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Thursday: Why Interpretation is Important — 22 Comments

  1. Given that there are thousands of individuals, organizations, and churches, each touting their interpretation of the Bible as correct, we face a difficult task in sorting through the data to arrive at what is "correct". Is it safe to think that the task is too hard for an individual and we should join a group/church that we think has done the hard work of sorting it out for us and agree with their interpretation?

    I suggest that the big issue is that our view of truth is of a static set of beliefs set out in a short document a couple of pages long that we can tick off. We call that set various names such as doctrines, beliefs pillars, catechism, and so on. We sign off on those beliefs and think that we have arrived. I was baptized at the tender age of 13 and have hidden in one of my drawers, my baptismal certificate with, I think, 17 fundamental beliefs that I agreed to. Now, over 60 years later, both my church and I have changed considerably. The number of fundamental beliefs has not only increased but their wording has changed considerably. And I have weathered secular education, church employment, world crises, and numerous sermons that have prophecied catastrophic persecution, the commencement of plagues, etc, to retain my faith. Further, I have seen some who started this same journey with me end up with an entirely different interpretation.

    In short what I want to say is, we need to accept the notion that truth, and by inference, interpretation is dynamic because a very real part of the whole process is to take the "truth" revealed in the Bible and make it relevant to us in the modern world. The Bible is not a textbook; it is a casebook, revealing God's people on a journey of understanding. That is why the Bible is hard reading at times. The journey is not a linear progression of understanding but more like a journey through a hilly landscape with grand mountains and deep valleys. We are no different today and we need the dynamic of continued, applicative, interpretation to make sense of the struggles we face today.

    If we have the presupposition that this set of lessons will arrive at a singular unified interpretation that we can all sign off on with uniformity then I think we will be disappointed. If however, we see it as an invitation to continue the interpretive process with the idea of application to our current journey, then maybe we will be in a much happier place.

    Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
    Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:1,2 KJV

    • I came into the church back in 1982 after reading myself into the church that was part of a two year journey after coming to saving faith in God. It isn't as long as yourself, Maurice, but during this time I too, and the church, have changed. As having pastored for 22+ years I have seen the old baptismal certificates that predate our 1980 fundamentals and that document changing in my years as an SDA.

      In light of this fact of a dynamic walk with Christ that Christianity really is, it is a journey of strengthen faith, maturing faith, that the text you quote encapsulates this truth. The sin that so easily besets, in the context of the book of Hebrews, is unbelief, and the outside and inside forces that align against the truth of God is poised to try and have us fall back into unbelief. We mustn't let what the word has shared with us that brought us to faith, to slip as the second chapter of Hebrews said.

      Just prior to or just after I was baptized on July 24, 1982 I had a dear "Mother in Israel" come up to me one day in church and take my hands tenderly but firmly into her 8 plus decade grip, she looked into my eyes and said, "Kevin, you have come into the church at a very bad time [note the date of my baptism, the wake of the Desmond Ford controversy], but you just keeping looking to Jesus, and everything will turn out alright." Indeed, let us keep looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.

    • Maurice, why is agreement/uniformity disappointing? Doesn't Paul counsel the church to "speak the same things, that there be no divisions among you"(1 Cor 1:10)? If we all find truth, won't we all be in agreement? Or are there different meanings of "truth" that will not allow all to agree, while having "truth"?

      Jesus prayed that we would be one with Him and our Father in heaven, and is this possible without speaking the same things where Truth is concerned? Only one true Sabbath. Only one state for all who die. Only one Law of God which has never changed, though part has been fulfilled, yet the truth of it remains intact though fulfilled. Etc.

      Now the application of a singular truth might be different in our lives as God sees fit to lead you on a path that will not be exactly as the path He will lead me on. Perhaps you speak of these "differences", yet what has that to do with Truth? Not all have the same gifts to exercise for the Truth, yet the goal/purpose is the same, to save sinners through Christ and be sanctified by the Truth.

