Distractive Biblical Obsession (Part 1)

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Introduction

This is the beginning of a series on how an all too common distractive obsession of the scriptures, which are only meant to point to Christ, hinders us from the magnificent obsession over Jesus to which the scriptures call us.

I have had my fair share of biblical obsession and have experienced its negative consequences. I’m learning to treat the bible like a book rather than, as I once did, a tool for divine divining.

My purpose in writing this series isn’t to criticize the most popular perspective on the scriptures among christians. But most of what I write will be directed toward that, and this is because that perspective guides the way in which the people who hold that perspective relate with God. My primary purpose is to propose a better way of relating with God and how the scriptures play into that relationship.

Part 2

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10 thoughts on “Distractive Biblical Obsession (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Distractive Biblical Obsession (Part 2) | Supernatural Gospel

  2. Dear Super,
    Super,

    “the scriptures, which are ONLY meant to point to Christ”

    Just curious, but why do you personally believe this – that this is the ONLY purpose of the scriptures?

    In fact, how do you even know they are meant to point us to Christ? Is this simply your personal opinion about the Bible?

    just curious.

    • I am convinced that the scriptures point to Christ for various reasons. I did not give my reasons why because I knew that most people reading this would not disagree.

      But like I said in one of the posts of this series, thinking that the scriptures have a purpose at all is an assumption. So ultimately I wouldn’t say that the purpose of the scriptures is to point to Christ, but that, simply, they do point to Christ (regardless of whether or not they have a purpose).

      And yes, everything I post here is simply, and merely, my personal opinion, like everything anyone has ever written :]

  3. Super says:

    “I am convinced that the scriptures point to Christ for various reasons.”

    Is one of those reasons that the Bible itself says that?

    “thinking that the scriptures have a purpose at all is an assumption.”

    I’m not sure I am aware of any book that was ever written for no reason at all. I guess that doesn’t preclude the Bible from being the first purposeless book in the world, but it claims to have a purpose. If you read it, it certainly seems as if it has a purpose. It certainly has had a great influence on many people, cultures, and nations in the world.

    It’s hard for me to imagine that it has no purpose, but obviously, we have to assume the Scripture is true in order to use the content of the book as evidence for that belief. But normally, in any book we read, if the author tells us why he wrote the book, we normally assume that he wrote it for a purpose. I don’t really see the need to say that this is an assumption.

    I agree with you about the Scriptures pointing to Christ, but like I asked in my first post, why do you claim this is the ONLY purpose for the Scripture?

    • “Is one of those reasons that the Bible itself says that?” Not because bibles say it, but because they record Jesus and others stating or implying this, yes.

      If we were to be precise, the scriptures are not a book; they are a collection of writings. I grant that each writing has a purpose, but those purposes widely vary. Further, the purposes were determined by the writers, and like you pointed out they often say the purpose. Interestingly, their stated purpose is never for it to be read by us in 2013; none of the writings were addressed to us. Indeed, it often says who the intended recipients are. What I am saying is an assumption is that the collection of those writings with various purposes suddenly takes on a new purpose when they are put in one book, and that somehow we, who did not even exist on earth at the time of writing, are included in that purpose.

      I don’t see any compelling reasons to believe that the scriptures have any other purpose. But ultimately, like I elaborated earlier, I don’t really believe the scriptures as a collection has a “purpose.” To explain a bit more, when I say the purpose of the scriptures are to point to Christ, I mean that is their proper use, not purpose as in the intention of the one who formed the collection, which many think is God.

      • ME: “Is one of those reasons that the Bible itself says that?”

        SUPER: “Not because bibles say it, but because they record Jesus and others stating or implying this, yes.

        If we were to be precise, the scriptures are not a book; they are a collection of writings. I grant that each writing has a purpose, but those purposes widely vary. Further, the purposes were determined by the writers, and like you pointed out they often say the purpose. Interestingly, their stated purpose is never for it to be read by us in 2013; none of the writings were addressed to us. Indeed, it often says who the intended recipients are. What I am saying is an assumption is that the collection of those writings with various purposes suddenly takes on a new purpose when they are put in one book, and that somehow we, who did not even exist on earth at the time of writing, are included in that purpose.

