Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Daily Message: Let the Word Lead ~ Philemon 1:6

I don't have any seminar training. In fact, I have no official training on the Bible at all. I took an Old Testament class in college, but that was approaching it more as literature than a study in theology. So everything I write or tell people about the Bible is what I've gleaned through listening to preachers and reading for myself.

That said, I should point out that at times I interpret verses or passages differently than what I hear from some preachers, or read in a book of Sunday School lessons. And sometimes, I think two people can have two differing (not conflicting) opinions on something written in the Bible and still both be correct.

By that, I do not mean the Bible is ambiguous, not in the least. Without a doubt, I believe it is the inspired Word of God. God didn't contradict Himself when He handed down the words to be penned. But I do believe His words were chose carefully, so carefully that the exact same words can offer guidance and advice in two completely different situations for two distinct readers of the Word.

I want to point out again, that I do not believe two people can have contradicting opinions on the meaning of a verse or passage, and both be correct. But I am convinced that you and I can sometimes read the exact same thing in the Bible and get two different things from it.

My interpretation of the scripture I read is based on my specific circumstances -- what I've been through, what I'm going through, and where I'm at, right now, at this moment in my walk with Jesus Christ. It never ceases to amaze me how often I can be struggling with something, or even know someone else struggling with something, and in my daily Bible study, encounter a verse or passage that treats exactly what it is on my mind. And that's the awesome power of God's Word, that He uses it to speak directly to us, as individuals, if we open ourselves to His counsel.
"I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ." ~ Philemon 1:6

All that said, it is possible to misinterpret what we read in the Bible. I know I did this for years with certain scriptures. I think this happens most often when we seek to use the Word of God to justify our own sense of right and wrong. Instead, we should always approach our Bible study willing to have our hearts changed. God didn't send us His Word to bolster our egos by proving our ideas and opinions right. He sent it so that we can have a road map to make our ideas and opinions conform to His sense of what's right.

And that's why my prayer today is that I don't lead anyone astray with what I write here, or with my use of the Bible in counseling others. I hope and pray that all those who encounter my writings and my preaching deepen their understanding of God's awesome power, His awesome love for each and every one of us, and His awesome Word that offers an answer to every dilemma we as humans can face.

I pray for wisdom when I seek to interpret and teach the Bible. I pray that I don't fall into the trap of misusing the Bible to justify my own beliefs anymore, but that I allow it to tell me what to believe. And I pray that i never lead anyone astray. Instead, I hope and pray that God will use me as a lantern through which His light shines, leading others through the darkness to His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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