as individuals because He only judges individuals not groups). He's not calling for the church as a whole to truely follow Him. He's asking for individuals out of that dead church (if any man hear my voice...) to believe upon Him and to truely follow Him not in a "lukewarm" manner but enthusiastically and genuinely. Otherwise the individual will be damned.

    This statement is talking about an individual's hope for salvation:

    Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
     
  8. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    Just like so many other "evangelism" verses.

    Verse 21 clearly goes on to show that it has to do with overcoming; works; so, it cannot apply to simple salvation.
     
  9. Frogman

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    Bold lettering is mine.

    Bro. Dallas Eaton
     
  10. cojosh

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    I have to agree with StraightAndNarrow, the local church is made up of individuals. Unfortunately, some members are not part of the Bride. We know Christ wants to be preeminent in the church body as well in the hearts of mankind.

    On the other hand, I know what you're saying. Some evangelists may not even know the correct context of the scripture and are just using it due to it's popularity in evangelism sermons.


    There are a lot of scriptures taken out of context that really do God's Word damage, but I don't think this one is a major one.
     
  11. StraightAndNarrow

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    Bold lettering is mine.

    Bro. Dallas Eaton
    </font>[/QUOTE]Respectfully, I'm not sure I nderstand your point. Are you saying that because Christ is the head of the church then He saves individual churches as a body rather then the people in those churches individually? Obviousy, this verse is talkin about salvation.

    "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne"

    It doesn't say to my Church that overcometh i sys to him that overcometh.at
     
  12. Johnv

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    I disagree. There are several:

    1 - What was said by the author to his intended audience?

    2 - How does #1 apply to people today?

    3 - What is the Holy Spirit saying to you, personally, in this particular point in your own life?

    The answer to 1 is always static.
    The answer to 2 will change as today changes, i but it will always be consistent, and relevant to #1.
    The answer to 3 is completely individual. The Holy Spirit may use a verse to speak to you differently than to another.
     
  13. Frogman

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    Dear StraightandNarrow,
    Christ's words here are not to a spiritually dead person who by our unknowing has come into the church.

    He is speaking to a dying church body. A body which should be organic and propagating itself by the power of the presence of Christ.

    He is not speaking to the individual of whom He has bought with HIS shed blood and desiring this person to let Him come into their lives; they are bought and bought with a price.

    Incidentally, regardless of what we think of individual salvation it is nontheless true that Christ shed His blood for the church as well Acts 20:28.

    When the Bible declares He is the head of the church and savior of the body that is what it means.

    It does not say anywhere that He 'wants' to be the head of the church and the savior of the body.

    He is sovereign and especially over His church. When He no longer is viewed as Sovereign in His body the church, then He is outside the body of His church and at a point according to His longsuffering He will remove the candlestick, the presence of His Spirit and the same as the Comforter that leads the church into all truth; and that body will cease to be a part of His Church in a local, visible capacity. This passage of scripture does great harm in being interpreted wrongly. As would any other passage of scripture being understood incorrectly and presented incorrectly.

    There is no gray area in understanding God's word a little bit wrongly. The beginning of grave errors do not begin as a big swirling mess, but often quickly become that when unchecked because we are made to think there is no harm in this or in that, soon we must back up on every point we hold dear in the word of God.

    Yes, Christ shed his blood for you and for me, but He has a purpose to present His church to Him without spot or blemish, that is the church, though it is made up of individuals, it is His church.

    It will be accomplished in due time according to His purpose.

    If in the course of that His church in some places must need be purged and if this purging requires the cutting away of a branch, then that is the work that He will and is accomplishing now. That in Rev. 3 is a warning to the church and a promise to whoever is in that particular body that in hearing and opening the door to Christ they will be comforted with personal fellowship and communion with Him.

    Bro. Dallas Eaton
     
  14. buckster75

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    Don't we let the Spirit (of which there is only) interpret for us? Is it not the way it is written? Can not God, through the Spirit, accomplish what He wants to accomplish with His Word?

    So I say if God's desires to use this to convict an individual then we should let Him. (Just kidding. Don't comment on this last sentence. It is an attempt to let us know how high and mighty we sometimes seem by what we say.)
     
  15. Frogman

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    You are right buckster75.

    Still, to use the passage as many attempt to is not in keeping with the context, nor the question of to whom the passage is written, when, and for what reason.

    It simply is not speaking of Christ 'wanting' into the heart of an individual.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  16. cojosh

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    *******************
    1 - What was said by the author to his intended audience?

    2 - How does #1 apply to people today?

    3 - What is the Holy Spirit saying to you, personally, in this particular point in your own life?

    The answer to 1 is always static.
    The answer to 2 will change as today changes, i but it will always be consistent, and relevant to #1.
    The answer to 3 is completely individual. The Holy Spirit may use a verse to speak to you differently than to another.
    *****************

    I agree if you're referring to application. A single or portion of scripture can be applied to different situations for different individuals. My statement was referring to individuals who might go to the extreme, in that they justify ignoring the context of a verse to produce an interpretation that distorts the message that God intended. I hope this clarifys my comment. Still, I believe scripture has one underlyong message and one that opposes the right one, is a wrong one.
     
  17. buckster75

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    Yes, you're correct Bro. Dallas.

    I do find (speaking for myself) the Spirit puts a verse there in my mouth that I know is not being used contextual.
     
  18. Frogman

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    I find many times scripture seems to be brought to my mind sometimes and it is shown in a different light, what we must be careful against is new light.

    there is illumination of the spirit, but not like 'new light'.

    That is what cojosh and the list that was made is speaking of.

    The Bible can certainly be used if we wanted to, to teach people they should get up early in the morning and go out and hang themselves.

    But that is an extreme stretching of verses.

    I think it is always safest to stick to the immediate application of the particular passage in its context and only extend that application where there is no harm done to the original application.

    But sometimes we are unable to accomplish this in our limited time. However, with years of consistent Bible study things will often open up to us that we have never been able to see before.

    Unless these things are in line with the rest of Scriptural teaching on our topic, however, they ought to be rejected by us.

    A case in point from my recent experience, just this last wed. even. I was attempting to teach from Colossians 1:13-20.

    When I do this I always comment on the greater context of the chapter first.

    But during the course of discussing these passages the attribute of the omnipresence of Christ is shown, consider the promise of Christ to be with the church alway, even until the end of the world (Matt. 28); then go to Matt. 18 and see where He makes a similar statement (where two or three of you are gathered together, there I am in the midst).

    Consider in Matt. 18 He is speaking of discipline in the already existing church. When it is accomplished correctly He is in the midst performing the work that is needed, supplying Grace, etec.

    Go a little farther if you will, see how that at any one time and any one place in all the world there may be (though hopefully not) need of a local body to discipline a member. The promise of Christ to the local body I serve is good as well, simultaneously to the local body in Bangkok, Amsterdam, etc. (His presence is in all places where the desire is to accomplish the necessary actions by His Leadership and through His Spirit).

    I had never been able to see Matt. 18 in that way before, others may have, but this was the first time I had that thought related to that passage of scripture.

    See my point?

    Bro. Dallas
     

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