God's Word (a.k.a the Bible) is a lamp to my feet. Please read this compilation of verses and discussions as a Burean, intent on knowing God's Word better.

Psalm 2 - Anger of the Lord

"Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment." Usually anger that flairs up is a bad character trait. Here, we are told that Jesus himself can flare up in anger.

Psalm 4 - Legality vs. Mercy

"Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord." How does this match with Hosea 6, "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings"? In case you don't see the passage in Hosea allowing deviations from sacrificial law, consider Jesus response to legalism in Matthew 12, excerpted here: "David entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for them to do. Haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

In other words, Jesus says "Back off. I have greater authority to allow my disciplines to glean the fields than the Scriptures have to disallow them. As for you, the Father values mercy more than your ability to point out every legal issue."

Matthew 19 - Divorce and Adultery

Jesus said, "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." A lot of people use this passage to give or create the title of adulterer to someone who has left their spouse. By saying "spouse", I know I'm taking liberty including the reverse gender, too.

Instead of giving, or creating, or assigning the title of adulterer, perhaps this quote is just an observation of fact. Rather than excepting guilt away from one that initiates the act of divorce, it IS giving guilt to the unfaithful one. It's about the one who did the marital unfaithfulness, and only incidentally about the one doing the divorcing.

Let's see if I can explain what I mean by analogy:
  1. "Anybody who steps on an ant, except if it lives, is an insect killer" - this is the way most people read the above verse. It gives or assigns the title of "insect killer" to the one doing the action.
  2. "Anybody who hits his brother, except if his brother hit first, is a fight-starter" - this is a way I am thinking the verses should be read. Isn't it an obvious fact that if the one brother has already started the fight, then they are the fight-starter? Carrying this analogy to the scriptural verse, the second person, leaving the marriage, cannot usurp that title obtained by the first.

Exodus 1 - Follow Civil Law or Follow the Lord

Exodus 1 "The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live." This is important because not only the act is documented but also the heart reason for the act. It gets worse. The midwives also lie and misrepresent what they've done: "The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.""

Many places there are narratives in the Bible that are not good examples. In this case, however, God honors the work the midwives have done: "So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own." A fundamental concept is "Obedience to God's Ways, then Blessing." In this case, disobeying the civil authority and lying about it, brought blessing to both the nation and to the individuals involved.

How does one implement these thoughts? What is the "therefore.."? First read my article "Pechinko God". Basically, life is not about our decisions (in this case, obey the civil authority or not). Civil authority is irrelevant in the context of God's ways. New Testament passages toss it off casually with "Give to Ceasar what is Ceasars". The speaker (Jesus) doesn't engage to even figure out what is or what is not. Obey civil authority as it aligns with God's Way. Life isn't about individual decisions; it's a way of sorting and viewing the world. Life is not about a lot of human-contrived conundrums. It's about finding the "conveyor belt" of God's ways and will, and choosing to be part of it or not. God's plan was to grow up a nation of Israelites, regardless of midwives or pharaohs.

Stated in a brutal manner: "Grow up! It's not about you and your decisions. Rather it's about God's plan, played out in history."

1 Corithians 15 - Literalness

How literally should we interpret the Bible? Well, I think we should hold ourselves to standards exhibited in the Bible itself. An example comes to mind. When the Bible says "all" does it mean all? An evangelist once pressed me with the phrase "all means all, and that's all all means".

I don't know. I think it's more subtle than that. In verse 27, Paul quotes the Old Testament, and disassembles the plain meaning of the word "all":
For 'He has put all things under His feet,' but when he says 'all things are put under Him,' it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.

In other words, God the Father commanded all things under Christ, but Paul thought it should be evident to the reader that this did not include God the Father himself. Therefore, when the Bible says all, it must be read in context, not with mathematical precision of bounded sets.

Literalness 2

The New Testament quotes the Old Testament in several places. Look up each of the in both. Compare them. The fidelity that the Bible quotes itself is the fidelity I strive for.

1 Corinthians 7 - Literalness 3

Paul makes a distinction between three types of statements. A majority of things written are neutral, without introduction. In one passage, he introduces a directive as a command of the Lord, not something from him. Soon after, he introduces a directive as a command of his, specifically identified as not from the Lord. Are these to be taken with variable amounts of authority into our lives? If not, why is Paul, directed by the Spirit, to make such distinctions?

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Created by brian. Last Modification: Wednesday 06 of July, 2011 00:51:16 CDT by brian.