March 9, 2017 at 10:42 am #901JamesKeymaster
Do we really believe that First Century believers were as confused by the Apostles’ letters as modern believers are? It is hard to imagine that those who first received the Epistles argued and fought about what they meant, yet today arguments are common.
Unfortunately, many portions of the Bible do not make sense to modern believers and may even seem contradictory. The way many churches deal with this issue is to have a doctrinal statement that says the modern Bible is the inerrant Word of God and therefore everything is clear and there are no contradictions. In other words, “The Bible says what we tell you it says. To believe anything else is wrong.”
However, God is love and quite pleased to discuss your concerns about what you think your Bible may, or may not, say. He doesn’t get bent out of shape if you question or disagree with what you read. He loves to teach. And, He never gets upset because we don’t yet get it. He is very patient. He is a wonderful teacher.
We have been discussing the Lie, a single piece of misinformation told to Adam and Eve by the serpent in the Garden of Eden that was designed to fundamentally change all of mankind’s beliefs. Why would Satan want to do that? Because people were designed to live what we believe. By getting Adam and Eve to believe just one lie, it would infect all of mankind’s beliefs, which would result in a catastrophic change in creation. Since man had been made the ruler of the Earth, by persuading him to believe a lie, he would begin living like that lie was the truth. By rejecting God’s truth and deciding to accept a lie as truth, he would no longer know the difference between truth and lies. A lie could be truth or a truth could be a lie. In the final analysis, whether a person believed something was true or false depended solely on what they wanted to believe. God was no longer mankind’s standard of truth.
What people feel flows out of what they know or believe they know. Unfortunately, people tend to believe that what they feel must be the truth, because they feel it. But, if what they believe is not true, their emotions cause them to want to believe it anyway. Our emotions feel so real that it can be impossible to convince someone otherwise. Because of this, all someone must do to control someone is to get them to believe a lie is truth. After that, because their emotions feel so real, they will follow their emotions as though they are the truth. Satan has used this tactic to control people from the very beginning.
Though Jesus taught His disciples about the Lie, it was not too many years after the last Apostle died that this foundational understanding had been erased. Of course, it is still plainly visible in the original Greek texts but, because rules of grammar and definitions have changed, the words now mean something else. Subsequent generations of believers have seldom realized the New Testament writers frequently referred to the Lie. Fortunately, it is still there for anyone that wants to see it for themselves.
The loss of this very important information, as well as the loss of other foundational teachings, resulted in modern translators not being able to fully understanding the Greek they have been translating. Thus, some understandings of the original texts have been left to the translators’ imaginations, because they often have had no idea why the writers said what they said. If a passage can be translated several different ways, a translator will choose the one that makes the most sense to him. But, if that is not what the author meant, then how can we know what he meant? Unfortunately, once enough scholars pronounce that a wrong translation is correct, it becomes accepted as correct. Problems like this can cause devastating misunderstandings.
Fortunately, the Greek text hasn’t changed. The various versions which have been discovered are all close enough to assure us that what we have today is accurate. The problem is not the text. The problem is that we no longer use the same meanings for many Greek words that were used in the First Century, thus, how we understand what is written, in some cases, is now vastly different from what our First Century brethren understood.
These modern misunderstandings are easy to correct and the solutions are obvious once you see them. The problem is that many people are not willing to accept that something they believe is wrong, or worse, they are terrified to think they might be wrong, so they reject the idea. If we are unable to consider incontrovertible evidence that something is seriously wrong with what we believe, we will keep failing in those areas of our lives where we feel the worst pain.
Don’t you love God? We may refuse to believe what He is really saying, but He will never give up on any of us. He is the only truth and knowing His truth is the only way we will ever be free. So, He presses on.
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