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The Letters To The Churches

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by God_be_with_you, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. In almost any Christian community, believers follow the teachings of the apostles as law; but are we actually required to follow their teachings, or were they recommendations to the churches at the time of writing? This is something that has always troubled me. Are the rules that Peter, Paul, and the others wrote to the churches made by God or by man? If they are from God, surely God provided proof somewhere, but where?
  2. Could you point out where the "teachings of the apostles" is different from or conflicts with the commandments of Jesus Christ?

    Do what Christ has commanded. If you can manage that, you have done very well.
  3. We are dead to the law so there are no "rules". God didn't exchange one set of impossible laws with another set of impossible laws. He who is dead in Christ is dead to the Law - any. However, this is what Paul says:

    Romans 14:23b
    For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

    Whether you go to church or not. Whether you eat meat or not. Whether you go left or go right, it must all be done in faith that God will help us in whatever our current situation is, one step at a time.

    Psalms 37:23-24 (ESV2011)
    The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.

    What a helping Hand that is!
    Big Moose likes this.
  4. This is a very interesting question. The letters to the various churches were indeed written by man, but at the same time, the writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Luke 24:45 tells us that Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures. I take this to mean that they were given an understanding far and beyond anyone else. We ask the Holy Spirit to give us an understanding each time we read the bible, but they were given complete understanding. In that respect, I believe we should listen to what they say.

    However, in one of those letters (1 Corinthians 7:10), Paul clearly gives a command that is not God's, but his. Here, Paul freely admits this, so there may be other places in the letters that are the author's viewpoint and not necessarily God's.

    Each time we open the bible, we should pray that God will bring his Holy Spirit upon us to give us the understanding we need at that particular moment.
    Huntingteckel likes this.
  5. Here's the scope of our parameters in Christ...

    Galatians 5:1 (NLT)
    So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
    ASUK likes this.
  6. I like this question. I do take the letters seriously, but I don't exactly feel the need to follow the letter of all the suggestions. I do believe they are inspired, but so is a pastor when he stands up and speaks. If he started spouting off advice and rules I would definitely take note of it but like Abdicate said, we are not bound to rules. Grace has saved us.

    I follow what Jesus said is the most important commandments, love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. I feel that following those are enough regardless of what Paul thought.
    Tropicalbound likes this.
  7. 2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correctrion, for instruction in righteousness:
    2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    Man did not write the Bible, it was written by God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to man. Man was the pen in which God used to write his Words to us. Every Word in the bible is directly from God himself.
  8. If that were true then there wouldn't be different writing styles throughout the Bible. And like Tropical said, Paul specifically said that something in his letters were his idea and not God's. If God dictated the whole Bible then why would that be in there? Also, the Gospels obviously has discrepancies in them, proving they were eye witness accounts or written like a journalist would write an article, by interviewing eye witnesses. No, God didn't dictate it but He inspired it. Every writer was deeply moved by God and wrote down their experiences. That doesn't make the Bible any less important. I honestly feel that if the Bible was dictated by God then it would be disrespectful to translate it. Something is always lost in translation, and that would be a disgusting thing to do to something God wrote Himself.

    I have a feeling we are just going to have to agree to disagree here, which is fine. I respect your stance on the subject. Different opinions is what makes life interesting :)
    ASUK and Tropicalbound say Amen and like this.
  9. I think this is a little (or way too much) dangerous stand.. Yes, Bible is inspired.. But we also call it Word of God.. It is to be considered of supreme authority.. We don't worship the Word.. But the Word in its entirety points to Jesus Christ.. The Holy Spirit illuminates the Word to reveal Christ to us.. That is how we know more about God.. I don't know we can call any of the preaching or writings today to be inspired and equivalent to Word of God.. When Paul says we should test the spirit, against what are we to test? Against scriptures! Scriptures are our golden standards..
  10. A good question to talk about!