      How did you mean it, concerning the disappointment of agreement/uniformity? There are issues in the church that have divided us in all places, yet this cannot be what God is wanting for us. I believe Paul speaks by the Holy Spirit in calling us to "speak the same things" so we will not be divided in understanding, purpose, and action.

  2. In this lesson my mind was jogged to think of the Ethiopian Eunuch. There in his chariot the eunuch was puzzling over Isaiah's declaration about the Servant as a sheep led to slaughter, as to who it referred to. The writer or another. Phillip was invited to give interpretation to help answer the eunuch's query.

    Without commenting upon mechanics of interpretation here, suffice to say, indeed interpretation is needed. Sometimes that interpretation can come from others. In other settings it may come through one's own acquired tools and experience that help that interpretive process. Of course, seeking the guidance and tutoring of the Holy Spirit is a must as well.

  3. In the parables, Jesus used real life examples a person living in his time could relate to but through interpretation drove a home much deeper spiritual lesson. Parable of the one lost sheep. Shepherds could easily relate to the story. Interpretation of the story gives us greater depth of the meaning in the story.
    One interpretation is when a person has lost their relationship with the Lord, He goes after that person finds the person and brings them back to the fold.

    Second, interpretation out of the entire universe one planet has turned its back on Christ. Instead of forsaking us God sent His only begotten Son so that the relationship could be restored.

    These interpretations of the scriptures allow us to gain a greater understanding of God’s love for humanity.

  4. I remember a few years ago watching the news where they showed a Pastor of a North Carolina church burning all Bibles version in front of his church except the KJV. His reason was, "The KJV is the same version that Jesus used when He walked the earth." If I were to follow that reasoning, where would I be today. And to share that belief with others, I would be held accountable.

    On Monday's lesson for Sabbath School, I will be sharing with my class a paper our found, "Andrews University - A Perspective on 7th Day Adventist Hermeneutics, Faculty Publications, 2014. In the paper 4 reference points were made.

    1) We (Adventist) believe that God is a personal Being who took the initiative to reveal Himself to humanity and the Bible provides us with knowledge to enable us to enter into a saving relationship with Him.

    2) The entrance of sin into the world radically altered the relationship between God and humanity and affects how people understand God’s will for them. In the interpretation of Scripture the effects of sin are obstacles that prevent a clear understanding of God’s will. Pride, self-deception, doubt, distance and distortion are such obstacles that require the guidance of the Holy Ghost to overcome them-Isaiah 59:2

    3) The same Spirit who inspired the Bible writers has been promised to illumine the minds of those who seek to understand the meaning of Scripture - John 14:26

    4) Those who read the Bible need a disposition of mind and heart that leads to understand God’s will. Such a disposition cannot be attained only through proper hermeneutical skills and technique. Foundational attitudes include openness and honesty, faith and humility, obedience and prayer-1 Corinthians 2:10-14

    In this lesson, we talked about giving consideration to culture, our sinful nature and our affects on the unchurched and how we act as Christian around them (by our fruits).

    If I had to talk about one important thing, keeping it simple for the unchurched who are in my class, what thing would I want to emphasize and discuss for why the Bible needs interpretation? Again, I have their attention and I don't want to lose them. Also the reason I brought us the North Carolina Pastor is that because I have one person in the class that is insisting to everyone the same practice.

    A lot of moving parts here and I can use some advice.

    Thank you

    • Hello Nelson,

      The approach I would take with unchurched seekers is this:

      1) Discuss Acts 2:11 in the context of Pentecost. God’s objective through his Holy Spirit is that all who are seeking him should hear the Gospel in a language that is understandable to them. Those who heard the disciples prophesying had their faith awakened and strengthened by hearing the testimony of Jesus in language that was understandable to them. (The KJV does not normally meet the criterion of being understandable because it is written in the language of the 1600s. There are also significant deficiencies in the KJV translation. See “The History of the English Bible” at https://bible.org/series/history-english-bible.)

      2) Discuss Acts 8:30-31 noting the Holy Spirit uses Philip to make the Word of God understandable. God uses consecrated Spirit-filled men and women to make his word understandable. The preface of most modern translations of the Bible will show that persons who translate the Bible fit this criterion. The Holy Spirit is very involved in making God’s Word to mankind understandable because that Word is the means by which his gospel is proclaimed.

