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Infinitely Interpreted?

Photo by: Natasha C Dunn

While thinking about the goal of Bible reading and study, I rediscovered a quote by George Gopen, an author and university professor known for his expertise in teaching others to write from the reader’s point of view.

About the meaning of words, he says, “Language theorists have long argued that every sentence can be infinitely interpreted.”

Gopen goes on to say, “I for one agree. Meaning depends on context…

GG: Take the simplest articulation we might deign to call a sentence—a single exclamatory word like “fire!” That sentence, if it be a sentence, means one thing if it is uttered in answer to the question, “Name the single greatest cause of damage to homes in Wake County in the first three months of this year; it means quite another if it is uttered with great energy in the middle of a crowded theater…

GG: Context controls meaning. Since there are an infinite number of possible contexts for any sentence, it must have an infinite number of possible meanings.” (end of quote by George D. Gopen, The Sense of Structure; Writing From The Reader’s Perspective.)

After reading what the professor had to say, I thought of another more familiar quote that, at first look, may seem to be making a very different point. According to the Apostle Peter’s second New Testament letter, “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies (2Peter 1:20-2:1).”

On first impression these two quotes might sound as if they are contradicting one another. But, from different perspectives, both are acknowledging what can happen to the meaning of words. Gopen is speaking in general terms when he says that any sentence can be interpreted in unlimited number of ways by putting those words in an unlimited number of new settings. Peter gives us a specific example by reminding us that false teachers can bring to Scripture a different meaning than the Spirit of God intended.

Seems to me that if it is possible to miss the Author’s intent of Scripture by bringing an unlimited (i.e. “infinite”) number of our own assumptions to any text of the Bible, we have all the more reason not only to express our need for the Holy Spirit when we read the Bible but also to use whatever insight we are given to:

(a) Consider the immediate context of any statement.

(b) Remembering that this was written to someone else, a long time ago, in circumstances much different than our own– for our insight and benefit.

(c) Keeping in mind that all Scripture has the collective purpose of leading us to Christ, and through him to love our neighbors as ourselves.

(d) While being ready to hear how others read the same text.

(e) Especially when the wider Body of Christ has different understandings of the necessary and possible implications of the text we are considering.

(f) With the result that we are both enlightened by our effort to find the Author’s intent, and humbled by anything that, in the process, we discover we don’t know.

Seems like this also shows the value of a blog conversation like this, where we interact with one another from different regions, churches, and personal experiences– and where you have a chance to let me know that I don’t have a clue about what it means to write from a reader’s point of view :-)….

PS Whoops. Here’s proof that my last line is more than a smile. From a comment below, I learned that I have not been clear enough about what George Gopen means about writing from a reader’s perspective. So here’s a clarification. It doesn’t mean telling a reader what they want to hear but rather learning to write clearly enough so that a reader has a better chance of not misunderstanding :-)…

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130 Responses to “Infinitely Interpreted?”

  1. poohpity says:

    Could that mean anything like, I hear what you have said about what you think I wrote but that is not at all what I intended in my writing.

  2. yooperjack says:

    I write letters to the editor on all kinds of subjects. There is no way I could write from the readers point of veiw. I also found out that readers read into my letters what “they” want it to say rather what I am saying. It’s a real chalange for me to get an idea over in 400 words but I love it.

  3. fadingman says:

    I don’t consider myself a good writer or speaker. Both are difficult to me, and I used to hate doing either. But over the years, I’ve been learning to express myself verbally… and trying to so in a way that is not only easy to read but hard to misunderstand. It might take me months to put something relatively short together to attempt to accomplish these goal, but there are still misunderstandings anyway.

    There’s an art to writing, but there is also an art to reading: discovering where the author is coming from and finding his intent. I don’t know that either art can completely make up for the lack of the other.

  4. yooperjack says:

    Mart: If I’m under standing that statement right: “Write from the reader’s point of view” In my opinion that is the dumbest statement I’ve heard in some time. The point in writing is to express my view not the reader’s. Maybe that is why this world is going to hell in a hand basket. Preachers and politicians are telling people what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear.

  5. Mart De Haan says:

    Whoops, yooperjack, your response shows that I didn’t make the idea clear. The idea is not to tell the reader what they want to hear, but rather to write in such a way that they will have a better chance of understanding what the writer is saying. :-)… In other words be considerate of what it takes for a reader to understand clearly what the author is saying.

    One part this is to learn different ways of moving the reader from the known (what they’ve already experienced or understood) to what they may have not yet experienced or considered.

  6. yooperjack says:

    Mart: I think you just did that. And you had no chance of miss understanding my post. We just played out that statement brother.

    When I write to an editor it takes me sometimes 15-20 times reading and rewriting a letter to get it right. But it’s fun.

    Also with just one well placed word we can pull some peoples chain. It’s unbelievable. I will not do it on your blog intentionally, out of respect for your ministry.

  7. SFDBWV says:

    I am enjoying a good laugh at this subject, thanks Mart I always appreciate the distraction of humor.

    Being mono lingual and only speaking English, I am compelled to discuss the subject from that perspective. Right away there can be a plethora of misunderstanding from what I just have already stated by the fact that with different languages comes the opportunity for mistranslation and at best confusion, at worst insults.

    From birth we learn to communicate, most of us are given a basic education in reading comprehension through our elementary and high school years, by the time we step off into adulthood we *think* we can communicate.

    This is very funny and shows the youthful lack of experience.

    Most people will relate to what I mean when I say if communicating were simple we wouldn’t need volumes of books just to set up a computer, program your VCR or DVD player or even just set your digital watch.

