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What is the Bible? Why do we say it's God's Word? How did we get it? What makes it so special?
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Bible interpretation

Postby Blooming » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:42 pm

Any thoughts from anyone on the importance of interpreting scripture in a certain way? I find that in Sunday school/bible studies I’ve been involved in, the only goal seems to be how to correctly interpret a passage of scripture and why other interpretations are wrong. What does this accomplish? I wonder if we spent this hour every week on brainstorming how to help an orphan, widow, etc. that that would be more Christ like and more productive. Also tithing 10% of my income so we can have a nice building to do this exercise seems like a waste of funds, but that is for another post.

Any best practices that you have experienced in your small groups where you felt you got past this time suck of reading the same scripture over and over and actually doing something?
Blooming
 

Re: Bible interpretation

Postby jimwalton » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:56 pm

> on the importance of interpreting scripture in a certain way?

It's very important to interpret the Scriptures properly. Through the millennia scholars and godly people have derived lists of guidelines (interpretive rules) to help people do exegesis (biblical analysis) and hermeneutics (biblical interpretation) properly. It's just like scientists who follow certain protocol or lawyers who follow case law. We have to interpret Scripture properly to understand God properly. There are far too many people who follow their gut or read superficially, and both understand and teach the Scriptures in a distorted fashion. I've learned it's one of the reasons so many people think God is a crock, Christianity is stupid, and walk away from it. It's because they were taught wrong.

In 2 Timothy 2.15 (as well as other places), Paul instructs us to handle the Word correctly. Analyze it properly, interpret it rightly, and teach it correctly.

> What does this accomplish? I wonder if we spent this hour every week on brainstorming how to help an orphan, widow, etc. that that would be more Christ like and more productive.

It's not an either/or, but a both/and. The Bible is God's revelation of Himself; we dare not ignore it. And the Bible tells us over and over to take care of people in need; we dare not ignore them. The Bible tells us both that true religion is to care for needy people and that the knowledge of God is one of the most important pursuits in life.

> Tithing

Your tithe is not just for a nice building. It also pays for ministries, gifts to the poor, missionaries who spread the word, ministers who teach the truth of the word of God, and pays for heat and lights. Now I'll grant that churches spend more money on buildings than is necessary and not as much on the poor as they should, but there is another side to that. In the Old Testament, the temple was made of a lot of gold and precious stones to reflect the value we placed on God, to show how important he was to us and how much we revered him. After all, you don't tell your fiancee she is important, and then give her a cardboard ring. Instead we spend a lot of money to express our love. Granted, the New Testament church is not like the OT temple, but you understand the point. Don't let a shabby dilapidated building be the place people say, "Oh, so that's what they think of God?"

By the same token, churches should spend more money helping the poor, as you say. But I know many churches (and the people in them individually) who DO spend a lot taking care of the poor. We have to try to do everything with the amount of resources we have available.

> Any best practices that you have experienced in your small groups where you felt you got past this time suck of reading the same scripture over and over and actually doing something?

Yeah. (1) Get a teacher who will teach you new things. There are always new things to learn from the Bible. If they're the teacher, they should dig deeper and say something meaningful that you haven't heard before. (2) Get your small group involved in a project to help the poor. I've known many small groups that did that. Again, it's both/and, not one over the other.
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