    These are writings of men, inspired by God.. They penned them down with Holy Spirit moving them.. So pretty much they are directly from God.. Also, may of them were written for specific churches.. For example, Paul wrote letters to Corinth church addressing specific problems there and the questions they raised.. I think they are very much applicable today as long as we read them with the full context and understanding.. The entire Bible deals with spiritual aspects of life than simple cultural aspects.. So we should look at it from that perspective.. The spiritual condition of man has not changed.. Culturally we might have changed, but not spiritually.. So the letters are very much applicable for us today.. So the writings are for us as well.. We don't have to follow it like a law.. That is not the purpose.. It shows the "way of life"
  11. I agree that the Bible is the most important collection of books we have. People assume that I don't take the Bible seriously when I say that, but obviously I do since I spend so much of my time reading it. I also don't toss anything aside while reading. I take every verse seriously and try my best to follow all the advice written.

    I have called the Bible the "Word of God" before. Many times actually. But I believe it contains the Word of God rather than every word being from God. I just can't see the Bible as being dictated by God. It doesn't make sense if I look at it that way.
  12. I know you take Bible very seriously :) I have spent enough time here reading your posts to know that.. I really wanted to sound as polite as possible.. Probably we will disagree on this forever..

    You are right.. It is not like a dictation (what muslims claim!) That is why we use the word "inspired".. It is directly from God, penned down by man.. Naturally, as man received it and penned it down, it got mixed with his style of writing. Does not mean the message has toned down or errors have been introduced.. Paul says "All scripture is breathed out by God".. Inerrancy of Bible is so crucial.. If we say there could be some errors, then how we are to say what is just an error and what is the truth?

    Psalm 12:6
    And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times

    So in summary, the style and tone of writing could be different.. That does not mean the message carried out has any kind of errors.. Bible is inerrant and it is Word of God
  13. You came off as polite. We might disagree forever, but that's alright. This isn't a salvation issue so I won't try to convert anyone.

    See, inerrancy is a non issue to me. I could be wrong, but that only applies to the original autographs correct? That means that errors introduced by scribes and different variants in the manuscripts (possibly added by scribes) don't count. That means that our current Bible (especially translations) aren't inerrant. Besides, like what I said earlier, something is always lost in translation. Like poetry, for instance. Sometimes when reading Psalms I imagine how it sounded in the original language. I imagine it sounded much better than the short sentences strung together we have currently and I also think a lot of the potency that we can only have through poetry is gone because of the translation.

    Some people think that the if you believe the Bible isn't inerrant than you get to pick and choose what you can believe. I don't really do that. I go by Jesus' teachings and branch out from there. All teachings in the Bible are important but they all stem from two commandments. If you follow those two commandments then you will be following what God wants from you whether you have even read the rest of the Bible.
  14. There are many places where translation problems exist. God's will that all be saved or God's desire that all be saved, and so on. So our translated copies will be less accurate. That is why I read many different versions when something is unclear, or could be taken different ways. The best way to glean the meaning, did I just coin a phrase?, is to compare scripture with other scripture, since God would not have it disagree.
    Huntingteckel likes this.
  15. Well, there are people on both side of the fences.. Some believe only the original autographic texts are inerrant.. Some believe our current Bible as such is inerrant... I don't have a problem with either of the view.. I will stick to the first view.. Because clearly translations often introduces some confusion..Some translation do better than others.

    I think Bible scholars have clearly established at least 99% of the modern text reflects the original text accurately.. The remaining 1% really should not change the message itself..