        ME: Super, you are familiar with John 20:30-31 I’m sure. “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

        I’m not sure who exactly John is writing his gospel to, but obviously he is concerned that those who have not had the opportunity to meet Jesus, to know Him, hear Him, see his miracles, etc. could do that. In that sense, he is writing to you and I. If he was concerned for the people of his day who had not met Jesus, certainly he would also have wanted others in the future, like you and me, to know as well.

        He says something similar in the book of I John. He stresses to his readers that what he is writing about Jesus comes from personal experience – things they have seen, heard, and even touched. He is writing to those who have not had that opportunity. So again, it’s that John had a certain group of people in mind when he wrote his letter, but he certainly didn’t know each person he was writing to. He was writing to people who didn’t have the chance to know Jesus like he did. You may disagree, but personally, I see no reason that you and I would not be included in the larger intended audience. In fact, given his reason for writing to these people, and given the fact that we are in the same situation as them, and given the fact that we were not yet in existence at that time, this seems like a perfectly logical conclusion to make. We too are followers of God so his letter applies to us just as much as it applies to the believers of his day. Certainly God had that in mind, even if John did not know that his letter would remain into the 21st century.

        SUPER: I don’t see any compelling reasons to believe that the scriptures have any other purpose. But ultimately, like I elaborated earlier, I don’t really believe the scriptures as a collection has a “purpose.” To explain a bit more, when I say the purpose of the scriptures are to point to Christ, I mean that is their proper use, not purpose as in the intention of the one who formed the collection, which many think is God.

        ME: You say the Bible “the scriptures are not a book; they are a collection of writings.” Well, sure, the Church recognized 66 books of these books of inspired scriptures and they have been collected into a book that we call the Bible. We believe that each of the books included in the Bible are inspired. Is there proof of this?

        No. There is not proof for the inspiration of any book or even of any passage or of any verse in the Bible or outside of the Bible for that matter. We take that by faith.

        You said “I don’t really believe the scriptures as a collection has a “purpose.” But the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote that ALL SCRIPTURE is inspired by God and has 4 purposes – for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. So here, Paul is referring to not just the particular letter that he was writing to Timothy, but to all Scripture. Of course, if you believe that Paul just made this up, that’s one thing, but I doubt you would say that. Anyway, Paul is quite clear here about some other important purposes for the Scripture and that it is all inspired by God, even if men wrote it.

        Now, in order to teach the book, use it for training, reproof, and correction, and also in order for the students to learn the truths they are being taught, wouldn’t you think that reading the textbook would be of great value? I mean, isn’t that a natural conclusion from this truth?

        And for us, we have to read a translated version of the Bible, so hence the need to understand the meaning of the original author and the need to study Hebrew and Greek. Not all of us will be Hebrew and Greek scholars, but certainly this kind of scholarship is helpful especially when the meaning is a bit difficult to ascertain.

        Of course, back then, there were not very many copies of the Bible available for people to read. Hence the early church was said to devote itself to the teaching of the apostles! Now, with the advent of the printing press, God’s written Word has became available to the common man. There is no prohibition against reading and studying the Bible, but there are sections like this where we are commanded to teach the Scriptures to others and that then would also mean that we are commanded to learn the Scriptures as well. Indeed, “learner” is one important meaning of the word “disciple”. And that is a good example of how the meaning of the word in the original language helps us understand what Jesus was saying.

        Super, are you saying that once we find Jesus, we really have no need for the Bible anymore? In other words, if the Scriptures only purpose is to point us to Christ, once we find Jesus through the Bible, then do you feel like we no longer need concern ourselves with it? I don’t quite know what you mean by saying the Scriptures have only one purpose. This idea of only one purpose for the Scripture just doesn’t jive with what the teaching of Jesus, the inspired writers of Scripture, or with the example of the early Church.

      • And Super, I’m very interested in how you answer this question:

        You said: “Not because bibles say it, but because they record Jesus and others stating or implying this, yes.”

        Do you believe in the inspiration of Scripture?

        Do you differentiate Scripture from the Bible?