      3) Discuss the four points of hermeneutics in your post in the context of the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Spirit of Christ is to reveal God and his amazing grace and love to each one of us, so that we will stop believing the lies of Satan. This is the essence of the testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy. The testimony of Jesus should be our testimony in thought, word and deed, so that we may prophecy in his name (that is, in his character).

      Hope this helps.

      Richard Ferguson

  5. Today's lesson suggests that "the most important question in the Bible is the question of salvation and how we are saved."

    I do not disagree that salvation is vitally important. However, I would propose that the question of God's nature and character is even more important as this is the core issue that underpins the whole Great Controversy. How we each understand God's nature and character (and therefore the issues at stake and dynamics involved in the Great Controversy) will influence how we understand salvation and how we are saved. Having this broader focus on God and how Satan has misportrayed and continues to misportray Him will reduce the risk of us becoming too self-focused (in a detrimental way) upon our own salvation.

    The lesson also focuses upon the proclamation of the Three Angel's messages. Again, the verbal sharing of what is happening in the big picture (Great Controversy) context is very relevant for the times and circumstances we are living in at present and moving forward. However even more important that our verbal proclamation is how we live out the essence of this message in our daily lives - especially including how we treat those we interact with during each day.

    I believe the following quote well summarises Jesus way of doing this as the "missiological" 'pattern' for us to emulate as His followers:

    "Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”" (Ministry of Healing pg 143.3)

  6. The promise of God is that anyone may find Him if we "search with all your heart"(Jer 29:13). If we have His word in our language, we need no one to "translate" His word if our desire is to know the truth in order to obey it.

    In the book "Faith and Works", read pg 77. We are told "don't trust any living man to interpret the Bible for you".

    From "Lift Him Up", 130, we read that the Bible "was designed for the common people. The great truths necessary for our salvation are made as clear as noonday, and none will mistake and lose their way except those who follow their own judgment instead of the plainly revealed will of God."

    Tyndale labored to bring the Bible to the people in their own language, knowing that even "a boy that driveth the plow" would come "to know more of the Scripture that you do", speaking to a learned Catholic doctor(GC 246).

    The example of Nehemiah 8 is not about translating the word of God to the people, it was how they read it clearly and distinctly, so that the words written would be understood by all, as it was in their own language(see COL 335). Our ability to speak clearly is a talent we must develop so we may be clearly understood by all.

    God wants all to know His word, and He has brought His word to us in our language. Can we trust that He is able to give it to us as He intends for us to know "the certainty of the words of Truth"(Prov 22:20,21)?

    Jesus spoke to the common man, and the Gospels are given to us in common language so that all can know the teaching of Jesus themselves. We need only to study prayerfully, and receive the Word of the Lord with all our heart.

    • "The promise of God is that anyone may find Him if we "search with all your heart"(Jer 29:13). If we have His word in our language, we need no one to "translate" His word if our desire is to know the truth in order to obey it."

      I agree completely with the first statement you have said Robert.

      Something I wonder about the second statement though. This week we have noted two examples of times when translation/interpretation was needed: (a) The Ethiopian Eunuch and Philip and (b) The disciples on the road to Emmaus and Jesus.

      Question: Does that mean that The Ethiopian and/or the disciples didn't have a desire to know the truth and obey it - and that is why they needed translation/interpretation assistance? Could it be that God utilises translation/interpretation to assist a genuine truth seeker at times?

      • How much outside interpretation is needed if one reads the Word of God for themselves without the addition of misapplication? If read in one's own language, the word of God is "as clear as the noonday". Jesus, at the age of 12 understood clearly the prophecies concerning Himself didn't He? He had never placed Himself under any Jewish teacher as all others did. With the disciples after His death, those passages that the teachers in the synagogues had misapplied were now clothed in the light of His life, death and resurrection, and needed no interpretation. Jesus did not come to interpret scripture, only to "rescue truth from it's companionship with error"(7T, 35).

