A primary problem facing believers today is that we don’t know a lot of things that believers knew in the First Century. And, we need that knowledge, and it is in the Bible very plainly once you see it. How could we have missed it?
Sometimes you have to keep looking at something in the Bible and talking to God about what you think you are seeing. There comes a point when your eyes suddenly open and you plainly see what has been there all along. Never let someone push you to believe something. Wait for God to confirm it in your heart. He is never in a rush but will let you know at just the right time. Until He does, He won’t push you. He enjoys your honest search. Unfortunately, what makes it difficult to understand what God is saying is when an authority tells you that you aren’t seeing what you are sure you are seeing.
God has not left us to figure things out for ourselves. God will confirm His word to YOU, and will confirm what isn’t His Word. You can trust Him. You may hear it from someone, but He will show you personally, also. You don’t have to accept anything until you are comfortable with it before God. You are always safe if you ask God to show you His truth.
I realize for many this is scary. It is so much easier to trust that God is speaking to others than that He is speaking to you. Don’t be afraid of someone who tells you something you don’t see in the word, if there is some honest reason behind it. Rather, if you want to, hear them out. Then, when you are away from them, ask God to show you the truth. He will not withhold it from you. God will never force what He believes on someone. He loves to reason with us and persuade us. This doesn’t always happen in 24 hours. God is extremely patience and will never push you to hurry up and believe Him. He is never in a rush. And, He will NEVER threaten you with expulsion if you don’t agree with Him. If someone says you will be banned from a group for believing something that is against their doctrine or rules, God is not in that. He will never ban you for any reason. You may ban Him, but He says that even if you do, He is still right there with you (2 Timothy 2:13). He will never leave you, for any reason (Hebrews 13:5). Anyone who says such a thing doesn’t know what First Century believers knew.
Did you know that beginning in the Fourth Century the Greek New Testament was translated to Latin where it became a private book only available to those in the ministry or who had permission to read it? And, in the West, the Bible could not be read in any language but Latin. This time period was the beginning edge of the dark ages, which lasted over 1000 years. So, knowing that the Church began to be battered by heresies while the Apostles were still alive and that the scriptures became the exclusive domain of a single set of believers, doesn’t it make you wonder? Are we still reading the same Bible? Have we been duped? The answer to both questions is yes.
If you have read the Bible in any language, have you ever wondered where did the power go and why? Did God change His mind and take away the power? (According to His own words, if he did that He would be a liar.)
One day while I was doing post baccalaureate work at the University of Florida, I was studying the New Testament in Greek. The Greek word translated “repentance” in modern Bibles is “metanoia.” Because words have changed over time, I looked in the oldest Greek English lexicon available today. I wanted to see how the word was used before it was subjected to the modern definition. The lexicon defines metanoia as an “after-thought: a change of mind on reflection: hence repentance.” But, repentance is a Medieval Latin word made up of two other Latin words – “re” and “penitent.” Re means to do it again and again. Penitent means to feel pain and regret for sins and seek to make amends.
I saw an obvious problem. The Greek and Latin definitions of metanoia are very different. So, to seek to understand what God told the early Christians using the modern definition would result in a misunderstanding of what God meant. Thus, for the last 1500 years Christians have sought to repent, to feel sorry for their sins and stop doing them, when God actually told us to do something far different. And, what God wants us to do actually removes all guilt as well as the sin that causes it. The solution to the problem of sin is what God says, not the private revelation of some theologians from the Fourth Century.
So, how did this private revelation become mainstream Christian theology? We’ll dive into that in my next post.