        If yes, how do you personally decide what books are inspired and what books are not inspired?

        Maybe you even pick apart the individual books of the Bible and claim that one passage is inspired, but another isn’t. If so, how do you decide what is inspired and what is not? What in the Bible is trustworthy and what is not trustworthy?

        Does the Spirit of Jesus speak to your heart and tell you?

        Just trying to understand your personal opinions about the Bible.

        And one more question. What do you base your personal beliefs about the Bible on?

        Thanks.

    • Just want to say, Jim, that I appreciate your attitude of trying to understand my views without putting me down :]

      You: “If [John] was concerned for the people of his day who had not met Jesus, certainly he would also have wanted others in the future, like you and me, to know as well.”

      Sure. But would what John wrote hold the same significance for his original recipients as it would for us? Surely it cannot, because we are removed from the upbringing, historical background, culture, mindsets, etc. of his original recipients (which remains true no matter how much we study such things), which John naturally took into consideration as he wrote. John may not have known each person individually on a personal level, but the things I listed above he did know. Contrary to what you say, we are in a very different situation as them (in terms of the things I listed above, that is).

      Concerning inspiration, I’m currently writing a series about that on this blog if you are interested to hear my views on it.

      You: “…we are commanded to teach the Scriptures to others and that then would also mean that we are commanded to learn the Scriptures as well.”

      Let me point this out again, that the scriptures never say that they are addressed to us (and if you want to believe so you would have to take it as an assumption). They therefore cannot contain any commands to us. If you want to assume that they are addressed to you, fine. But let’s be honest and call assumptions what they really are.

      You: “Super, are you saying that once we find Jesus, we really have no need for the Bible anymore?”

      Yes and no. Yes, we then no longer have a *need* for it; Christ in us is all we really need for experiencing life to the fullest. No, I’m not saying that once we find Jesus we should throw away our bibles as if they are useless. They can continue to point us to Christ as God gives us revelation through it. But, then again, God does not *need* the scriptures to be able to impart revelation to us.

      I don’t concern myself with making decisions as to what books are inspired. I listen to God while I read anything and everything. Of course I think some things are more valuable than others, and the scriptures are at the top of my list.

      My personal beliefs about the scriptures, which are still developing, are based on a variety of things such as logic/reasoning, the history of particular ideas/doctrines concerning the scriptures, what other people say, what I perceive God say, my experience concerning things written in the scriptures, etc. It really isn’t formal or objective but subjective, as I believe everyone’s basis for belief ultimately is.

      P.S. I noticed that since the you wrote “the Church recognized 66 books of these books of inspired scriptures” that perhaps you were not aware that there is more than one biblical canon within various christian traditions. If you’re interested, I wrote about this in https://supernaturalgospel.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-origins-and-canonicity-of-the-scriptures/

  4. Sorry. These posts are getting longer.

    Me: “If [John] was concerned for the people of his day who had not met Jesus, certainly he would also have wanted others in the future, like you and me, to know as well.”

    SUPER: “Sure. But would what John wrote hold the same significance for his original recipients as it would for us? Surely it cannot, because we are removed from the upbringing, historical background, culture, mindsets, etc. of his original recipients (which remains true no matter how much we study such things), which John naturally took into consideration as he wrote. John may not have known each person individually on a personal level, but the things I listed above he did know. Contrary to what you say, we are in a very different situation as them (in terms of the things I listed above, that is). “

    Me: Well, considering what John’s main purpose for writing the gospel was, and considering that he was talking about – unchangeable cross-cultural timeless truths about the Savior of the world – I would say it has great significance for us and all his readers. I don’t really understand why living in a different time period would mean that the things John had to say aren’t as important to us as to them back then. For instance, Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life is just as applicable to them as to us. John tells us that Jesus came to reveal God the Father to us in 1:18. Is this applicable to only those living back then? Didn’t Jesus come to reveal the Father to everyone and not just to those who may have been fortunate enough to meet him? So it would seem that through reading the gospel of John and learning about Jesus, his teaching, his miracles, and his life that we can learn important things about the Father – AND that this is what both John and God the Father intended to take place. Here again, the written word is seen to be both necessary and important.
    And, in bringing up the upbringing, historical background, culture, mindsets, etc of the original recipients, it seems like you are using this as an excuse to say that we modern people can never really hope to understand what John was trying to say. I just have a real hard time with that idea. God chose to communicate with us in this way and He expects us to be able to understand. He expected the Jews of His day to understand who He was. How many times did He ask them “Have you not read the Scriptures ….?” This clearly shows an obvious expectation on His part that people read, study, and learn the Scriptures.

