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When Bible Study Isn't

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by mistmann, May 25, 2011.

  1. There seems to be an almost universal problem with Bible Studies I have found, and it is this - they don't study the Bible.
    Instead they study commentry on the Bible, traditional teachings, interpretations, theology, church doctrine and teachings, the word of popular evangelists preachers, etc. Bible study SHOULD be about what the Lord has declared. Instead it seems to be about what everybody but the Lord has declared.
    The underlying problem is that people are taught that we are not capable of reading and understanding the Bible for ourselves but must be TOLD by our churches, by preachers, theologians and other "experts" what the Bible says and what it means and what we should believe. This is actually quite contrary to Biblical teaching. The ways and words of the world are not the ways and words of The Lord.
    The following questions are not intended to invoke debate but careful thought and discussion. They are not questions we should ask each other, they are questions we should ask OURSELVES and I encourage all who read this to prayerfully do so:-

    So lets begin with this question. If understanding of the Scriptures comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit as the Bible clearly declares, and we are instructed by Christ to test EVERY spirit to see if it comes from God why is it most churches and denominations stress that it is only possible to properly understand the Bible if you allow THEM, and not the Holy Spirit dwelling in YOU, to interpret it for you?
    After all does not EVERY spirit include the spirit of the very churches who want to teach us that the way THEY interpret the Bible is the correct way and the way WE also should interpret it? But how can WE test the spirit of the churches and the Church leaders if WE do not properly understand the scriptures FIRST??
    Who then should I listen to and who should I test?? The spirit that dwells within, or the spirit that speaks from without, be it a preacher, a church, or anybody else who claims to be a "Christian".??
    But the Lord instructs me to test EVERY spirit to see if it from the Lord and that includes the spirit within as well as the multitude of spirits without. But how can I test them against an INTERPRETATION of the word. for whose interpretation is correct and whose is not? Even interpretations must be tested to see which comes from God and which do not.
    The reality is there is ONE and ONLY one thing I can test EVERY Spirit against and that is the word of God AS IT IS WRITTEN, not as it is "interpreted" by anybody, myself included. In short what is it the Bible ACTUALLY says there on the page. Not how somebody has read it but how the Lord Himself WROTE it.
    The only measure and authority for the TRUTH that we have is what the Lord Himself has WRITTEN, not how somebody has "interpreted" or "understood" it. We can only test against what is written, not what is "interpreted".
    Why is it that not even the mainstream churches and denomonations will teach THIS word and promise from the Lord Himself??
    In the end it really boils down to one single question - WHERE does our faith and trust really lay? In the word and promises of the Lord Himself (the Bible) as HE has written them, or in the words and promises of other people WHOEVER they may be?
    Will we look to and trust the Lord to direct our paths or will we look to, and allow ourselves to be directed by, somebody else? Will we seek true understanding from the Lord and His Holy Spirit or merely be satisfied with a mere human "interpretation" without testing to see if it is actually true or not (for how can we test it if we do not FIRST have true understanding of the word from the Lord?
    Regards Misty.
  2. That's all fine and dandy, but there is a church authority for a reason, and this too was established by Our Lord. The problem is that there is no shortage of well meaning but foolish mortals who think that every odd thought they have is inspired by the Holy Spirit (Camping is a great example of this type of stupidity straight out of the current news).

    Just as I would never trust my transmission to any yahoo who thinks he can fix it just as well as a trained mechanic, I do not trust people who claim
    that their knowledge of scripture is just as valid and insightful as someone who spent 4+ years in Seminary. While I do not in any way support the notion of blind obedience to church authority I also do not trust my own intuition too much, for just like them, I screw up on occasion.

    "Not how somebody has read it but how the Lord Himself WROTE it."
    I'm confused, what book is it that you think the Lord wrote?
    laterunner likes this.
  3. Amen to that!!!!!!

    That's says a whole lot! If we cannot trust an Earthly authority to guide us justly in all matters and times, then he is useless. Why would Jesus give us an "authority" to follow who cannot consistently be trusted? What need of the Holy Spirit to guide us, if we have a physical guide on earth who can easily be heard and seen by all?

