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What do you think is the most misinterpreted aspect of the Bible?

Asked at Signs of Life, 722 Mass. on September 17, 2005

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“I think it’s that the quotes within it that suggest that it, in its own existence, is the authoritative document.”

Photo of Megan Mueller

“That you can gain salvation through good works instead of through grace.”

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“The most common misconception is the person of Christ. I think people often see him as something other than the person who he claimed to be or the way he lived.”

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“Overall, that the Bible in and of itself is no longer viewed as being the infallible word of God, which it is, and that leads to Christians not following what the Bible says and believing that it is not applicable to their lives today.”

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LVN4God 12 years, 4 months ago

If you do not believe in Jesus Christ and have not accepted him as your Lord and Saviour, then the Bible will be foolishness to you (1 Cor 1:18 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."). You will not have the Holy Spirit guiding you in your life or in your study of the Word, and you will be looking for what you want to see and find and not what God wants to show you and have you learn

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 4 months ago

... And LJWorld goes for the jugular again. SWEET!

I think it's kinda spooky when folks demand that the world should live by the words written in a book.

In addition to comment count today, I also think we should be counting how many times someone quotes the bible. Let the thumping begin.

memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker 12 years, 4 months ago

Green-Eyed, I think LVN4God wins your Scripture-quoting contest!

Jayhawk226 12 years, 4 months ago

Oh boy....if this was a week day question, there just may be over 500 posts by 10am alone!!!

KristinP 12 years, 4 months ago

Y'know ... I happen to think that people only see the Ten Commandments and think that they HAVE to be perfect in folling them when in all actuality that is why God sent Jesus to die for each and every sin that we commit or will commit our whole lives. God knows we are only human and He couldn't just give us these laws because we're just humans and we will make mistakes. I don't think they understand that although it is right to follow the Ten Commandments, that even if we do mess up that Jesus died for those mess-ups. I also don't think that people really can grasp how wonderful God is until they have had that "God thing" happen in their own lives. He is an awesome God and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and really feel that He is the only way to life -- a real life!!

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

the king james version was a rewrite of a rewrite that luther did. the bible before the king james would be the real bible. it's been in existence for about 1300 years longer than the king james version. plus, it was decided upon by a collective group of experts and not based on one dude's interpretation.

i could comment on other things the people on street said, but i'll leave my comments about that for later.

this is a great question for Lepanto.

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

i should clarify.... the bible before the luther version is the real bible.

Aileen Dingus 12 years, 4 months ago

I believe that the most misinterpreted aspect is the one that it is the Infallible Word. "The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it."

While I agree that the Bible is an important document, I think it is prideful to expect that it is the ONLY book that explains the ways of the world.

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 12 years, 4 months ago

The trinity doctrine is probably one of the biggest misinterpretations. The idea of a christian trinity was created by Constantine the Great.

Liberty 12 years, 4 months ago

I think you will find that God gives us His Holy Spirit to give us the authority to teach and administer the gospel and baptism. I see that you have an interesting answer, but I think that you will find that the priesthood is used for the Jewish people and not the gentiles. God has given us a better method by living on the inside of us to give us His authority to administer the gospel and His Word.

gccs14r 12 years, 4 months ago

That it is something other than a manifestation of religion by committee.

jonas 12 years, 4 months ago

I think it would probably be the holiness of jesus part.

jonas 12 years, 4 months ago

oh crap, did I just post that? uh. . . . . . . . . . . .

rtwngr 12 years, 4 months ago

There are no quotes within the Bible that make the claim that it is THE definitive, authority.

Lunacy - That would have been the Vulgate. (Which is correct BTW.)

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 4 months ago

Enochville-well said!!! Nice to see Christians out there when sometimes it feels rare to run into one (except for at church) The Bible is the true word of God. I will not preach anymore because I feel every person must find God for theirselves. But in my personal experience finding God has really enriched my life. I am not a fuddy duddy I am still ornery and enjoy playing jokes on people and having an occasional margarita. I think the biggest misconception people have about Christians in general is that they are hypocrates and never have fun. Which is mostly untrue. There are always hypocrates in every crowd. Don't miss the boat guys, faith in GOd is amazing!!

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

I think it is less a matter of misinterpretation, although that happens, and more of a matter of focusing only on some books or verses and ignoring others. Almost all Christian sects are guilty of this in my opinion. I will say Paul is probably the most misunderstood apostle. People think they understand him because he wrote in a straightforward manner, but the careful reader must remember to temper what he said with what the other apostles wrote including what is ascribed to the words of Jesus in the Gospels.

