An interview with Leeland.
The Scripture declares that it is our responsibility to interpret the Bible accurately. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The reason that members of cults misinterpret the Bible is because they have never studied or properly applied the rules for correctly interpreting a historical document like the Bible. Our Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions documents numerous examples of how cults misinterpret the Bible by failing to adhere to accepted rules of textual interpretation. While it is beyond the scope of this discussion to offer an adequate treatment of hermeneutical principles, these may be secured from any good treatment of biblical hermeneutics, such as McQuilkin’s Interpreting and Applying the Bible.
In order to approach the Word of God correctly, we must have familiarity with the basic rules of interpretation, such as that the Bible is to be interpreted normally or literally. There is no justification in the text, or anywhere else, for generally interpreting it mystically, or only symbolically or through the alleged insights of so-called “higher consciousness” or alleged new divine revelations that contradict the Bible’s earlier revelation. To interpret the Bible normally means attention must be paid to what the authors’ intended, what the words they wrote meant to them in their linguistic and historical context. The point is to discover the writer’s intent, which is the only true meaning. This meaning is fixed by the author and not subject to alteration by anyone else, cultist or Christian. It should also be noted that while a good English translation is usually reliable, it may not convey all the nuances or force of the original Greek or Hebrew.
Biblical verses must be interpreted with due reference to the original languages of Scripture — Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic — and one must study word meanings and grammar. Comparing corollary or parallel passages relevant to the particular verse or topic is also important. Bible verses must be interpreted both in their immediate and larger context. This may require some understanding of the author, and the general historical context, such as whether the book is pre-exilic or post-exilic. Just as no one interprets a single sentence in a magazine article by itself, but in the context of the entire article, this must be true with the Bible.
Understanding the literary genre of a passage is also important. Thus, one would not interpret the parables of Jesus in the same manner as the historical narrative in, say, the Book of Acts. In addition, because the Bible is a compilation of progressive revelation, the Old Testament text when applicable must be interpreted in light of the greater and final revelation of the New Testament. Also one must interpret unclear passages in light of clear ones, and, because the Bible is inerrant revelation, one must assume that problem passages have a resolution rather than being an error. Time and again history and archaeological discovery have proven the correctness of this approach.If we respect the Bible as the Word of God, apply proper interpretive principles, and depend upon the Holy Spirit to help us interpret and apply it properly, our reverent study will bring great rewards.
All cults must somehow undermine the authority of Scripture. They do this by alleging textual corruption, or a false interpretation by the church or new revelation that corrects or completes the Bible. But what all cults fail to do at this point is to honor the words of Jesus, whom they claim to revere. Jesus said plainly, without any qualification whatsoever, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). He said that heaven and earth would pass away but that His words would never pass away (Matthew 24:35). In John 14:26 He promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things and bring to remembrance the things Jesus had taught them. He taught that the Holy Spirit, whom He would send, would guide the disciples into all the truth (John 16:13), thus pre-authenticating the inspiration and inerrancy of the New Testament. Clearly, Jesus did not believe that the Holy Spirit, whom He called the Spirit of truth (John 14:17), would corrupt His own words or inspire error. As the incarnate son of God, Jesus was an infallible authority. He would hardly teach the infallibility of the Old Testament and not know that the same condition would apply to the New Testament. As the only man in history to ever resurrect Himself from the dead (John 2:19), His view of Scripture holds precedent over everyone else’s.
Copyright © 2006 John Ankerberg, used with permission.
Read more at johnankerberg.com
Kim Kardashian is preparing for a wedding with boyfriend Kanye West. Her marriage last year lasted just 72 days, as everyone knows. Her sister, Khloe (married in 2009), filed for divorce from her husband recently. And their parents, Bruce and Kris Jenner, married for 22 years, are currently separated.
“I have thought about this for a long time,” says matriarch Kris, “and I think we both just need to be happy, I really do. Isn’t that the bottom line?”
Well, no. That’s not the bottom line.
Sure, when we got married in 1984 we wanted to be happy, too. Duh. Everybody wants that. But marriage is far more than a happy pill.
“My decision to end my marriage was such a risk. But I had to take that risk to be happy.”
Like most every other couple, we swallowed the pill whole when we married. But we eventually learned that it’s a big fat myth to think that when we say “I do” we’ll have a lock on happiness. Granted, we will, for a time. No doubt about it. Marriage makes us happy.
The problem is that marriage will not make us as intensely happy or for as long as we believe it will. Studies reveal that the happiness boost from marriage lasts an average of only two years.
Unfortunately, when those two years are up and fulfilling our goal to find the ideal partner hasn’t made us as happy as we expected, we often feel there must be something wrong. Not so. It’s the common course of love. And if left unattended, if we’re not deliberately making happy together, our relationship suffers.
Happiness, for a marriage, is like a vital sign. It’s the heart rate of love. Like all vital signs, it can fluctuate. But like all vital signs, it has a set point, a level to which it strives to return.
We all know couples that call it quits and say: “We’re just not happy anymore.” Really?
Is being married supposed to make you happy? No. That’s not how it works.
We’ll say it again: Marriage doesn’t make you happy – you make your marriage happy! As the saying goes, you bring your own weather to the picnic.
A happy marriage does not depend on the right circumstances or the perfect person. A happy marriage is the result of two people committed to making a happy life of love together.
Copyright © 2014 Les and Leslie Parrott, used with permission.
Expectations are critical for the success of any good relationship—especially a marriage. If you have false expectations, you will have trouble in your marriage and in every other relationship in your life.
If your marriage is struggling, here are four expectations that may be injuring it:
A lot of couples assume they are on the same page until a problem arises and they find out otherwise. I have found this especially true with upcoming life ventures such as parenting. Couples naturally assume they will discipline the same way. They don’t.
Couples naturally assume they will discipline the same way. They don’t.
When a couple never lays out what they expect in their marriage, at some point, one spouse or the other will be disappointed. The more you can communicate your expectations, the better prepared you will be to face life as it comes to you—or as you are living it.
Everyone communicates differently. When a couple thinks they’ve communicated expectations, but they didn’t use language each could understand, there will be problems in the relationship. I have sat with couples who thought they made things clear—or thought the other spouse surely “read their mind.” It’s important to ask questions such as, “What I hear you saying is _____. Did I understand correctly?”
Expectations must be clear. And, many times they have to be tested before we understand them.
Even when a couple has clear expectations (everyone understood them) and they’ve been tested, if one spouse isn’t holding up their end of the deal, there will be trouble in paradise.
I borrowed from a cliche, because marriage isn’t necessarily always paradise. However, it certainly should be a relationship where trust is unquestioned. Commitments made in a marriage should be kept at the highest level possible.
Some couples have expectations that are impossible for the other spouse to meet. Our spouse is not our savior. They are not perfect. They can’t read our mind. They will make mistakes.
Great marriages major on grace and forgiveness, because we all need lots of it.
Used by permission of Ron Edmondson. Visit his site for more blog posts like this at ronedmondson.com
I love reading about your ministry. I'm not a Christian but I'm willing to change my ways, starting by reading the bible. Thank you. Dan
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