  4. But understand that I am not speaking of our OWN intuition, I am speaking of the indwelling Holy Spirit. That GUIDE and
    Counsellor Jesus declares DOES reside in and grant understanding and wise counselling to all who will listen to HIM. Not that He resides out there in somebody else (He does but that means only that He will counsel them with the SAME counsel), but that He resides there in US to do with us the very same thing He has done for EVERY brother and sister in Christ, from the GREATEST to the least. That great preacher, that great theologian, that big church in all its finery and pomp has no greater access to the truth than EACH ONE OF US who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Holy spirit that guides them is (or at least should be) the very SAME Holy Spirit that personally guides us IF we seek out HIS counsel and allow ourselves to be guided by HIM.
    If we are all following the same Holy Spirit to the same Jesus Christ and the same Lord almighty should we not all arrive at the same place eventually - and independently?
    We are exhorted by Christ to listen carefully to what the Spirit says to the seven churches. What the Spirit is saying is that the churches CAN, and many HAVE gone horribly astray, substituting their own (or other strange) doctrines and teachings for those of Christ. The Spirit condemned those CHURCHES. BUT the promises He made were to the INDIVIDUALS who clung to and followed the teachings and doctrines of Christ as delivered by HIS Apostles DESPITE what their churches were doing and saying.
    But ask yourself HOW do you test to see if what a church teaches is from God or not if you are relying on THEM to interprete the scriptures for you? Many people will quote scripture to you and then TELL you what it says according to THEIR interpretation. But can you not read the words for yourself and SEE what they actually say? Can you not test THEIR interpretation against what the Lord has ACTUALLY said? Especially if you have earnestly sought the wisdom and understanding of the Holy Spirit to do so?
    Remember what Jesus said:-
    Do we not have the faith to believe that if WE ask the Lord to fill US with the Holy Spirit and ask EARNESTLY and CONTINUALLY that He grant US the wisdom and understanding that we might know and understand the truth of His word for ourselves that He will grant it - to US?
    Why ask anything of the indwelling Holy Spirit if you do not have the faith and trust to believe He can actually do what you ask?
  5. But that is the point - how can you trust EITHER of them unless YOU test FOR YOURSELF what they say to see if it comes from God, or just from their own imagination or just from what the seminary teaches them which may or may not accord with the word of God? It is not about being guided by this or that person,. being "carried about by every wind of doctrine" but of growing up in the KNOWLEDGE of Christ and the word of the LORD Himself.
    The Bible!
    But if you are concerned about the New Testament then consider the words of this OT prophecy and how our 66 book Bible came to be as the churches of the Apostles, those who feared the Lord, came together and spoke often, beginning with the great council of churches at Nicaea in 325AD at the beginning of the 1,000 year reign of the Byzantine Christian Empire established by Constantine (which is Latin for faithful and true) the Great under the name and sign of Christ Jesus:-
  6. When I was a very young Christian, and old and wise saint told me, "Whatever you hear or read, no matter who said or wrote it, learn to chew the meat and spit out the bones." It is advice I have lived by all my Christian life.

    Yes, I totally agree that each of us has the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and we need to learn to be led by Him, and to be instructed by Him. Too many Christians try to live as though the Holy Spirit did not even exist, let alone live IN THEM - and as a result either try to do and understand everything in their own strength, or rely on others to do and think for them.

    That said, I think it is gross spiritual pride to think that we are the ONLY ones who can be led by the Spirit. Over the last 2000 years there have been many men and women who have listened to Him, and as a result have shed light on the Word of God. And yes, some of that understanding has been picked up and incorporated into church teaching.

    I believe that it is wisdom to listen to what the Spirit has said to and through others, as well as what He is saying to me personally. I, like everyone else, have my own lenses of personal experience, prejudice and simple stupidity that sometimes block or distort what the Spirit is trying to show me. Sometimes they need the correcting glasses of the wisdom that God has given to others.

    I have also learned over the years that to reject something just because it is taught by a particular individual, church or denomination can all-too-often be to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Sometimes God wraps His truth in the most unlikely packages, just to see whether we really want it.