One quick example is when Paul taught, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved"(Romans 10:9 KJV). Well, that is true, but one must also remember these verses: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16); and "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:3-5). It is not enough to simply believe, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19). If you will remember even a devil fell down and cried out before Jesus and said, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high?" (Luke 8:28). So, to be saved we must believe and confess Christ Jesus, but we must also be baptized.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

Another book Protestants often quote to the exclusion of the witness of the rest of the Bible is another of Paul's epistles, Romans, where Paul emphasizes that we are saved by faith and not by works. I absolutely agree with him if you know what he is really talking about. None of us can save ourselves through good works, for we would have to live perfectly and never fall. But, as Paul says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And because of the Fall of Adam, we are in a fallen state and cannot redeem ourselves. Even one sin makes us unfit to dwell in the presence of God. But, Christ met the demands of justice and paid for our sins if we will but accept his payment for our sins. And how do we accept his payment? First, by believing and accepting Him as our Savior, repenting of our sins, being baptized for the remission of sins by one holding authority, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and lastly, endure to the end keeping the commandments as best we can and repenting when needed. What gives me such confidence? A multitude of verses, but I'll highlight a few that counter the idea that we don't need to couple good works with accepting the grace of Christ. Again, we can't save ourselves, but we do need to do what the Lord requires of us to qualify for exaltation. I agree that it is not a reward you earn, but it is a gift you qualify for.

"Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:14-26; see also 1 Thess. 1:3). "Not every one that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt 7:21-27). I could quote many more scriptures, but these are clear enough I think.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

In response to those who claim that the Bible is not divine because a committee worked on it, I have a few things to say. I believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated and transcribed correctly. This acknowledges that there have been errors of transcription and translation. Anyone who has studied the history of the Bible knows that much of the Old Testament did not take shape until the Isrealites were freed from Babylon, many, many years after Moses, the Judges, King David, etc. Although the books were compiled at this time, I continue to believe that the first five books were written by Moses, and that the other books were written by prophets and historians in or near their own time. A committee, if you choose to call it that, simply put the books together; they may have tampered with the original writings a little.

Similarly, the New Testament was compiled by a committee in that they choose which books they thought were authentic and selected the order in which to put them in. Incidently, they are not in chronological order. Any tampering with content I think took place before this time by gnostics and other conspiring men which removed plain and precious truths that did not fit with their philosophies or sensibilities. And I know that the gospels in the form we have them now were written late first century; I think those books were based on more contemporary writings that are now lost to history. Now, even though I acknowledge a little tampering with content, I believe that said tampering is remarkably minimal. Largely, I believe the words in the Bible were written or said by whom they claim to be be written by, and I believe these writings were inspired and prophetic and reveal the will of God to men. The Holy Spirit will reveal the holy and true message contained in those verses to you. Thus I believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it was transcribed and translated correctly.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, the trinity comment made me think of another comment. The Council of Nicea was probably the biggest event the caused and continues to cause misunderstanding of the Bible. To see it in context, let's start with the days of the Apostles. As everyone knows the Apostles traveled around the Roman Empire, taught the gospel and set up churches with Bishops at the head of each congregation and then the Apostles left the congregations to preach somewhere else. These Bishops were new converts themselves and not seasoned in the understanding of the Gospel, so the congregations stayed from time to time from the true doctrine and often introduced the philosophies of men popular at the time with the word of God. For example, Neoplatonism was popular in some areas. Plato believed that the physical world was bad and was an illusion and only ideas and forms were real. Therefore, new converts to Christianity that came from a Neoplatonist background had a hard time accepting the resurrection of Christ, for why would a God who had left this imperfect physical body and thus had become perfected return to its impurity.

Apostles learned of these false teachings or practices and wrote epistles to them to correct them in their errors. One problem that contemporary readers of epistles have is that the epistles rarely teach a doctrine in its entirety as one would expect of a proselyting message, instead the epistle only focuses on the one area of the doctrine that congregation was having probles with. So, modern readers end up with part of the doctrine that is over emphasized because all the writer was trying to do was combat a particular false teaching; the people already had a basic understanding of the whole doctrine. (To be continued).

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

Anyway, once the Apostles died out, there was no force to combat the false teachings that were continualy creeping in. Furthermore, in the power vacuum, ambitious metropolitan Bishops began to seek authority of the congregations in the outlying areas. Eventually, you ended up with five Bishops competing for control over the whole Church. Those were the Bishops of Rome, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople. Shortly after the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, a dispute arose in Alexandria over doctrine, namely, if the Father begat the Son, the latter must have had a beginning, that there was a time when he was not, and that his substance was from nothing like the rest of creation. So, Constantine called a council of Bishops and of all things, they voted on the doctrine to resolve the dispute. [You cannot vote on doctrine! It is either true or it is not, it does not matter what you or a body of Bishops think.] Anyway, additional councils were held from time to time and their conclusions shaped how the churches thought of certain Biblical passages and continue to today.

