Friday, January 30, 2009

The Top 8 Most Misinterpreted Scriptures

I stumbled across an article on Yahoo in which the writer took the reader through 8 commonly misinterpreted songs. She explained that many of us mistakenly bring our own personal experiences into the lyrics of a song and consequently twist the author's intended meaning.

This reminded me of how we sometimes interpret the Scriptures. We approach the Bible with a subjective and “what does it mean to me” mindset that makes the Scriptures susceptible to misinterpretation. Rather then examining the data and coming to a conclusion and applying the verse appropriately, we bring our own experiences and conclusions into the text.

Understanding what the text is saying and what the author intended it to say is key in interpreting Scripture. Part of this is knowing a verse's context in its literary form. As we read, we should as ourselves, "Why is this particular passage located in a particular book? What is the context of this passage in light of the entire book?"

We must also consider the historical form of a passage, which includes geography, economy, climate, agriculture, architecture, family life, morals, and social structure of the writers, characters, and readers.

Also take into consideration the Bible's uniqueness; 66 books were written over a 1,500-year-span containing poetry, songs, historical narratives and everything in between…written by more than 40 authors ranging from judges, kings, herdsmen, and fishermen…we’re not dealing with any ordinary book but the word of truth from God Himself. My point is if we desire to read and understand the Bible for ourselves, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we must approach the Scriptures carefully and rightly handle this word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Furthermore, the misinterpretation of Scripture can lead to all varieties of false teaching and heresy. Just turn on your television and watch any televangelist preaching and you’ll see what I mean.

With that said, I’ll be posting, in more detail, the top 8 most misinterpreted Scriptures in Christianity today (no pun intended) in the days to come. Usually when one verse of the Bible becomes popular, it typically gets taken out of context and stripped of its original meaning. You'll see it postedon calendars, mugs, and everything in between that you can find at your local Christian trinket shop. Hopefully my subsequent posts will bring some light to these verses.

And here is my list.

8. John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

7. Romans 8:37
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

6. Revelation 3:16
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of
my mouth.

5. Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD,and he will give you the desires of your heart

4. Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

3. Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

2. Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

1. Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

What about you? Do you have any to add?

*UPDATE: I know I haven't followed through on this post but I will dedicate more posts to each individual verse.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

KSBJ's 30 Day Gospel

Adding to the 40-days-to-do-this and 30-days-to-do-that hype, KSBJ is promoting a new
"30 Day Challenge" which promises to fill the listener’s heart and mind with “nothing but good things” in hopes that it will “change your life for Good”.You can read it for yourself:

We’re so excited that you’re starting 2009 with us, and the 30-Day Challenge. All last month, we were encouraging you to take "The Challenge" to change your listening habits, and spend the first 30-days of 2009 listening to KSBJ.

People who’ve done this before tell us (like any new habit) it’s difficult at first, but that they see results.

They’re less stressed, more peaceful; able to look beyond the little frustrations that used to bug them, and see God, where they’d never seen Him before.KSBJ is a voice of hope, on what sometimes seem like some very hopeless days. The music about God and His love for you, reminds us of the things in life that really matter, and according to others who’ve taken the 30-day challenge, begins to change them, for good.So, if you’re new to KSBJ – Welcome, and keep listening.

If we can answer any questions for you, don’t hesitate to ask. We want to be your voice of hope, connecting you to God.

Giving KSBJ the benefit of the doubt and seeing through the seeker sensitive jargon, it seems as if the Christian radio station is taking advantage of the new year by sharing a gospel. Here’s the problem though…after listening to KSBJ for 4 years (let alone 30 days), I cannot say that I have ever heard any gospel preached…let alone the biblical gospel.

And even when KSBJ superficially talks about God, they make no mention of sin, righteousness, and judgment and by leaving these attributes out of their conception of God, they consequently dismiss the Holy Spirit from having anything to do with their ministry (John 16:8). And without the Holy Spirit, men cannot come to Christ (John 3:3).

Furthermore, KSBJ preaches a moralistic and life-enhancement gospel in hopes that new listeners will change their bad habits but the bible does not teach a gospel that merely changes someone’s habits. Christ came to this earth for the chief purpose to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The problem is not that we need to outwardly change our life (moralism) but we need God to inwardly change our hearts, because by nature, we are corrupt human beings (Psalm 53:1, Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:21-23). And because we have all become corrupt from the core, God does not call us to change our bad habits but to repent of our sins (Acts 17:30).

And despite the bible's testimony, here’s their explanation as to why so many people fail in their efforts to achieve their New Year resolution.

• Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a Resolution study were confident of success with their New Year's resolutions, only 12% actually achieved their goals.
• Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, a system where small measurable goals are used, while women succeeded 10% more when they made their New Year's Resolution public and got support from their friends

Rather than looking to recent research, if KSBJ would open their bible they would recognize that even if we wanted to change, we are in bondage to our sinful desires and, therefore, will not and cannot change (Jeremiah 13:23). Without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, men will desire nothing good or “Good” for that matter (Romans 3:10-18).

If KSBJ wants to give people hope, they must first proclaim that all men are hopeless apart from Christ.

They must highly esteem God, who alone can change a man’s heart (Matthew 19:26).

They must see men as the bible sees men; guilty and hopeless criminals with deceitful hearts that are dead in their trespasses (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:19, Ephesians 2:1), and convince men of their sinful condition by the preaching of God’s moral Law.

And after all hope is crushed, they must proclaim that God's children are made alive through Christ and forgiven of our sins (Ephesians 2:4-6, Colossians 2:13). And only by being made alive through Christ will men have the power to change.

Rather than a quick 30 day fix, KSBJ should devote their time, energy, and efforts to preaching the gospel, and not just any gopel, but the biblical gospel that is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). And only the power of God through Jesus Christ, rather than spending 30 days listening to KSBJ, will ultimately make a wretched sinner a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).