    And really, I highly doubt that anyone standing before God will be able to say, “Well, you wrote it in an old book written to people thousands of years ago. I thought it was too hard to figure out what You were saying because of culture, upbringing, etc etc etc, so I didn’t really think that reading, studying, and learning about the Bible was all that important. I didn’t want to misunderstand it.” Somehow, I don’t think that will fly with God, since the Pharisees misunderstanding of the OT didn’t fly with Jesus. The responsibility to properly interpret it was clearly placed on them.

    ME: “…we are commanded to teach the Scriptures to others and that then would also mean that we are commanded to learn the Scriptures as well.”

    SUPER: “Let me point this out again, that the scriptures never say that they are addressed to us (and if you want to believe so you would have to take it as an assumption). They therefore cannot contain any commands to us. If you want to assume that they are addressed to you, fine. But let’s be honest and call assumptions what they really are. “

    I see, so when we are told the purpose for spiritual gifts in I Cor. 12 & 14, that only applies to the believers in the Corinthian Church and not to anyone else in the world. In fact, we don’t even know if we have spiritual gifts or not. In fact, we don’t even know if the Holy Spirit really indwells us and is our teacher.

    It’s interesting that you seem to take that Scriptural truth as applying to yourself that John wrote. So why not the rest as well? What parameters do you use to decide if you can apply something in John’s gospel to yourself or not?
    Simply your own subjective opinion?

    Well, if you really think that is the right way to interpret the Bible, I can’t persuade you otherwise, but it simply makes no sense at all to me.
    I don’t understand why you would think that since the Scripture was not written directly to you in the 21st century that it doesn’t apply to you or is somehow unrelated to you and your situation wherever you live.

    When Jesus washed the disciples feet and said that he did it as an example that they should do the same, I guess you think that only applies to the disciples and to no one else. I suppose the ordinance of communion only applies to those who lived back in Jesus’ day.

    My guess is that you believe communion to be an important ordinance for Christian’s to take part in today – even though that is NOT something that is directed to you in Scripture. (But then again, perhaps I am assuming too much. Who knows what you have decided to believe and reject?)
    It’s noteworthy that communion was originally only commanded to the disciples, but we see that the Corinthian Church evidently thought it also applied to them. Why? Why would they take that personally even though they were not even in existence at that point in time?

    So the early Church seems to have had a very different understanding of the Scripture and it’s purposes than you do. So I think again that it is you who are making some assumptions that just are not warranted.

    Can I ask you a question? How many of these ideas that you have stem from a desire not to have to follow God’s commands and how much comes from honest wrestling with the text? We all have a tendency to believe what we want to believe. There are some things in the Bible that would be nice if I didn’t have to believe them or obey them – at least sometimes I feel like that. In the end, I’m sure God knows best and it is my sinful nature that rebels against the Lord’s commands. I understand that sometimes reading the Bible can be tedious and feel like a chore.

    But I also know it can be very rewarding – indeed like Jesus said, we do not live by bread alone but “on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Here we have Jesus specifically telling us how important the Scripture is.
    don’t feel like anything in the Scripture applies to you? You don’t feel like it is important to believe in Jesus in order to be saved because it does not specifically say that it was written to people living in the 21st century?

    I’m sorry, but I think that is a HUGE assumption on your part and one reason is what John said about why he wrote his gospel. Truth does not change from individual to individual so it is very applicable to us whether or not it was written directly to us or not. Of course, there are some things that are not applicable to us in the Bible – prophecies addressed to nations in the OT, ceremonial laws in the OT, etc., but truth does not change and the principles we learn in the Bible should be timeless and applicable to anyone anywhere. That is the nature of truth – otherwise it is not really truth is it? We cannot all have different truths – unless you are a member of the Postmodernist society and think that truth, even if it does exist, is unknowable.

