Liberal “Christians” (and yes, we use the term very loosely) create some rather … ahem … strange ideas allegedly from the Bible like social justice, (which appears nowhere in the NT), abnormal definitions of sin, and more, usually resulting from the bizarre philosophy of post-modernism.
But the lurking question: how should we interpret the Bible?
Liberals frequently use methods allowing them to pick-and-choose what is—and is not—God’s Word. They thus can get whatever radical ideology they want; they claim to be “Christian” while denying the Bible.
How can we avoid the treachery of trendy? Let’s use common sense (instead of buzzwords and “scholarship”).
1. The Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God
Sure, for most Christians this is obvious. Yet some reject it for the Prego jar of the Bible containing the Word of God, not being the Word of God.
Thus, they can tell you what applies, and what doesn’t (since they’re “scholars”).
Of course, so-called scholars miss Paul to Timothy — “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”. Certainly Paul’s words to Timothy must be the first part of the Bible they deny … and it’s all downhill from there for the liberals.
2. God Wants You to Understand
It’s not locked to be available only for scholars. You don’t require a Phd to understand the Bible. Yes, a few theology concepts are challenging, but as Chuck Missler says the Bible is shallow enough for a child to wade in, yet deep enough for an elephant to immerse in.
God wants you to understand. No mediator (ahem — scholar) is required between yourself and God.
3. The Bible is all about Jesus
Sometimes you’ll come to something which just sounds strange or doesn’t seem to fit. In that case, try placing Jesus as the focus and see what happens.
For example, why would the Mosaic Law have a sacrifice when a leper is cured (Leviticus 14)? Leprosy was incurable.
Well, when you arrive at Matthew 8 and Jesus cleanses a leper, He tells the leper to “offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” That part of the Law lie dormant for thousands of years, waiting for one event to demonstrate Jesus’ deity.
4. Take the Bible seriously
When people hear you take the Bible seriously, you might get a reply you think God has feathers then, because we can take rest under shadow of His wings.
Wrong. Of course the Bible uses idioms and figures of speech. But when it specifies a period of time, for what reason would you ignore the actual, literal meaning? No logical one, to be sure.
Sometimes alternate ideas pop up because we don’t understand or see how something could work out. For example:
- Israel back in the land — absurd until 1948. Before then, “scholars” could either think it was a mistake, or it must have mant something else. No, it meant Israel would return to the land.
- Everyone seeing the abomination of desolation of the temple. Until satellite, how could Jesus’ warning be true? When you see it? But if cameras were in the temple, and using modern technology, it’s quite easy to see how the whole world will see events at the temple site.
- Flesh dissolving in Zechariah. Absurd with the ancient warfare of swords. But with modern atomic or biological weapons?
In the past, people questioned what those passages meant — simply because they couldn’t see how they worked. Well, we know they work exactly as written.
The Bible means what it says, and says what it means, or when the plain sense of the text makes sense seek no other sense.
5. The Bible doesn’t contradict itself
It’s internally consistent, thus if someone’s idea of what a passage means contradicts something else in the Bible, their wacky idea must be false.
For example, one of the hot topics is the idea you can lose your salvation. But suppose you can, what does that mean?
It means you do (or don’t) do something to earn your salvation (works), but worse, it means Jesus’ death on the cross was both insufficient and incomplete for salvation. I’ve yet to encounter a person claiming it’s possible to lose salvation be comfortable with those conclusions, yet they logically follow.
Since we’ve come to an absurd result and contradiction, the original idea (losing salvation) must be wrong.
6. The Bible says what it says, and people are free to accept or reject it.
You have free will to accept or reject any or all of the Bible as you see fit. Of course, liberals look rather silly trying to make the Bible agree with their radical ideology.
7. Physics helps with understanding
If you really want to dig into the Bible, many times Physics helps illuminate areas, or solve contentious issues. We covered this in our science and the Bible series, but consider these two examples:
- Calvinism vs Arminianism — solved by relativity.
- Zerubbabel’s mountain in Zechariah — Quantum Tunneling.
8. Don’t play Buzzword Bingo
Frankly, I don’t understand much of the fully buzzword compliant stuff. After reading some “scholarly” works, I’m left wondering what the #$@! they’re talking about. Perhaps you’ve experienced that problem as well.
I’m reminded of a Walter Martin story he had with a liberal professor while he was in school about a “scholarly” article in a magazine (which I’ll paraphrase):
“Did you see the article on Saturday?” (Martin to his professor)
“Yes, yes, very profound,” replies the liberal professor.
“You know sir I’m a hard worker — working though college — and money isn’t easy to come by.”
“Yes, you’re a hard worker Mr. Martin.”
“So sir, I’ll give you $100 if you can tell me what this means.”
[ Liberal professor ponders the article a bit ]
“Darned if I know!”
Scholars string together buzzwords meaning nothing. Don’t be intimated by buzzword-bingo. Most of the time it’s just garbage hand-waving, trying to trick you into buying what they’re shoveling by their volume, not their substance.
There you have it, 8 principles for studying your Bible.
- The Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God.
- God Wants You to Understand.
- The Bible is all about Jesus.
- Take the Bible seriously.
- The Bible doesn’t contradict itself
- People are free to accept or reject the Bible.
- Physics helps with understanding.
- Don’t play buzzword bingo.