        I have witnessed the power of God's word to reveal the truth by simply connecting one passage with another, which together, made the truth evident to those who had believed a false application taught to them by a trusted preacher/teacher. God's word is "as clear as the noonday" on the truths that concern our salvation.

        The Ethiopian didn't know how to apply what he was reading since he did not know who Isaiah was referring to, and when Philip shared the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the passage no longer remained a mystery. Nothing was added to the scriptures by either Jesus(Luke 24) or Philip, but if simply shared as it reads in the language of those reading, it is clear. Their former confusion was either lack of knowledge or misapplication.

        As an example, a whole movement was greatly disappointed in 1844 when Jesus did not appear in the clouds of heaven to receive His people and "cleans" the earth by fire. They only needed to connect other passages to see the clear meaning. Misapplication clouds our minds, where a correct application reveals the truth. Application/explanation is not interpretation, though the word interpret is often used in this sense.

        If needing outside interpretations, could the Word of God truly be "a Lamp for our feet and a light for our Path"? What do we understand from passages such as Heb 4:12, 2 Tim 2:15; 3:16,17, Prov 22:20,21, Ps 119:97-105, etc? How did the Berean's learn/confirm the Truth? The Ethiopian through Philip and the disciples through Jesus learned to do the same didn't they? No outside "interpretation" needed.

        Look at "Faith and Works", pg 77 recently? I just happened to be going through this wonderful book last week and finished this week, and that page got me investigating closer into this topic due to our lesson this week, and I have learned a few things. I would also recommend "Lift Him Up", pg 130, which happened to be my morning devotional last week.

        My thoughts on interpretation are in regard to "outside" sources of interpretation, which FW, 77 seems very clear about. I would appreciate any thoughts on that if you have them.

        We need a personal experience as too many rely on the interpretations/misapplications of others. We have the promise of God to "instruct you and teach you" Himself(Ps 32:8)!

        • Robert, you make many great points and I agree wholeheartedly with your last statement. Many give up too quickly when seeking understanding from the original source. When reading someone elses interpretation, the revealing power of God's Light is 'dimmed' in his/her own mind.
          Prayerful and continues exposure to God's word as written will improve the understanding of His Word by the reader and reveal its Truth.

        • Thanks Robert for the dialogue with you...

          I have read pg 77 in Faith and Works - and the preceding 30 or so pages to get the flow and context. Also read Lift Him Up pg 130. Also reviewed Nehemiah 8:7-8, and Luke 24:45 re the road to Emmaus and Acts 8:30,31.

          The key theme in all of these is the notion of enabling someone to come to an understanding/'knowledge' of a writing such that the reader now shares first-hand for themselves what the original writer was intending to convey. Philip (in Acts 8:31) guided (Greek: hodegesei which describes a training/mentoring process that involves the teacher assisting the learner how to come to see for themselves what the learner can't yet see).

          'We' keep running into the issue of word meanings. For example, you have said that "Application/explanation is not interpretation, though the word interpret is often used in this sense". When I look at Merriam-Webster dictionary for example, I read that "interpret" means to "explain or tell the meaning of: present in understandable terms". What appears to be illustrated is that is is not a simple as a writer merely using a word (or collection of words) and assuming that every reader will from the outset know exactly what the writer meant by that word.

          This is the same problem in someone coming to know what the original writer of a particular scripture had in mind when they wrote the scripture in the original language. And then the translator took the original language and chose words/phrases in another language to either convey word for word equivalence or to convey a concept in the original language into an equivalent concept in the recipient language (as is the case with the understanding of the widely used Hebrew idiom of causation as actually meaning permission/allowance in modern Western equivalence).

          I have reflected that Jesus used a lot of parables/stories/analogies to convey/unlock the meaning of aspects of the Old Testament (the then available Scriptures) in ways that the 'common' person of Jesus time could understand. In this way Jesus was explaining things in a way that clarified misconceptions and lack of awareness and/or understanding for His hearers.