    ME:: “Super, are you saying that once we find Jesus, we really have no need for the Bible anymore?”

    SUPER: “Yes and no. Yes, we then no longer have a *need* for it; Christ in us is all we really need for experiencing life to the fullest. No, I’m not saying that once we find Jesus we should throw away our bibles as if they are useless. They can continue to point us to Christ as God gives us revelation through it. But, then again, God does not *need* the scriptures to be able to impart revelation to us.

    I don’t concern myself with making decisions as to what books are inspired. I listen to God while I read anything and everything. Of course I think some things are more valuable than others, and the scriptures are at the top of my list.

    [What principles do you use to determine what is important and valuable? Where did you get these principles/values from? How do you know they are accurate?]

    My personal beliefs about the scriptures, which are still developing, are based on a variety of things such as logic/reasoning, the history of particular ideas/doctrines concerning the scriptures, what other people say, what I perceive God say, my experience concerning things written in the scriptures, etc. It really isn’t formal or objective but subjective, as I believe everyone’s basis for belief ultimately is.”

    ME: “I listen to God while I read anything and everything.” This is quite subjective and seems to me to be quite unreliable. So, when you read a psychiatry textbook or the current in vogue theory in psychology, does God tell you what you should believe and should not believe? How does He tell you that? When you read scientific explanations of how humans evolved from apes 6-8 million years ago, does God tell you whether or not to accept these ideas as “true”? So, for you, the standard is not the Scriptures, even though Jesus viewed it as inspired by God and accurate, but rather what you hear God saying to you now, even if it disagrees with what He has already revealed to us.

    My guess is that when you approach the Bible with this type of attitude, you are a lot freer in your interpretation of it and stray from much of the accepted meaning of the Scriptures. My guess is that you have become much more open to the “knowledge” of this world even if it contradicts the Scripture. Am I right?

    So you still don’t really have a clear picture of what the scriptures are? No wonder! So obviously, you do not believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. If you don’t believe that, then your method of interpretation will very different from mine. You will sit in judgment over the Bible and subjectively decide what to accept and what to reject based on what “God whispers to you.” But that is not the way Jesus treated the OT Scriptures(He viewed it as God’s Word and completely trustworthy stating that it would ALL be fulfilled.) It is not the way Peter speaks of the Scriptures(the Scriptures are not personal stories the prophets made up, but inspired by the Holy Spirit). It is different from what Paul tells us about the Scriptures(the Scriptures are to teach and correct us).

    You are certainly free to believe whatever you want to about the Bible, but if my thoughts differed so significantly from Jesus, Peter, and Paul, personally, I wouldn’t have too much confidence in them.

    If interpretation is all based on these subjective things, then really, what do you think the chances of any two people arriving at the same understanding of God, truth, revelation, etc are? Basically you are saying that we can never really know anything about God at all. If God speaks to one person one way and to another person another way, how do we know who is right? Is God’s truth different for different people? Like I mentioned, a person of the post modernist generation might tend to think such an illogical thing.

    If logic and reasoning, doctrinal history, other people’s views, your own subjective experience of what God says to you, etc etc are the only way we can find truth, then really, like I said, what hope is there to ever really get it right? Remember, we are all bias in our thinking. Our minds have been affected by sin. We have a natural resistance to certain things. Can we really trust our own reasoning ability, other people’s views, what we think we hear from God, etc? I don’t think we can. And that is one very big reason that I believe God gave us His Word – so that we have a standard by which to measure truth and falsehood.

    The NT speaks of false teachers. How do we know they are false teachers? Because they do not teach what is in what? God’s Word. This is the standard we are given. It is assumed that people would be able to discern what is true and what is false. When Paul spoke to the Bereans, he commended them for searching the Scripture to see if what he was telling them was right or not. So here we see people commended for using the Bible as a standard for truth! Acts 17:11 They were seen as more noble than the saints in Thessalonica who did not do that.

