For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 Amplified Bible)
Too Much is too much!
We are living in a day in which we’re continually being made aware of what we eat. Going to the doctor’s office and sitting in the waiting room, you can’t help from picking up a Health Magazine and thumbing through the pages. There are articles and ads reminding us as we wait to hear our name called, eat wisely, avoid junk food, and be sure to read labels on cans and boxes before we buy them. All to confirm that the contents will be HEALTHY for us. By the time the doctor finally enters the scene, asking the peruvial question–“So how have you been feeling since the last time I saw you?” After spending 15 minutes reading every magazine available, I’m tempted to answer: “Evidently, LOUSY!”
But how many of us are as concerned about our SPIRITUAL DIETS as we are about are natural ones? Are we using discernment in choosing the material we read, the Christian programs we watch, or the preachers we listen to?
Are we able to distinguish between the MEAT and the MIXTURE? The HOLY and the PROFANE?
Many people today are so used to mixture, they’ve lost a taste for what is pure. Lavish presentations, displays and methods to get our attention to the given message. They often become more important than what is being served and the servers more important than what they serve–sitting down at the spiritual “table of reason”: “If it looks good and multitudes are eating it, then it must be OK.”
EXEGESIS: A Healthy Diet Plan, Rich in Protein needed for a spiritual health awakening –
The definition of Exegesis: An “exposition or explanation.” [*Footnote [i] ]
BIBLICAL EXEGESIS involves the examination of a particular text of Scripture in order to properly interpret it. Good biblical exegesis is actually commands us in to do so in 2 Timothy 2:15:
Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth” (Amplified Bible).
Exegesis has many principles, as most diet plans do. But in this blog, I want to put the emphasis on the Literal Principle to help in being faithful to the plan– [Note: See Footnote [ii] for the other principles of “exegesis’.)
QUESTION: “Can/Should we interpret the Bible as literal?”
Not only can we take the bible literally, we must take the bible literally.
It is the only way to determine what God really is trying to communicate to us. When we read any piece of literature, especially the Bible, you must determine what the author intended to communicate.
Over the years in my Christian life, I’ve listened to many sermon messages. I’ve heard many well-meaning pastors, who will read a verse or passage of Scripture, then give their own definition to the words, phrases, or paragraphs, ignoring the context and the authors intent.
“JUNK FOOD” Preachers serve up a diet of unhealthy, fast food, but little else–real“meat” is never on the “reason table.”
But this isn’t what God intended, which is why God tells us to correctly handle the Word of Truth (discernment)–the “meat”–the “spiritual food” according to 2 Timothy 2:15.
One Good Reason to take the Bible literally?
Because JESUS took it literally; He had no appetite for “junk food.”. Whenever Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, it was always clear that He believed in its literal interpretation.
As an example, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in LUKE 4, He answered by quoting the Old Testament–word for word. If God’s commands in Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:23, and 6:16 were not literal… then Jesus would not have used them and been powerless to stop Satan’s mouth, which by the way, certainly did!
The disciples also took the commands of Christ (which are a part of the Bible) literally.
Jesus commanded the disciples to GO–make more disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
And in Acts 2, we find that the disciples took Jesus’ command literally and went through the known world of that time preaching the Gospel of Christ, telling them to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be SAVED” (Acts 16:13).
Just as the disciples took Jesus’ words literally, so must we. How else can we be sure of our salvation if we don’t believe Him when He says “He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10); to pay the penalty for our sin (Matthew 26:28) and, provide eternal life” (John 6:54)?
A Side Note of EXEGESIS: FIGURES OF SPEECH PRINCIPLE –
Although we should take the Bible literally, there are still figures of speech within the pages. An example of a figure of speech would be if someone said, “it’s raining cats and dogs outside,” you would know they didn’t really mean cats and dogs were falling from the sky. They would mean it’s raining really hard.
There are figures of speech in the Bible NOT to be taken literally, but those are obvious (See Psalm 17:8 for example).
“Junk Food” OR “Meat” on the table–It’s our CHOICE:
Some of what we are eating in these last days, is frighteningly unhealthy. Let me give you some examples of the types of spiritual “junk food” (“wrong thinking”) being served, along with the “meat” (“solid food” – 1 Cor. 3:2) we should be eating instead.
FOOD CHOICES –
JUNK FOOD: Times and conditions in our society have changed in defining gender roles in the church today. Women can and should be designated Pastors; having authority over everyone in the body of Christ. The principles instilled in the early church by the Apostle Paul were purely cultured, therefore inapplicable to believers in the church of the 21st Century.
MEAT: “In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself (John 1:1); “O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination” (1 Timothy 6:20); “Let a woman learn in quietness, in entire submissiveness. Allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence [in religious assemblies]. For Adam was first formed, then Eve” (1 Timothy 2:11-13).
There are many roles today for a woman to serve in ministry along side of men–still adhering to the literal understanding of the Word of God. Remember, God spoke through the Apostle Paul.
JUNK FOOD: Because God “so loved the world,” we must accept all religions in the name of love without insisting the followers repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
MEAT: “For God did not send His Son into the word to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:17-19 NIV).
JUNK FOOD: Apostles, prophets, and pastors have absolute authority. “Because I am your appointed leader, you are to respect and obey me without question no matter how I live or what I do.”
MEAT: “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:17-19 NKJV).
JUNK FOOD: It’s not necessary to deal with your sin; just think positive thoughts about yourself and others. Don’t worry, be happy!
MEAT: “If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts]. If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformance to His will in purpose, thought and action]” (1 John 1:8-9)
JUNK FOOD: “Michelle and I join our fellow Americans and others around the world in commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia tomorrow, May 17–2015.” [the President of the United States quote: Constitution Rising.com].
MEAT: “So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]. For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions…” (Romans 1:20 b., 21, 23, 26 a).
THE RESULTS OF OUR EATING POORLY:
In a spiritual sense, the result are numerous.
— We forget our WITNESS in favor of majority thinking.
— Popularity overrules purity.
— Fear of man replaces the fear of God–“to RESPECT and HONOR God in our lives with the audacity to obey His Word.”
Acceptance of JUNK FOOD translates into allowance… and love loses its power because of our fear of being judgmental.
FINALLY, when we make ourselves as the final UMPIRE–of which parts of the Bible are to be interpreted LITERALLY, we elevate ourselves above God.
Who is to say then, one persons interpretation of a biblical event or truth, is more valid than another’s? Confusion and distortions would inevitably result from such a system that it would render the Scriptures null and void.
THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD to us and He meant it to be believed–literally and completely. Are you ready to get started on the healthiest diet plan available? It starts with Genesis and finishes with the Revelation to John.
Footnotes & Credits for this post:
Footnote [i] and [ii] – What is good biblical exegesis? Got Questions.org
Credit to, Ministry Today, Iverna Tompkins Learn to Discern Spiritual Junk Food.
Photo Credits: Google Images and Photo Pin (Shutterstock).
Bible Credits: Amplified Bible translation, except where noted in text.