Just so you know how the power struggle among the Bishops turned out. Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch, were eventually taken over by Muslims ending their power, yet they continued in Christianity to the present day. For example, the church at Alexandria is now known as the Coptic church. The church at Constantinople became the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the church at Rome became the Catholic church. Due to historical reasons each of these churches fell away from the true doctrine in different ways just like the early congregations did because they had no Apostles to keep them in the right way. But, because each church lost different truths, it is quite interesting to discover the beliefs held by the early Apostolic church that survived to today.

LVN4God 12 years, 4 months ago

About the authority of the Bible for our lives today:

*The words of the Bible are pure words and have been preserved for us by God: (Psalm 12:6-7 "The Words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.)

*We are to use the Bible as a guide for our lives, and live by it. (Luke 4:4 "And Jesus answered him (Devil) saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Matt 4:4 records the same. Deut 8:3 is the passage that Jesus is quoting here.)

*The Bible is of God, and is to be used for learning lessons, and for reproving and correcting our lives, so we can be the men and women God would have us to be. (2 Tim 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. ")

BunE 12 years, 4 months ago

That the bible is to be taken literally. This is a collection of stories (that have existed in some form or another since far before the Genesis was written-check out some of the other myths out there) that is intended to make a populace think and act in a certain manner.

It tries to put a face on the unknown. I appreciate the lessons that it tries to communicate, but to take it as the "word of god" seems...dangeraous.

Some great fiction though!

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

BunE: It is all how you look at the evidence. You see that that there are "Noah and the Flood" stories, "Son of God on earth" stories, "Dying in behalf of others" traditions that pre-date Moses as evidence that the Bible borrowed from other cultures. I see those stories as evidence that Noah did exist and that Adam taught his children about that the Son of God would come to earth and die for our sins long before those other cultures came into existance. The stories they tell had already been corrupted by the time they wrote them down so that we could discover them. God revealed the true story to Moses anew and he wrote it down. So, the way I look at it, those stories are evidences that the Bible is true, not that it's fiction.

ms_canada 12 years, 4 months ago

Where to begin. There are misinterpretations and then there are misquotes of Biblical passages. There is a difference. A simple misquote would be, "Money is the root of all evil." The actual quote from I Tim. 6:10 is, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." A misinterpretation is distorting the meaning of a particular scripture passage. A good example is the wrong interpretation of the passage concerning the Lordship of Jesus. Enochville quoted it correctly above, way above. Romans 10:9. Confessing that Jesus is Lord is quite often not fully understood. What does it mean that one confesses that Jesus is Lord. Lord of what? Lord of Heaven? Lord of earth? OR, -- Lord of my life? If one confesses that Jesus is his Lord, how does that manifest itself in his life? A Lord is an authority figure, is he not. An authority is to be obeyed. True? If one claims that Jesus is his Lord, should he not be obedient? A lot of people, Christians, believe that it is enough to accept the salvation that Christ offered by his sacrificial death on the cross. "Oh yes," they say, "I have been saved. Jesus is my Saviour." But there are two parts to this salvation, you must make Jesus the Lord of your life and try to live in obedience to His commands. As enochville stated above, we are fallible and we do err, but Jesus has made provision for that so human failing, confession and repentance. I am not talking about the act of confession as practiced in the R.C. church. Confession need not be for the ears of a priest. Sincere prayer to Jesus that reaches only His ears is what is needed. Enochville, I wish to commend you for your very clear words in your several posts above. I hope that everyone reading these posts today will take to heart the wise words you have spoken. You are obviously well read and informed on matters Biblical. Thank you, sir.

ms_canada 12 years, 4 months ago

e_m - the Bible is very clear on monotheism. Look in your Bible to these passages. Beginning with Deuteronomy 5, the first of the 10 commandments says, " I am the LORD your God,....... You shall have no other gods before me." Note that gods is all lower case. There were plenty of other gods in those days just as there are now. BUT, they were man made with names such as, Chemosh, Ashtarte, Moloch and all the other Egyptian gods. Only one LORD God. For other passages concerning the uniqueness of the LORD God, refer to Isaiah. He had plenty to say about one God. Read especially chapter 43 of Isaiah. Read the words of the LORD Almighty as spoken through Isaiah. The major religions of the world all claim adherence to ONE diety. I mean the Judeo-Chriistian and the Islamics. Tell me what you think, e_m.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

ms.canada: thank you for you comments and kind remarks.

even_money: Just to be sure that I know what you are asking, are you saying, must adherents of the Bible reject the numerous gods of the Hindus, Buddha, ancient Greek and Norse gods, and the worship of plants and animals? If that is what you are asking, I would say yes. I could quote scriptures, but I don't think this point is in dispute.