    Major, mistmann and Natty says Amen and like this.
  7. I agree with you on this. I think that we all have seen just that right here on this forum where one person has his opinion of a scripture and has fought tooth and nail for it even when it is proven that his opinion is not Scriptually sound.
    We I think must use the wisdom and learning of others to help us along with the guidence of the Holy Spirt.
    I love your statement about eating the good and spitting out the bones. That is an excellent picture of the learning process.
  8. Yes it is important to remember that we DO have brothers and sisters in Christ and are a PART of something much bigger than just ourselves. I use to wonder if I was the only one who could see the things nobody seem to be teaching but when I began to read the writings of the leaders of the early churches of the Apostles (pre 325AD) and of Eusebius and even Constantine the Great (the RC began to play with our history a bit after that) I was amazed at how much in accordance with THEIR beliefs I was. THESE too were my brothers in Christ believing in the same Christ and the same teachings and understandings of Christ that I do. I also feel the same bond with the Apostles and those of the OT. I began to appreciate that my brothers and sisters in Christ not only stretch out around the world but throughout the entire history of the human race as well.
    BUT what I also began to understand is that the spirit in me KNOWS in who else He dwells and I find there is a bond I "feel" with my brothers and sisters in Christ that I do not feel with those who are not.
    HOWEVER what I do appreciate is that the acid test is ALWAYS does it accord with the word of the Lord? And to apply that test I must ensure that not only must I KNOW what the Lord has actually said, I must ensure my OWN understanding accords with it. The sad thing is I find, these days so few preaching and teaching what the Bible actually says and so many preaching and teaching what the Bible does NOT say, using "interpretation" and "tradition" and "theology" etc. as a licence to preach and teach that which is at variance or contrary to what the Lord has actually declared. That is why moreso now than ever we must get back to properly understanding what it is the Lord is actually saying by the actual .words HE wrote, not what this or that person THINKS He wrote.
  9. Jas 3:1 My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers will be judged more strictly than others.
  10. That is true. The church authority is there to guide us and they are not always going to be in accordance with what God is really saying and we can and will only see and understand the real meaning of the Scriptures if we are going to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and teach us. So I am in agreement with Lynn about what she said:
    While I am thankful for the discipline in studying the Scriptures I have received in my old church, I am learning to embrace what Paul has said in Romans 14: "1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions..........13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.".
  11. Nobody can interprete the words of God in the Holy Bible! Only God through His very words, and this is by "divine revelation" that the "intended message" can be clearly discerned. In the beginning of the ministry of JESUS CHRIST, He already demonstrated this when He told His listeners:

    "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." (Joh 2:19)

    HUMAN interpretation and result!

    John 2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

    Matthew 27:40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

    Divine revelation and result!

    John 2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

    John 2:22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

    Warning and rebuke!

    2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
  12. And you , with your interpretation, have missed the point of my post by miles.
    Don't be so quick to claim that your thoughts are divinely guided.
  13. Is that exactly what you meant to say? Or would you like an opportunity to word that comment a little differently?

    A wise decision, yet, seminaries are filled with human teachers, many of whom are teaching their own opinions these days.

    True! And while we can't discern the saved from the unsaved, we can discern Christians from christians.

    Christians adhere to all the same basic and essential doctrines, while christians believe various extra-biblical doctrines and reject some Biblical doctrines.
    gemma likes this.
  14. The comment I was responding to was " I also do not trust my own intuition too much, for just like them, I screw up on occasion."
    The point I was endeavouring to get across was that those who a indwelt by the Holy Spirit do not "disappear". The Spirit is ADDED to them to guide,comfort and counsel. We must always be careful to distingiush, in ourselves, between the voice of the Spirit and our own internal "voice". I am not saying that people should rely on their own intuition but allow the Holy Spirit to speak over it where He feels it is necessary to do so.
    We TEST which voice we are hearing in the same way we test the spirits that are in those who speak to us. By seeing if it accords with what the Lord has ACTUALLY written. The Bible is the INDEPENDENT word of the Spirit against which we can test all words. It is the words of the Spirit that are external to ALL people and against which they can test not only the Spirit in each other, but the Spirit in themselves also, which is actually much more important to do.
    When I seek to understand what the Lord has written the very first thing I do is ensure I do not try and interpret it or let somebody else (church, theologian, cleric, commentator, etc.) tell me what it says. I concentrate all my efforts on carefully (and prayerfully) READING what it is the Lord has actually written (using pure translation aids such as Strong's if necessary to ensure I grasp what the ORIGINAL writer intended it to say). I then seek to understand HOW what the Lord has said is true, having absolute faith it IS true precicely as it is written.
    For example Revelation says only those beheaded for Christ are raised before the 1,000 years and that is the FIRST resurrection to occur, but the rest of the dead are not raised until sometime AFTER the 1,000 years. And that after the 1,000 years Satan is released to deceive the nation and to gather them against Israel. So when elsewhere in the Bible we read that Jesus returns AFTER the nations have gathered against Israel for battle, and that when Jesus returns ALL the dead in Christ and all those in Christ still living will rise up in the air to be with Him ALWAYS. Then it is clear that the 1,000 years MUST occur sometime well BEFORE Jesus returns (to allow time for Satan to gather the nations).
    I then noted that what the Lord wrote does NOT say that Jesus will reign for 1,000 years, especially as Jesus had already said ALL power and authority over Heaven and Earth had already been given to Him even before He ascended. What it actually says is that those beheaded for Christ will be raised and THEY will reign with Him for 1,000 years. It does not refer to the time Jesus reigns but to the time those beheaded for Christ reign with Him.
    Consequently all those many, many people that preach that Jesus will return to the Earth and reign for 1,000 years upon it are actually preaching and teaching CONTRARY to the word of Christ.
    But that is only one example of many, many commonly accepted or traditional teachings that are actually not in accordance with what the Bible really says.
    But then I see the nations being gathered together against Israel and I then ask my self Hey doesn't THAT happen AFTER the 1,000 years. If that is happening NOW then that means the 1,000 years must have already happened in the past. That lead me to find out where the world might have hidden 1,000 years it does not want anybody to know about. And that lead me to the DARK Ages and the 1,000 year Byzantine CHRISTIAN Empire.
  15. PS: Does anybody know why the space between the paragraphs are being removed after I post my responses, even if I do a double return? Do I now have to use a code to make the sytem leave a gap between the paragraphs?
  16. We sit in a Bible study with a human teacher. We study the Bible by ourselves either with just the Bible or with a commentary or other books to help. In either case we have the Holy Spirit we trust to guide us into the truth.
    Just because we access a human teacher or a commentary doesn't mean we negate our dependance on the Holy Spirit. We do depend on Him but teachers are necessary. Acts 8:30-31 "And Phillip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man guide me?"

