• let the words of God speak for God
If God didn't say it, then we cannot say he did!
What I am saying is let God show us his intended meaning through the words on the pages of our Bibles, not the hidden meaning, not "what the Spirit told me," not the family values spin, or religious patriotism, not proving my fundamentalism or building the case for evangelicalism. . .
But what do the words on the pages of our Bibles actually say!
We have allowed our theology, our life experience and our culture to come between us and the words of God.
And the only reason that happens is that the words are not transforming us but we are transforming the words to fit what pleases us.
And the reason the words are not transforming us is because we are not bowed in our hearts before God.
For years we evangelicals, fundamentalists, Protestants in general have criticized the Catholic Church for doctrines not based on Scripture. We have been understandably skeptical of the practice of the Roman pontiff speaking "ex cathedra" (from the chair) on matters regarding faith and morals.
But are we any different when what we say God says cannot be seen in the words of the Bible? When we use "what this means is" as a detour to our private interpretation.
An example -- One very well-known preacher who speaks to thousands daily on the radio stated that although tithing was not directly taught in the New Testament that it was assumed.
The question then almost has to be "What else that is not found to be New Testament teaching should we assume to be true?" And possibly "Who has the authority to assume?"
Go to John McArthur's site Grace to You for a biblical treatment on giving. The preacher in Georgia is wrong to assume something God chose not to teach in the New Testament.
We are much too quick to point out what a Scripture text means before we examine what it actually says. We do not listen when we read.
Look at the text in Proverbs 2.1-5. Look at how many steps need to be taken before we "find the knowledge of God."
And, yet, we pick up our Bibles and have already determined what it means before even paying attention to what it says.
All I am saying is -- Let God speak to us, beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. Better words than we have. Words that God in his wisdom has chosen to teach us his higher ways and higher thoughts.
Yes, there are some parts of the Bible that are very difficult to understand, but when we listen to God's simple instructions concerning love and forgiveness, mercy, speaking the truth, gossip, etc., then we have confidence as we approach more complex teachings that we have not forfeited our intellectual integrity.
"The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple."
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts."
(Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV)
As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
(Psalms 18:30 NIV)
For the word of the LORD is right;
and all his works are done in truth.
(Psalms 33:4 KJV)
In God (I will praise His word),
In the LORD (I will praise His word),
(Psalms 56:10 NKJV)
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You!
(Psalms 119:11 NKJV)
My soul melteth for heaviness:
strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
(Psalms 119:28 KJV)
Forever, O LORD,
Your word is settled in heaven.
(Psalms 119:89 NKJV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
(Psalms 119:105 NIV)
Thou art my hiding place and my shield:
I hope in thy word.
(Psalms 119:114 KJV)
I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help; I hope in Your word.
(Psalms 119:147 NKJV)
All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.
(Psalms 119:160 NIV)
Let my cry come before You, O LORD;
Give me understanding according to Your word.
(Psalms 119:169 NKJV)
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
(Psalms 130:5 NIV)