Just for clarity's sake, Jews, Muslims, and Christians all worship the same God of Abraham; most Christians believe Christ is the God of Abraham, some believe Christ is the Son of the God of Abraham. I believe that the latter view is mistaken because Christ says that He is the great I AM, which is a name for the God of Abraham. However, I don't believe in the trinity as the Catholics teach it. If you want to know more, just ask me.

Now, I would like to address the implications of your question: 1) isn't egotistical to claim your God is the only real god, and 2) how do you know that some other group is not right and you're wrong?

1) First, today's believers aren't making the claim, we are simply quoting the statement made by God himself. "Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour" (Isaiah 43:10-11). "For there is none other name [Christ] under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Futhermore, what if it's true? If there is no other god but the God of Abraham, then it is simply a statement of fact. It is only unfair, if it is not true.

2) If there were no way to find out which religion is true, then we couldn't be sure that we are right. The way that those who don't believe there is a way to know, feel about it is that everyone's belief is just as likely to be true or false, so no one is justified in claiming the Bible is true whereas the Koran is not. (con't in next post)

KristinP 12 years, 4 months ago

I have another little "for what it's worth" comment - I don't know the exact location or the exact wording of the scripture, but it goes something like this:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

With that said ... I just wanted to say that over time the Bible has been misinterpreted by MAN and that is why we have to go directly to the source of GOD and find out for ourselves what His will for our lives. Think about this, if you will:

Q: Which chapter is at the centre of the Bible? A: Psalm 118

Q: What is the central theme of the Bible? A: Psalm 118:8

Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. Psalm 118 is the center chapter in the Bible. There are 594 chapters in the Bible before Psalm 118. There are 594 chapters in the Bible after Psalm 118.
1188 chapters. This number can be split 118-8 or Psalm 118:8.

Isn't it odd how this little word exercise worked out, or was God in the center of it all? I think He was and still is today! Should this central verse not have a fairly important message? It does.

Psalm 118:8 "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

However, there is a way to know which religion is true. I think the only reason why so many religions persist is because hardly anyone either knows the method of finding out which religion is true, believes that it works (ie, shares the assumptions), actually uses it, or is humble enough to give up long held false beliefs in favor of ones that are true and that are new to them.

The assumptions and the method will be in the next email.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 4 months ago

I once heard Kirk Cameron on some Praise! channel talking about people of false religions as he flashed a picture of a middle eastern woman sporting a bindi.

I always knew he was trouble.

You'd have to have some real gall to tell a stranger that what they believe is false. For those that claim to be of the only true religion, would you ever devaluate one's "false" belief to their face?

To me, there's a fine line between devout Christianity and pure social ineptitude.

Manson 12 years, 4 months ago

"collective group of experts and not based on one dude's interpretation." -Lunacy

Except for the gospels of course In which there were more than just 4.

My trouble with the bible is that it was created by man and interpreted by man. Man is Failable by Design. Man has poisoned the word of God for thousands of years. How can I be sure the versoin we read today is the original? Who put the 60 books in the bible togeather? Over the Bible's history there have been too many opourtunities for it to have been altered to fit a certin group or individual's agenda.

Imagen the game of telephone... you know where people start a sentance and pass it along to the next person. The Bible is the literary version of that game. Passed through generations being slightly altered to the inaccurate version we have today. If the game of telephone can't make it pass a class room of 25 kids how the hell can the Bible make it through 1300 Years?

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 4 months ago

That its stories can stand up to the scientific method.

The book provides many good guidelines to follow in life, and that is all. You make a good point, GEB, but even that will depend on what religion. A lot of people have no prolblem telling me I am going to hell for being Pagan, but watch their step a bit with Jews and Muslims. I think Jesus would be disappointed in the bahavior of some of his followers.

heretoday 12 years, 4 months ago

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

2 entries found for pagan. To select an entry, click on it. paganneo-pagan

Main Entry: pagan Pronunciation: 'pA-g&n Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin paganus, from Latin, civilian, country dweller, from pagus country district; akin to Latin pangere to fix -- more at PACT 1 : HEATHEN 1; especially : a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome) 2 : one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person 3 : NEO-PAGAN - pagan adjective - pagan*ish /-g&-nish/ adjective

is this what you mean by Pagan?

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

That it isn't the word of Man.

Hey A_A: How is the non-smoking going?

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

I agree that tact and sensitivity needs to be used when speaking to others about religion. Mean-spiritedness and egos have no place in such discussions, but God does require us to be bold in being testimony of the things he has made us witness to.

How to learn for yourself what is true. First limiting assumption is the belief that things really do exist. If you believe like Plato that only ideas and forms exist, or that we are in the Matrix, this method will not work for you.

Second limiting assumption is that you are capable of learning about that reality. If you believe like Descarte that the only thing we can know is that we exist, this method will not work for you. For most part you need to trust that the world is real and when you have a convergence of evidence, it is real.