    You say that ultimately the basis for how we all determine our beliefs is the same. Sure, we all use some of these things, but it is different when we feel there is a clear standard for truth that God has given us. That is very different from putting all these things on equal level as we seek to determine what we feel to be the truth. We could easily end up believing something that is totally contrary to God’s Word. People do that today – ie evolution, homosexuality, abortion, etc. God is true and by extension of that, His Word must also be true and trustworthy, like Jesus said. Remember, God chose to communicate with us through the written word knowing the “dangers” that entails and He still holds us responsible for the content of that Word which shows that He assumes we can read and understand it.

    I find it interesting that you latch onto the verses that speak about the Holy Spirit being our teacher, but seem to reject the verses about God’s Word being true and trustworthy. It seems like there is a bit of personal bias in that choice of what to believe and what to reject in the Bible.

    SUPER: P.S. I noticed that since the you wrote “the Church recognized 66 books of these books of inspired scriptures” that perhaps you were not aware that there is more than one biblical canon within various christian traditions. If you’re interested, I wrote about this in https://supernaturalgospel.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-origins-and-canonicity-of-the-scriptures/

    ME: Yes, I am aware of this fact, but just because there are different ideas about what God’s Word consists of, that doesn’t make them all valid choices. You do realize that according to God’s Word, Satan exists and is seeking to cause confusion, doubt, mistrust of God & His Word, deception, etc.

    Do you believe in Satan? Using your method of interpretation, even if it is written in the Bible, I cannot assume that you believe in anything. I have to ask.

    But anyway, the point I want to make is this. One very good way to do that is to come up with false canons of Scripture so that people just throw up their hands in the air and say “Ah, it’s impossible to know what is the real Bible. Might as well just throw it all out, lest I end up being deceived into believing something that might be false!” My belief is that if God inspired the Scripture, like Peter and Paul claim, and because of that we can be sure that He would have seen to it that the proper books got included in the Bible. I take that by faith, but it seems a reasonable thing to believe. It’s not all that hard to figure out why a lot of the apocrypha or other “gospels” of Jesus have not been included in the canon. There are very good reasons for that.

    • He may have been talking about “unchangeable cross-cultural timeless truths about the Savior of the world,” but the way in which he communicated them can only be understood in terms of the “upbringing, historical background, culture, mindsets, etc. of his original recipients.” I agree with you that it has great significance for us; what I questioned was whether it holds the *same* significance, and I say it doesn’t for the reason I gave above.

      John told a story. The story may have been about “unchangeable cross-cultural timeless truths about the Savior of the world,” but John did not give them in statement form. Even the statements Jesus makes that are that would sound like that the most, such as “I am the light of the world,” only make sense when compared with the other people during that time who made the exact same claims (which, again, only the people Jesus was speaking to can fully understand).

      You: “And, in bringing up the upbringing, historical background, culture, mindsets, etc of the original recipients, it seems like you are using this as an excuse to say that we modern people can never really hope to understand what John was trying to say. I just have a real hard time with that idea. God chose to communicate with us in this way and He expects us to be able to understand.” If we start with your assumption that “God chose to communicate with us in this way,” then yes, perhaps what I’m saying doesn’t make sense. But I don’t start with your assumption. This is the circular reasoning I wrote about in my posts on inspiration (this nullifies your whole argument in the next paragraph too). I don’t bring it up as an excuse at all. I’m pretty sure it’s a fact. Our knowledge of that time is based on historical documents. Those historical documents are not all the historical documents that were written during that time. Further, what was chosen to be written down was also limited. We can also never experience life as they knew it, thus missing out on elements crucial to understanding the biblical texts such as language and culture. If you think the limited resources we have are enough to come to the same level of understanding as them, cool. I don’t think they are at all.

      You: “It’s interesting that you seem to take that Scriptural truth as applying to yourself that John wrote. So why not the rest as well?” We were discussing commands. Commands are given to individuals within the specific circumstances which they are in. I don’t really take “scriptural truth” as applying to me. I understand the scriptures to sometimes be talking about reality (e.g. God loves us). At other times, it’s simply a record of how some relationships worked out (like Paul commanding Timothy to do stuff). Those two are very different, and only one “applies” to me.