          Having a look at Faith and Works pg 77, I note that the context is reference to the Catholic Church's track record of imposing its own interpretation on Scripture and then enforcing this 'outside interpretation' (ie an interpretation that was at odds with the true intent of Scripture) on people and forbidding them to investigate it for themselves. The line by which they 'sold' this to people was their authoritarian claim that Word of God was incapable of being understood by the common person. Ellen White is speaking against this view by saying that God has given the capacity to think, reason and discern to all people - not just the elite.

          So, we have 2 distinct concepts: (1) all people have the capacity to understand, but (2) sometimes people need assistance to develop this capacity. This is because the capacity to understand is a developmental capacity - it needs to be grown and developed. This is reflected in, say, 2 Timothy 2:15 where Timothy is instructed/encouraged to study - a developmental process - to grow and develop his capacity to rightly divide/discern scripture. This is what Philip assisted the Ethiopian to do and what Jesus assisted the disciples to do. I have looked into the Greek words in these two experiences (and in Nehemiah) and they convey the idea expressed above - come to understanding which is a broader concept that application of that understanding (which is the flow-on outcome of coming to true understanding of truth). Naturally, all of the above teaching/training/assistance provided by individuals to other individuals was under the overarching and underpinning work of the Holy Spirit.

          I agree with you that Jesus came to "rescue truth from it's companionship with error"(7T, 35). However I would propose - on the basis of the 'evidence' outlined above - that the way in which He did this was via correctly interpreting for people what they were blind to or otherwise misinterpreting (as the notion of interpret is defined as assisting people to come to a true understanding and therefore knowledge of). And I would also agree with you that while Jesus used many extra words (via parables, stories and analogies) to foster this process, He did not use "outside" 'interpretation' in the way that the Catholic Church had used in former ages as authoritarian manipulation for its own agenda.

          As an aside, I did note an interesting couple of things in earlier pages of Faith and Works.

          "Satan is the author of death. What did Christ do after He brought Satan under the dominion of death? The very last words of Christ while expiring on the cross were, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The devil saw that he had overdone himself. Christ by dying accomplished the death of Satan and brought immortality to light." (FW 73.4)

          Interesting... Satan is the (definitive and therefore exclusive article) author of death. And Christ accomplishes the death of Satan (who is the exclusive source of death) by dying - not by directly putting Satan to death. Thus, Jesus essentially did something that bought about Satan's own undoing - and thus the author of death dies as a direct causal inherent consequence the nature of the very thing he has authored.

          Numbers 21:6 states that God "sent" fiery serpents among the Israelites when they were complaining about conditions. And yet Ellen White explains the same incident this way:

          "...The children of Israel had lost sight that God was protecting them from the venomous beasts. But when He withdrew His hand their sting was upon them." (FW 69.2)

          It appears Ellen White understood (a) Satan as the sole author of death and (b) that she also understood the Hebrew idiom of causation as release of restraint.

          Thus, guidance is sometimes needed to help us see what is as clear as the noonday - when our eyes are opened.

          I know you are concerned for me and the views I try to explain - and I appreciate that you are concerned. I have seen two very different views from scripture in my many years. Was I seeing the first time around and now I have become blinded? Or was I blind the first time around and now I am learning to see more clearly? God's fruit-bearing in me testifies to one of these two options over the other.

  7. 1.Worship God, the Creator!
    2. Babylon (an interpretation of a church) has fallen!
    3. The worship of the beast (an imposed system) will lead to a horrible end!
    In the first message, the figure of a God which is the Creator is basically against all men's theories about the universe and its origin! Thus, a very much theological subject - the origin of the word THEO itself can be referred here.
    In the second message, Babylon is interpreted, taking the whole book of Revelation in account, as a church, a church that has a worlwide history of conquering lands (like the Babylon empire itself) in the name of its own theological interpretation of the gospel.
    In the third message, the union of religious principles with political powers create an imposed system (beast), which if obeyed, according to the message, will lead people to desctruction!
    Have we, as 7th day adventist people, a church created based on these principles, seeing anything like that, specially the third message, being in open self-assembling movement? Do we see that? Do we still believe that will happen? Do we have any doubts about the soon return of Jesus? The world has turned upside down in a matter of 1-2 months... is this just one more sign? What kind of answers will the world find to all of these problems that human nature created for itself?