Third, reality does not contradict itself. There is only one reality. Different perspectives on that reality are permissible.

The fourth assumption is that some of what you believe now may not be true.

I've just realized that sharing this method could take all day and I have a lot to get done. Sorry for the teaser, if you really want to know my thoughts, email me.

DaREEKKU 12 years, 4 months ago

The whole Bible was interpreted by Men. Anything Men and Women handle becomes imperfect, because we are by nature imperfect. Let's not forget the part of history where the Bible was taken from the public while being modified ;-). I would say most of it is a twisted misinterpretation of what God really is striving for.

ms_canada 12 years, 4 months ago

Green eyes - people have been doing just that for centuries. They are called missionaries. The apostle Paul was the first Christian missionary. he travelled all around the Mediterranean Sea and told people that what they were practicing as religion was false. And the missionary work has continued to this day in many countries around the world. A good missionary will do this in such a way as not to offend. But unfortunately there are more than a few that are not so good. A long time ago God chose a group of people to make Himself known to a people whom He could groom and shape to accomplish His purpose: to let the rest of the world know about His love for them and what He wanted of them. He placed those people, the Hebrews in a most strategic location, the fertile crescent of the near East, Canaan/Israel. He charged them with the conversion of those living in and around that land with the spread of His word. Sad to say, they failed in their given task. Instead they adopted many of the heathen practices of their pagan neighbours. But a patient and loving Father God gave them many years to fall into obedience. When they did not conform, He came to earth as a babe, grew to manhood and taught them Himself and offered Himself to pay for their sins on the cross. They knew all about sacrifice and knew what He was doing, but even that was not enough for the majority of them, but a few understood His great love and formed a church. Most of them were killed but the church grew and grew and many now are fulfilling the task of evangelizing the world, but in my opinion, not fast enough or diligently enough. My sermon for the day.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 4 months ago

DaREEKKU, I won't argue with your statement that the Bible is an interpretation of man, but are you saying that you'll not believe anything anyone tells you?

I think the point is just to believe, and then try to behave like you believe.

ms_canada 12 years, 4 months ago

sunflower - you hit the nail right on the head. It is belief that counts and that is known as faith. It has to be taken on faith. When you get right down to the nitty gritty, what is so hard to believe about the Bible. Especially the New Testament. Jesus came to teach us about love, LOVE. God's love for a people who did not really return His great love, but He still loved them, loves us even though we are so very ungrateful. Shame on us, shame!

ms_canada 12 years, 4 months ago

e_m - true as you say. All too true. The love expressed in the Bible is not exclusive. If we compare the message of God to the world, it is fairly different to some other religious teaching, which I am reluctant to mention. Others do not teach that their God died to pay for their sins.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

I don't think the central message of the gospel is love. I think that it is we can become one with the Father through Christ Jesus.

The question that many people have is what gives us reason to invest our faith in Christ. Why is He a better choice than the other options available to us? We are instructed not to wait until we have a sign before we will believe, but I will tell you that if you will try it out, you will receive a witness that your faith was well placed and that it is real. But, you receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. Christ taught, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:17). It is all about your personal relationship with your Father in Heaven.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

I would say to all who are wondering what is right or what they should do, remember the words of James, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not [in other words, he won't scold you for asking]; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering" (James 1:5-6, my explanation added). Pray to God and ask him if the Bible is true. Ask him if the Quran is true if you want, but ask in faith, not as you would an eight ball. Even if you can no more than desire to believe, let that desire grow within you until you can give place for a portion of his word. First, study it out in your own mind, form an opinion on the matter then ask God if your conclusion is correct. He'll let you know if you are sincere and are willing to act on the answer you receive. Share with Him your concerns. In that quiet reverence thoughts will come to your mind and you will know that you are on the right track when you feel peace and surety.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

In its broadest sense faith is the principle of action that underlies all purposeful behavior. No one knows that the sun is going to come up tomorrow. We only know that it has everyday that we have been around to observe it. We have a pretty good idea that it will come up tomorrow, but we don't know that because it hasn't happened yet. We have faith that it will come up and because we believe in that we get up in the morning and eat breakfast and go to work. But, it is all based on our faith in our understanding of the world and our beliefs about what will happen in the future.

But, the faith that will save you is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that he truly did meet the demands of justice on your behalf and is now extending mercy to you if you will but accept Him and his work. That faith will motivate you to action, to repent of your sins, seek forgiveness, and be reconciled with God.

On a separate note: I think people are basically good, but I don't put my faith in humankind, for I would be disappointed because humans aren't perfect and they can do some really cruel and unfair things.

oldfashiongirl 12 years, 4 months ago


I must disagree with you that the Bible was created by man and interpreted by man. Somewhere in the New Testament it states that "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." That has always been my idea of who wrote the Bible. Can't find the exact verse right at the moment.

