What verse in scripture has the highest interpretive authority?

In scripture there are many seeming inconsistencies and using certain reading strategies these are insuperable.

One of these strategies is the one in which we take everything literally.

For instance we have this verse from Numbers:

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent:” Numbers 23:19

But we also have verses like this:

“for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” Jonah 4:2

Here Jonah is explaining to God why he went to tarshish instead of Nineveh. God had said He would destroy Nineveh and Jonah wanted Nineveh to be destroyed. That destruction was the evil that here – according to Jonah – God would and did repent of.

So the question is did God actually change His mind or was His intention fully carried out with no deviation? Which one glorifies God?

To settle the matter I will bring in the verse I believe to be of the highest authority in all of scripture. A verse that is as literal as it gets:

 

“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things” Romans 11:36

For god to change – truly change – His mind (to repent) there would have to be an agency outside of Him that could throw curve-balls his way.

 

God would have to be such a being that certain events surprise him and force Him to change His plan to accommodate a  fluid situation.

 

For a human this way of acting, this way of being fluid is laudable. No plan survives contact with the enemy after all.

 

But all things are not from, through and to us.

 

We exist in a state where there is a reality outside and – in some senses – against us to which we have to accommodate our wishes and plans.

But God is not a man.

So why the apparent change in His plan?

Because His real plan, His unchanging will was here to use Jonah and Nineveh as a means to express His divine character. He expressed His love through an apparent change of mind.

Nothing expresses Love like leniency!

 

 

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How I read the bible

The way I study scripture is actually really simple.

I just read it.

I’ve divided it up into 9 sections which are:

The Torah (first 5 books)

History (from Joshua to Esther)

Wisdom (Job, Proverbs, Eccl, and Songs of solomon)

Psalms

Major prophets

Minor prophets

Gospels (including acts)

Pauline epistles (excluding Hebrews)

Other epistles (Hebrews to revelations)

 

Every day I read 2 chapters from each section. Sometimes I can’t be arsed so I don’t. It’s not a bind.

The reason I do this is because I enjoy reading the scriptures and I like watching my understanding grow as I make more connections between the various parts.

I don’t use a commentary. I don’t use a study bible. I just read the bare text.

Most people will use a guide they get from their church but I believe this is a sure-fire way to remain stunted. Not just spiritually but intellectually as well. Essentially their reading strategy is one in which they read a passage of scripture and then read whatever their denomination of choice says it means and this they call understanding.

This is the reason why “christians” are amongst the dumbest and most bigoted people you can come across. They lack their own understanding which means they fear alternative understandings to the one they accepted.

I think the version you use is important to. Though it is possible to get to the truth with a KJV, a Strong’s or Young’s concordance and a healthy capacity to spot inconsistencies it’s arduous.

Why go the long way when you can go the easy way.

So the version I use is the concordant version. (You can read about it here: www.concordant.org)

The reason I use this version (and Young’s literal translation) is because most translations use many english words for one hebrew/greek word and one english word for many greek/hebrew words. It’s a mess to be frank.

There is one instance in the KJV where 49 hebrew words are translated using 1 english word!

“The english verb destroy is, in the Common Version, the representative of not less than 49 different Hebrew words” Robert Young “Introduction to the Young’s literal Translation”

Hell is a word used to translate Sheol, Hades and Gehenna.

Kosmos and aion are both translated as either age or world.

The concordant version though uses this strategy:

“With the exception of occasional idiomatic usages in this version each english word does exclusive duty for a single greek word. By this means the significance and application of a single word can be determined from the inspired contexts” Introduction to the Concordant Literal New Testament

Who’s in charge?

The importance of the new testament doesn’t lie in its prophecy. In fact the new testament – prophetically – was the fulfillment and consummation of the old testament.

“Fulfilled is the era, and near is the kingdom of God!” Mark 1:15

That near isn’t near if it’s still near… get me?

Anyway the importance of the new testament lies in its account of Jesus.

Why?

Jesus is the image of the invisible God.

“Given to me was all authority in heaven and on earth.” Matt 28:18

The 4 gospels give us the character and judgement of the person who is in charge. The person who has absolute, no-holds-barred (did I get that idiom right?) authority.

Who is responsible for all the decisions that people make? Jesus.

Who is responsible for all the actions that people do? Jesus.

Who’s in charge in a way that makes the authority of earthly principalities look like the authority of a freshly conceived fetus? Jesus.

This is good because I’m financially poor, I sin, I look at sexy ladies and think about nice things and when I see how Jesus was with people like me I see that I’m in the black.

Compare Jesus’ treatment of the two adulterous woman he comes across. The Samaritan and that woman brought in by the pharisees.

In the samaritan woman he used her adultery as a means to bless her.

The adulterous woman brought in by the religious elite is a beautiful example of his character.

To her he revealed the hidden counsel of God in that he didn’t accuse her. That is he treated with her as God treats with man under the new covenant.

To the religious elite he treated them in such a way that they went away ashamed. That is to say he treated them according to the old covenant.

As to the poor.

When Jesus turned the water into wine the rich man who was head of the feast got to have a damn good glass of wine but the servants who weren’t even part of the feast (and it’s reasonable to assume they were poor as hell) got to see a miracle.

“And, coming out into the roads, those slaves gathered all whom they found, both wicked and good” Matt 22:10

(I assume ya’ll got bibles or the internet – if you think I am taking anything out of context please inform me and make me aware of a better interpretation)

The foundation of the hell fraud

The whole hell fraud comes from the mistranslation of these greek terms:

Aion, aionan, gehenna, hades, and tartarus.

Aion means a length of finite time.

Aionan means – it lasts a length of finite time – – aionan to aion is like hourly to hour.

Hades refers to what the hebrew word sheol refers to – simply means something hidden – so jonah was hidden (sheol) in the whale.

Gehenna refers to the judgement of israel in ad 70

And tartarus – – is featured in the book of symbols and is actually a reference to the spirit of God and is referred by John the baptist when he says “He will baptize you in fire and the holy spirit”

God is a consuming fire after all

Law vs Grace and Truth

The old covenant was the means by which God pushed man into a state of disgrace so that the grace would be significant.

 

Adam and Eve in the garden expressed no gratitude for their condition. It was the norm for them to be in that relation with God, to have access to that abundance and because of this they did not know that they were in a state of bliss.

 

They did not know in the sense that they did not appreciate it.

 

In order for man to truly appreciate himself and God he had to experience lack.

 

He has to experience fully the cup of impotence and humiliation because only with this as the backdrop for the grace of God – which is for man to be made into the very image of God through no effort on man’s part – will the grace of God appear graceful.

 

“For the law came through moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus”

The law was not the truth and because of this it had a fading glory.

 

We see that at first God through the torah demanded sacrifice and demanded that the hebrews ate certain foods. But as the old testament progresses you see that God drops laws.

 

He says things like:

“”The multitude of your sacrifices– what are they to me?” says the LORD.

“I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats” Isaiah 1:11

And why didn’t He want sacrifices?

 

“I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.

If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?” Psalm 50

Here we have an example of how the law preceded the truth. How the law made way for the truth.

The law implied – IMPLIED DIDN’T SAY EXPLICITLY – that God needed us to burn animals but God doesn’t.

Why doesn’t He? Because He’s God.

This realization of God should be our guiding light in interpreting scripture and thinking about God.

If it makes God an impotent, fool then your doctrine is wrong… simples!