    I think studying Word of God is very crucial for a believer.. It is manna for the soul.. Also, if we look at armor of God, it is the only offensive weapon we have.. It is very important to equip ourself with the sword.. I firmly believe that God would use his Word to speak to us more often than anything else.. When we seek Lord with genuine hearts, often we will find Him leading us to his Word..
    Tropicalbound likes this.
  16. I wouldn't have any issue with someone saying that the original autographs were inerrant, but there is no way to prove that and it would have no effect on us today so I don't know why people would make a fuss over it. I do kind of cringe when people rub their English translation bible and say there are no errors in it though. I'm not saying that there are any major errors or anything, but there has to be parts that can't be translated into English properly. My wife is Spanish and sometimes she'll try to describe a Spanish saying to me and she has to spend thirty minutes saying "it's like this but also like this but not like that." I'm sure there are parts where the translators are scratching their heads about how exactly to bring something over to English and still keep the meaning. I think sometimes it can't be done.

    The Bible is a powerful collection of books. It's amazing how God can speak through them. I was really anxious before work a few days ago and I was reading Psalms and I asked God to comfort me and bam. The next page had this on it.

    If the Lord had not been my help,
    My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
    If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”
    Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
    When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
    Your consolations delight my soul.
    Can a throne of destruction be allied with You,
    One which devises mischief by decree?
    They band themselves together against the life of the righteous
    And condemn the innocent to death.
    But the Lord has been my stronghold,
    And my God the rock of my refuge.
    He has brought back their wickedness upon them
    And will destroy them in their evil;
    The Lord our God will destroy them.
    Psalms 94:17-23

    My anxious thoughts were multiplying and God spoke through the Bible to let me know it was going to be okay. I was still anxious but not in the crippling way that I was before reading that.

    This has been a wonderful discussion, by the way. Very civil and enjoyable despite some disagreement. This shows that we can disagree and still be nice!
    Big Moose and Ravindran say Amen and like this.
  17. If you go back and read what Paul said about he was giving his thoughts by permission on the matter and not by commandment from God, but at the end he said, "I believe I have the Spirit of God" Every thing Paul said at that point he thought came by way of the Holy Spirit in him

    1Co 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

    1Co 7:40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

    If we do not believe the Word of God is directly from Him, how then can we know for sure what truth really is?
  18. That's a good point, but I still don't see how it makes a difference. Don't all Christians have the Spirit of God? What makes that any different from a very good Christian writing you a letter full of advice?

    Even if I don't believe God reached out and forced someone to write all the words, I still believe that what is in the Bible is true. I don't pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe just because I don't think God told the writers exactly what to say. Obviously God protected these writings for a reason and that's enough for me to make it the most important collection of books in my life.

    It's interesting to me that most people that hold that the Bible is inerrant have a real "all or nothing" attitude about it. In fact, some of those people drop their faith completely upon finding something that looks like an error to them. If I found something that I believed to be an error it wouldn't change a thing for me. I'm not saying that I couldn't be wrong. I could be told at the Judgement that I was wrong about this and I don't think it would effect anything. The Bible is not even necessary for salvation, so I'm not sure why there is such a need for us to have something perfect and written by God.
  19. Well, there is one thing that we must understand, and that is faith comes by hearing hearing by the Word of God. With out the Word of God where would our faith come from? God does speak to man and he also speaks through man to others. The Bible is our check and balances to everything so we don't go off course. When the Lord teaches me something new, he always takes me to his Word and confirms his truth by it. If there is no confirmation I don't believe it. There has to be a standard in which we can put our trust in. There are no errors in the Bible it is only in our misunderstanding that makes it look a error.
  20. So, you think that we can't be Christians without the Bible? What about the early Christians, or the ones that don't have a translation in their language yet? I don't consider the Word of God to only be the Bible.

    There are no errors in what Bible? Your English Bible? There are translation issues in every Bible. An English Bible cannot be perfect. What about all the discrepancies in the Gospels? Different things happened at different times depending on what book you're reading. Those are only errors if you believe that God wrote every word in the Bible. I believe that they are eye witness accounts, or based on eye witness accounts so they don't bother me. How do you answer that? Did God need four different authors to get the point across or did He keep messing up so He tried with another author?

    I can't tell if my tone is coming off as aggressive so I apologize if it is. It's not my intention to sound insulting or anything either, so please forgive me if it sounds that way.

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