Read Nehemiah 8:1-3, Nehemiah 8:8. Why is a clear understanding of Scripture so important for us, not only as individuals but as a church?
The most important question in the Bible is the question of salvation and how we are saved. After all, what else matters in the long run? What good is it, as Jesus Himself told us, if we gain all that the world offers and lose our own souls (Matt. 16:26)?
But to know what the Bible teaches about salvation depends very much on interpretation. If we approach and interpret the Bible wrongly, we will likely come to false conclusions, not just in the understanding of salvation but in everything else that the Bible teaches. In fact, even in the time of the apostles, theological error had already crept into the church, no doubt buttressed by false interpretations of Scripture.
Read 2 Peter 3:15-16. What does this tell us about how important a correct reading of Scripture is?
Indeed, if we are a people of the Book, who want to live by the Bible and the Bible alone — and we do not have other authoritative sources like tradition, creeds, or the teaching authority of the church to interpret the Bible for us — then the issue of a correct hermeneutic of the Bible is so important because we have only the Bible to tell us what we shall believe and how we shall live.
The issue of the interpretation of Scripture is vital to the theological and missiological health of the church. Without a correct interpretation of the Bible, there can be no unity of doctrine and teaching, and thus no unity of the church and our mission. A bad and distorted theology inevitably leads to a deficient and distorted mission. After all, if we have a message to give to the world but are confused about the meaning of the message, how efficiently will we be able to present that message to those who need to hear it?
|Read the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14:6-12. What are the theological issues here, and why is a correct understanding of them so important to our mission?|