    I would say, however, that even at this point one has already developed a method of 'interpretation' of the Bible. This is proabably based on ones first teacher or learning experience of the Bible. And I find that one can say they are trusting the Holy Spirit, but they will trust Him to interpret through the method they already have adapted. The two main schools being 'allegorical' and 'literal'. But you can have other doctrinal factors such as Covenant Theology or Dispensationalism involved. So, its important for the believer to know what method he is using and why. This doesn't discount the Holy Spirit because I assure you, everyone has a method of 'interpretation'. So, I always encourage a study of Biblical interpretation.

    A believer who rejects any learning of Christians that have gone before him, either through teachers or commentaires, and wants only to trust the Holy Spirit, is going to grow very slowly and proabably will go astray doctrinally.

  17. I understand what you are saying and I am not advocating the abandoning of Bible studies. Rather that our focus should always be what the Bible itself says, not what others tell us or try to convince us it says.
    Let me demonstrate. OK We are at a Bible study. We have a Bible Study leader / teacher, the Bible and the indwelling Holy Spirit. HOW are you going to make sure that what the Bible study leader is telling you is in fact correct? If you are working with an "interpretation" or "Theology" HOW are you going to make sure that what IT is telling you is correct?
    Remember all you have is THEIR word, the LORD's word and the word of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Whose word will you place your trust in and whose word will you test against it? If you do not test the word of the Study leader / interpretation / theology against the word of the Lord it means you are placing more trust in THEIR word than in the word of the Lord Himself. Clearly you must always test the word of others against the word of the Lord. But that means *YOU* must understand what the LORD himself is saying, not what you are being told by others He is saying. THAT you have to test to see if it accords with what the Lord Himself has said.
    It is always essential that Bible Study be about what the BIBLE actually says, not what others are telling you it says. We learn what the Bible actually says in order to equip ourselves to TEST against it those very interpretations and Theologies you speak of to see which speak of the truth and which do not. The majority of them actually do not accord with what the Lord Himself has declared. But you can only discern that if you pay careful attention to what the Lord has, and has not, actually said in HIS word.
    Until WE, in the counsel of the indwelling Holy Spirit, can understand what the Bible actually does and does not say we cannot discern which of those Interpretations and Theologies you speak of are true and which are not, for the test of truth is "does it accord with what the Lord has actually said?" How can you apply that test if you do not *FIRST* understand what the Lord has and has not actually said?
    Does that clarification help?
  18. PS: I note you are a new member and I meant to start my post off by welcoming you to CFS but realised too late I had not put it in. So it's a bit late but welcome :).
  19. I believe most Bible teachers and students of the Bible would agree that we always trust God, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit over any human book or teacher. That being said, you still need Bible teachers, be it in the form of books or human teachers.

    If one is a new believer in Christ, how does he know anything other than Jesus Christ died for him and He is the Lord and Saviour? The ones who witnessed to him, where he goes to church, all play a role now in how he understands the Bible. His 'interpretation'.

    Just like with you. How do you interpret the Bible? Literally or allegorically? Are you Dispensational or Covenant theologian? How did you decide which is the correct method of interpreting?

    Thanks for the welcome.

  20. yes this is true, but when do we draw the line? when the " Church Authority " has become corrupt? for this very reason, the " world " is laffing its rear end off at the church, they even say, " Why should i become like them? " i mean don't get me wrong here, there's some very awesome church's out there and i've been to a few of them, but there's those that are in it, for their own gain/s and this is the sadest part of all, so where do we draw the line?


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