I've been a Christian for 67 years and going to Sunday School since 1929-76 years. Our Southern Baptist Church in Kentucky had "sword drills", an exercise in finding scripture the fastest, when given the chapter and verse, or simply given the scripture and you had to find that. Most all the time I was the winner. I believe in God and the Bible and it is my daily guide in how I should live and treat others.

I love this subject and am so pleased to hear from all you other people, as I was beginning to think that Lawrence was just a hotbed of drunks, smokers, pot users and general lawlessness. I want to go there some day, just so I can say on leaving there, "I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore!" This is Virginia from Virginia.

Bubarubu 12 years, 4 months ago

It is very difficult to countenance the notion that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, since, you know, he dies before it's complete. The fact that we Jews call the first five books the books of Moses, doesn't mean he wrote them. It's one thing to believe in scripture, and even to believe it is the literal word of God, but let's not be stupid.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

Another part of the Bible that is overlooked is the issue of authority. Somehow, the Protestants got the understanding that they could get authority to act in God's name from the reading of the Bible to perform baptisms and bless the sick, or give the gift of the Holy Ghost. No where in the Bible does it say you can get authority that way.

The Bible teaches that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel. (see Acts 13:1-4 for one of the clearest examples). Those who truly hold the priesthood can trace it back from person to person all the way back to the Apostles who received it from Christ. The Catholics claim to have received this authority from Peter when he was in Rome, that he gave the authority to the bishop of Rome. I don't believe that is true, but at least they have a claim. None of the Protestant churches even claim to have received authority from anyone who held it. They have no authority to organize a church nor baptize a single person.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

The last part of Deuteronomy was most likely an editorial comment by one of the compilers of the Pentateuch perhaps written around the time the Israelites left Babylon. But, that isn't to say that Moses did not receive the revelation of the creation and the Fall or the commandments from God.

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

Big belly laugh at that response sunflower_sue. And thank you, because for a second there I found myself agreeing with Bowhunter.

Liberty 12 years, 4 months ago

That there is no hell, and that believing is the same thing as faith.

Liberty 12 years, 4 months ago

enochville: Are not 'all' people called by God but few are choosen? Hasn't God called all to repentance and a relationship with Himself? The authority comes from God, not the body of believers who are followers of Christ like ourselves. Otherwise why should one seek the most precious gifts that God gives like prophecy (teaching) if he/she can not receive that gift without a touch of a saint that lived before? Does this "authority" come from a saint or God? Just a friendly thought provoking question. [I am with you and not against you, just wanted to give you something to think about]. :-)

Liberty 12 years, 4 months ago

An example of one that was chosen is Saul of Tarsus, who we commonly know as Paul who wrote most of the New Testament. He was dropped to the ground by Jesus in His Chariot on the road to damascus and the brightness of Jesus blinded Saul. Saul was fighting against the Lord, when Jesus told him that he should not kick against the pricks. Pricks are like the blades that protrude out of the chariot wheel like in the movie Ben Hur during the chariot race. Saul was evidently kicking while being flattened on the ground by the power of the Lord Jesus. Not many noble are chosen...

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

The authority to officiate in the ordinances of the gospel comes from God, but he has established a pattern on how that authority is to be given so that there may be order in his house and so that we may know who the true messengers of the Father are so that we are not led astray. By having a body of priesthood who have been ordained of God by the laying on of hands by those who have authority all may know that these are the men God has authorized to be our teachers and to introduce us to the baptismal and communion covenants. Many people are good intentioned, but God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and unless they have received the priesthood even as Aaron did from the hands of Moses, they are not authorized to lead Christ's church.

Paul is an excellant example, although he received his calling from the Lord himself, the Lord did not ordain him to his office at that time, but instead instructed him to go into town and it would be told him what he should do. The Lord then revealed his will for Saul to Ananias, his servant who undoubtedly held the priesthood, who laid his hands on Saul and blessed him and I am sure at that time authorized him to preach the gospel. Later, although it is not written, Paul received the authority of the holy apostleship from those who held it, just as the apostles did with Matthias in Acts 1. You see even God did not violate his own precedent, although Paul had seen Christ in a vision, he was not authorized to preach and baptize until he first received the priesthood from those who held it.

I think the Bible is clear enough in this matter. Hebrews 7 teaches more about the priesthood. It is my witness that the priesthood was taken from the earth with the death of the apostles. The Lord permitted this because the believers were no longer giving heed to their counsel. But, God has again restored his holy priesthood to the earth.