      You: “What parameters do you use to decide if you can apply something in John’s gospel to yourself or not? Simply your own subjective opinion?” Yes, simply my own subjective opinion 🙂 And that’s what I believe everyone does, you included. You may have some rules you abide by for how to make such decisions, but how did you choose those rules? According to your own subjective opinion, no? Of course, you have reasons for choosing so, but I could have reasons for rejecting them. Why choose your reasons above mine? Alas, it is your own subjective opinion. You cannot escape it. That said, I listen to Holy Spirit, so I believe that God guides me and you too. We all make mistakes, and there will always be disagreements. But maybe God doesn’t even care too much that we all agree lol. My hope is not in getting all my beliefs right; it’s that Jesus got his right!

      You: “I don’t understand why you would think that since the Scripture was not written directly to you in the 21st century that it doesn’t apply to you or is somehow unrelated to you and your situation wherever you live.” Hmm…I don’t remember every writing that it never “applies” to us or is unrelated to us. And I don’t think those things anyways.

      You: “don’t feel like anything in the Scripture applies to you? You don’t feel like it is important to believe in Jesus in order to be saved because it does not specifically say that it was written to people living in the 21st century?” Hmm…never said these things either lol.

      You: “So the early Church seems to have had a very different understanding of the Scripture and it’s purposes than you do.” I would disagree. The earliest church, with the authors of the scriptures, would agree with me according to the way they cited scripture (I’ve written about this in another post on this blog). The generation after that did not have a canon nor did they see a need for one. Thus, they certainly didn’t hold to doctrines such as divine inspiration, infallibility, etc. Nothing about the scriptures exists in their creeds! That says something significant to me.

      You: “Can I ask you a question? How many of these ideas that you have stem from a desire not to have to follow God’s commands and how much comes from honest wrestling with the text?” LOL. Okay, now your just questioning my heart. I guess it is inconceivable to you that I believe what I do with sincerity and rather that it must be due to corruption. I’ll just say this – my heart is right before God, and I love following his way of bliss! Why would I ever go against a command of God when his ways are the most pleasurable? It’s just a question of what actually are his commands.

      You quoted Jesus saying that we are to live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Then you say this refers to scripture. Hmm…which word in that sentence made you think of the scriptures? Indeed, it only supports what I’m trying to communicate, that it is more important to *listen* to God, directly, from his mouth. You’re assuming again that what is in the scriptures came from his mouth.

      You: “I’m sorry, but I think that is a HUGE assumption on your part…” Wait, what’s my assumption?

      You: “Truth does not change from individual to individual so it is very applicable to us whether or not it was written directly to us or not. Of course, there are some things that are not applicable to us in the Bible – prophecies addressed to nations in the OT, ceremonial laws in the OT, etc., but truth does not change and the principles we learn in the Bible should be timeless and applicable to anyone anywhere. That is the nature of truth – otherwise it is not really truth is it? We cannot all have different truths…” Yeah, there’s only one truth. And here’s a truth for you – we all DO have different truths, as in different beliefs! No one agrees fully. In other words, we’re all wrong about stuff. Anyways, the question is which things in the scriptures are truth. To say all of it you would have to, again, assume that it is inspired. Circular reasoning again.

      You: ““I listen to God while I read anything and everything.” This is quite subjective and seems to me to be quite unreliable.” So is your interpretation of scriptures. You continue with some specific questions about hearing God. Truth be told, I don’t have a formula that I can describe to you.

      Sounds like we’re getting nowhere by now. I think we understand what each other believes and disagree. I’m okay with that. I don’t see any further discussion helping us understand each other, really. And what you are writing has started to sound more like criticism than an attempt to understand. If you want to criticize me, that’s fine. But know that I might not keep responding to seemingly endless questions.

      I’ve noticed that you’ve also said many things that show you haven’t read the posts that I’ve previously written that I’ve mentioned (on quoting the OT in the NT & more recently inspiration). Reading those will help you see more clearly why I think the way I do, that the reason I do is precisely because what the scriptures say, not despite it, and would get rid of the need for about half the things you stated and asked.

      But hey, be encouraged bro! You hear God, and he leads you. Let’s continue exploring his love :]

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