  8. Neh. 8:1-3, 8 --- Correct me if I am wrong but Ezra and the Levites made sure that the people could understand ALSO because they had been in Babylon-Persia for so long that they had adapted to the Aramaic language and lost some of their Hebrew.

  9. I usually study the entire lesson by Thursday and so I have already ready Friday. In it, the lesson writer suggests reading in Steps to ChristSteps to Christ, the chapter titled “What to do with doubt.” I read that this morning and I hope you all will take the time to do that. It’s a really good and relevant chapter. In a nutshell, it says, all who seek truth from the scriptures will find it. We were promised by Jesus himself, speaking to his disciples, John 14:26 - But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you. It is a promise we can turn to when we need help understanding things in scripture that seem difficult.

  10. I believe that we, the Christians, are doing ourselves a great disservice by placing so much focus on 'Interpretation'. We don't even agree on what needs interpretation. All this does is divide us and distracts us from discovering the power inherent in the message of Truth - Christ's Righteousness.

    The Scripture is too vast a repository of 'truths' from which we select a few items to 'use' when 'highlighting' our 'preferred' truth. I believe that this undue focus on 'interpretation' is the Achilles Heal of the Church - the body of believers.

    Before anything else is learned and then attempted to be 'interpreted', we need to fully understand and accept this Truth:
    Rom.3:23 - WE ALL HAVE SINNED AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. We are an imperfect, fallen soul.

    The next thing we need to accept as Truth is:
    Jeremiah 23:6 - In his days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely - and this is his name whereby he shall be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

    Rom.3:19-28 -v.28: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law - we are enjoined to Christ's Righteousness.

    When we take these Truths and place them into context regarding our Salvation, we find that God's redemptive work focuses on establishing our new life based on and through His Light:
    2Cor.4:12-18 - v.18 - While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen are eternal.

    We are continually tempted to find justification through our own acts of compassion. But this points back to ourselves - self-righteousness, unless we give Glory to God, the Source and Power that guides us.

    This is what the true believer needs to garble with. Continuously dying to 'self'! Do we take 'pride' in our works, do we 'glow' in our own wisdom that 'interprets' God's work of redemption, are we zealous to be 'heard'?
    Who receives the Glory?

    We know better:
    Isaiah 64:6 - But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses (deeds) are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. But then there is given Grace and Mercy by God to safe us from death.

    We will need to agree to keep our focus on what really matters - Salvation - and unite to spread the Gospel of Christ! Salvation and reunification with the Father through the Faith of Jesus Christ.

    Rom.1:16,17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, WHO HOLD THE TRUTH IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. (have not yet surrendered)

    We all have fallen short of (do not image) the Glory of God, yes - but His Glory will be bestowed on us at the end of our race - remain focused and faithful!!

    Therefor, leaving all the 'differences' behind - this should be our message:
    We, the believers, speaking in one accord about the one, all encompassing, overarching Truth:

    The righteousness and Faith of Jesus Christ, our Savior, has begone the work to restore to us our lost glory and, with it, makes it possible for us to live in His coming Kingdom.

  11. LEV 2.13 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.

    NUM 18.19 All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.

    2CH 13.5 Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?

    Ezra 4:14 English Standard Version
    Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king’s dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king,

    MAT 5.13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted ? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

    is "salt of the earth" just telling us that we are God's covenant people?
    Are we over-interpreting this?
    In ancient times people who shared salt were bound together as a group by mutual obligations. (Roy Gane) (The NIV Application Commentary) . Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

    • Salt is referred to in a variety of contexts in the Bible and each needs to examined within that context. I don't think that we can connect all the references to salt to get a consistent meaning out of them.

  12. The message Christ brought that was new to Judaism when He came in the flesh is, put in colloquial terms, “keep it simple, stupid”. He continually reminded those around Him by His life and in His words that there needs to be only one focus,

    “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

    If our study of scripture does not lead us to a better understanding of this simple theme, it is for nought.


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