In regards to the matter about being called, but few are chosen. There are different callings or assignments we may receive from the Lord. He has called all of us to follow in the footsteps of his Son and accept Christ and be true believers, but all do not do what they need to do to fulfill that calling and thus they are not chosen to fill that role in the Lord's kingdom. Just because one is called to be a minister of Christ, even as Paul was, he still, like Paul needs to be ordained to the priesthood by those who have stewardship over the church.

Here are several scriptures on the subject of being ordained to the priesthood. You will see those who held authority were inspired to take a person and ordain them to their office. Exodus 28:1; 40:13; Numbers 27:23; 1 Samuel 16:3; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 6:13; 10:1; John 15:16; Acts 1:24; 6:5; 13:2; 2 Corin. 10:8; 1 Timothy 2:7; and Hebrews 5:4.

Liberty 12 years, 4 months ago

A Bible reference for you is I John 2:23-29.

Whosoever denys the Son, the same has not the Father: [but he that acknowledges the Son, has the Father also].

Let that therfore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also will continue in the Son, and in the Father.

And this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life.

These things have I written unto you concerning them that suduce you.

But the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

And now little children, abide in Him: that when He shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

If you know that He is righteous, you know that every one that does righteousness is born of Him.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

I think we will have to agree to disagree. According to my understanding, John addresses his letter to the general membership of the Church of Christ. All of his audience had been baptised and given the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those who had authority and were even at that time led by local leaders, Bishops, Elders, Evangelists, who also had priesthood authority. They already had that common understanding, and John is teaching them to listen to the Spirit and allow the Spirit to instruct them in what to teach and how to act. I see no where in the passage you shared any authority bestowed in any manner separate from what I have previously pointed out.

Priesthood authority was not for the Jews only; many of the passages I referenced are New Testament ones. The problem that the modern reader has is he or she lacks the basic understanding of how the Church operated during the time of the Apostles. We get little glimpes from time to time as side notes when the author is focused on sharing some other story or doctrine. But, the writers rarely spelled out the framework of understanding on which they hung their various discourses.

The intended audience of the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles, were already familiar with the general background functioning and basic beliefs of the Church. When the Apostles spoke about teaching by the Spirit they were speaking to people who already held the priesthood and had been given the Holy Ghost by those who had authority. They were not talking directly to the Protestants and Catholics of our day, who undoubtedly have felt the Spirit from time to time but have not been baptized or given the gift of the Holy Ghost by those who have authority; for no one in the Catholic or Protestant churches have the authority to do these things. The Apostles were speaking to members of the true Church, not to people who have never joined with the Church, because no one had authority to baptize them. Baptisms are performed today in the Catholic and Protestant churches, but they are to no effect because the ministers who perform them are not authorized. What I am basically saying is that Catholics and Protestants need to remember that what the Apostles said to the church does not always apply to them, because they are not part of that church.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

Many will claim, that cannot be true for I have felt the Holy Ghost. I am sure that you have as you have read or heard the word of God as taught in the scriptures. Anyone can feel the Holy Ghost before baptism (Acts 10:44-48). The Spirit comes to nonmembers of the Church to testify to their hearts that the words they have heard are true and urge them to become united with the body of Christ through baptism. For, nonmembers the feeling of the Spirit is fleeting, it does not stay with them. But, for those who have received the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands by those who have authority after baptism, the Spirit is a constant companion to remain with them as long as they are worthy of it (Acts 8:12-17). You can feel the difference.

Liberty 12 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the discussion. I enjoyed it. The Levitical preisthood was only with the Jewish people and not the Gentiles. It is one of the 12 tribes. Jesus is now our High Preist for Jew and Gentile and we go directly though Him to the Father when we make a request at the throne of God. This is why we pray in Jesus' name. Our differences do not seem to affect our interest in God's word, which is good. I haven't noticed lacking the Holy Spirit as God has revealed many things to me and continues to do so through His Word as I read it and as the Spirit gives a seed thought that develops an entire concept in the Bible and gives special insight teaching me His Word as I read it. I can not say that I have ever "felt" the Holy Spirit" but He reveals Himself in more spiritual ways that are generally non-physical in my experience.
We are baptized into the Lord as we believe and then speak out that belief (faith)that Jesus died on the cross taking our punishment for our sins, and was raised on the 3rd day to everlasting life. He gave us His righteousness for our old sin nature.

Baptism is a work that God gives us to perform as we mix it with our faith. It is a work that most anyone can perform that symbolizes the death of the Lord and the death of our old nature(being nailed to the cross with Him), and then as He rose from the dead (as we are emerging from the water), we also rise and continue to live in the newness of life that He provides (with an accountable attitude towards God.) And it creates the basis for our faith that the Father will raise us up from the dead in the first resurrection. I hope that you continue to grow in His Word as well. I wish you well.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

I agree that the Levitical priesthood was for the Israelites. The Levities had authority to officiate in the temple by performing animal sacrifice, pronouncing clean the lepers, and the high priest entered into the Holy of Holies once a year. I speak of the higher priesthood, the Melchezidek Priesthood, the same priesthood held by prophets who were not of the tribe of Levi, and Apostles, and Bishops, of which Christ is the great High Priest. It was through this priesthood, the Apostles cast out devils and healed the sick, baptized, gave the gift of the Holy Ghost, and led the Church after Christ ascended into heaven. Before anyone says Christ instructed the Apostles to fast and pray to cast out devils; yes he did, he had already given them the authority, but power in the priesthood is proportional to your worthiness and Christ knew that the Apostles needed to become more sanctified to cast out that devil.

Jesus is high priest to Jew and Gentile and we do pray to the Father in His name for He is our great Intercesseror with the Father, but this does not preclude that the Church He established is not composed of a kingdom of priests.

I rejoice that the Holy Spirit has given you insight of spiritual things and understanding of the Word. I am speaking of a matter of degree. I completely agree with this statement you made, "We are baptized into the Lord as we believe and then speak out that belief (faith)that Jesus died on the cross taking our punishment for our sins, and was raised on the 3rd day to everlasting life. He gave us His righteousness for our old sin nature." I also agree with you in your explanation of baptism's symbolic nature.

Baptism is an ordinance of salvation, through it we make a covenant with the Lord. To enter into that covenant, we must go to those persons who are authorized by God, even as Jesus did when He went to John the Baptist. Any old person will not do and you will find no support of that view in the Bible. The Bible is more explicit on receiving ordinances from those who have the authority when it comes to receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.

Liberty 12 years, 4 months ago

All believers have or will be made Kings and Priests per Revelation 5:10 to rule the earth. Jesus being our High Priest.

I see no biblical support for the need to be authorized by a Church representative to baptize. If the Church is a 501c3 church, it's god is the state and no longer Jesus. (Headship wise).

Phillip, Apollo, Paul did baptisms and others as well, and none of them complained about someone being baptized by a non-preist or for the need of an authorized priest to do the baptism to my knowledge. It is simply an act of obedience to God. John the Baptist performed the baptism on Jesus while feeling unworthy, but he performed it because of fullfilling righteousness to God. (Doing what is right in God's sight).

Baptism Scriptures

Matt 3:13-16 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. (Notice that Jesus did not seek out the high Preist for this activity) Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Rom 6:1-8 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Liberty 12 years, 4 months ago

I find it an interesting concept that you have about the Preisthood being the reason that devils were cast out and so on... But the book of Acts may put a few cracks in that theory. Jesus even expained that it was faith that allowed people to be healed, not the authorization of a Preist. The power comes from God, not a Preisthood as far as I can tell. Peter in the book of Acts said: Why do you look at me as though this man was healed because of my holiness? Peter was saying that faith in the name of Jesus healed that person, not because he was a type of preist.

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

Revelation 5:10, as you cited above, should give us something to think about. Why does God through his servants that wrote the Bible keep inspiring them to write in this verse and others about priests, authority and ordinations, throughout the New Testament, if they are supposedly of no significant importance now that Christ has taught us his gospel? The fact is it is still very important and very relevant and is the method which Christ himself established and we need to conform to if we desire to obey him.

I will admit that the verses that refer to baptism do not clearly state the need to be baptized by an authorized person; but those verses do not state that it does not matter who baptizes you. The fact is all who are recorded as baptizing were authorized. Even John the Baptist was the son of a high priest. It was John's calling to baptize the Savior; furthermore, the current high priest was corrupt. Since the Bible is silent in regards to the need for authority to baptize, I cannot fault you for feeling it is unnecessary. I feel blessed to have more of God's word that states the need for authority quite explicitly. This of course does not contradict the Bible, for as we have shown the Bible neither spells out the need for it or denies the need for it.

There are many doctrines alluded to in the Bible which would be incomprehensible if we had not this additional Testament from God. One such doctrine is the baptism for the dead, which Paul does not explain, but references its practice as evidence that all of us will one day rise from the dead (1 Corin. 15:29). Another is what Paul meant by the "third heaven" (2 Corin 12:2). Another is how the resurrection of the dead is like the glory of the sun, moon, and stars (1 Corin 15:40-42). All of these doctrines along with the role of the priesthood and taught in their fulness in other scripture, but alluded to in the Bible, showing that the early Christians knew and understood these doctrines well.

Returning to the casting out of devils and healing of the sick, although a man may be authorized by the Lord to perform these miracles, his power to do so is dependent on his faith. You said, "The power comes from God, not a Preisthood as far as I can tell." The priesthood is the power of God given to man to act in his name, and is the power by which the worlds are and were created.

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