    Blue prints and schematics attempt to communicate every detail of construction, but anyone who ever has read one knows there is always mistakes and unanswered details needing *further* explanation.

    One of the purely enjoyable aspects of communication is that just about everyone recognizes the truth when they hear it. I say just about everyone because there will be plenty that reserve an opinion, over think and over analyze a comment until it loses it original intent in a maze of possibilities.

    This subject is found exposed by anyone who has ever been married or has children, or any who have received instruction from a boss or been boss over others and tried to communicate *intent*. If it can be misinterpreted it will be.

    Now bringing this subject into scripture verse, wow, where to begin…

    Jesus called God, “Father” and it incited mobs to kill Him.

    God said “In the beginning” and there are libraries, religions, and science communities dedicated to “the intended meaning”.

    All throughout scripture are the supernatural stories and experiences given as encounters from God to people and we have an entire culture of the “occult” as a pretender to the real experience that distorts its purpose and steers people away from the *truth*.

    Of course missing from this type of communicating are the obvious helpful aids of facial expression and tone of voice as communicating ensues. Even in a situation where two people do not speak the same language such aides can succeed in allowing the two to understand one another.

    A smile or a hand on a shoulder, the expressions from the eyes are capable of communication much more than words.

    Blessings to all


  8. yooperjack says:

    My grandfather use to always say: “Say what you mean “boy” and mean what you say”. Or somthing like that. It’s not that easy when your writing.

  9. bratimus says:

    “if you can say what you mean, how can you mean what you say.”

  10. yooperjack says:

    Say I was to say: That is a dumb question. Do I really mean it or not? Grandpa means don’t say it unless you mean it. I think? Ha!Ha!

  11. poohpity says:

    Gee I did not find any humor in this post it is actually very sad because that is how the bible gets misread. Just look at the topic before this one. What was the main intent of that topic? Usually some say there are several different topics to discuss in one post when in reality there is usually just one main goal but it gets so misunderstood that it ends up going in many directions and the main point gets lost.

  12. yooperjack says:

    poohpity:Just having some fun. Misreading the Bible has nothing to do with it. I am only guilty of getting of topic a few times. Sorry Mart.

  13. poohpity says:

    Understanding the authors intent goes along with when we have a conversation with another, are they really hearing what is being said or reading something else into it. It takes getting out of ourselves to understand another, to actually listen to what they are saying while not trying to read anything into it other than what was stated. Usually the point is made in the first paragraph, then information to explain it and then a conclusion/or asking for our take on the issue. There is always a point if one only picks one of the middle paragraphs to talk about then they have taken it out of context and thus can confuse the main point.

  14. poohpity says:

    Misreading the bible has everything to do with this topic at least that is what I thought was the point but it can carry into reading anything.

  15. SFDBWV says:

    Yooperjack and bratimus, I loved your exchange. I always took “say what you mean and mean what you say” to mean, be ready to back up what you say, or to stand behind what you say…..know what I’m saying?

    See already the plot grows.

    Now try and translate that into Chinese or Greek and *see* if the humor comes through.


  16. yooperjack says:

    My last two post were off topic; they had nothing to do with misreading the Bible. This is poring me I’ll enjoy read othering post.

  17. yooperjack says:

    Let me correct that, your boring me I’ll enjoy reading other post.

  18. yooperjack says:

    Thankyou Steve I wasn’t sure but it sounded important when I was a kidd. Ha! Ha!

    Pooh: I should have said: “you’re”

  19. foreverblessed says:

    To understand the Author’s intent, some starter bible verses are essential to me:
    John 5:39
    John 3:16
    John 1:1-5,12-14
    2 Corinthians 4:6, 5:17-19
    1 John 5:1-3,4,5
    1 Timothy 2:3
    I have collected these scriptures* after I ceased to be a legalistic christian, praying to God, and searching the bible: what is the essence of what God is saying in the bible. (* and many more but for the sake of making it a short comment this is a good resume).
    When I was a legalistic christian my list of key bible verses were different:
    1 John 5:2,3
    Philippians 2:12
    James 1:22-25, 2:19
    and many more.
    But what Mart says, the Holy Spirit is the leading guide, how much do I need Him!
    The Holy Spirit makes our heart soft, while it once was hard as stone. And we are all in different stages, our heart becoming softer and softer, I pray.

  20. poohpity says:

    Wow, I am feeling really hurt. Forgive me for boring you. :-(

  21. davids says:

    Dr. Gopen is being a bit facetious through his example, “Fire!” Certainly, a one-word sentence has a multitude of possible meanings, but “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” has many fewer meanings.

    If I put a single point on a piece of paper, and ask you where it goes, you cannot say. On the other hand, if I draw several points on the paper, you will be able to connect them to see a general direction or pattern.

    That is what context provides. Arguements and division arise over whether the line is a bit here or there. But as Christians we should agree on the basic line, and resist those that try to fit a curve to follow the dots that takes us far away from the line.

  22. remarutho says:

    Good Evening Mart & Friends!

    Traveling today. Have stopped at last to rest. Mart, you set up these criteria:

    (d) While being ready to hear how others read the same text.
    (e) Especially when the wider Body of Christ has different understandings of the necessary and possible implications of the text we are considering.
    (f) With the result that we are both enlightened by our effort to find the Author’s intent, and humbled by anything that, in the process, we discover we don’t know.

    We live at the intersection of two contexts, I find. First, there is the context in which inspired writers of the Scriptures took up ink and paper (parchment) to convey the good news, and the will of God in it. Second, there is the context in our own day amidst our fellow believers, or even seekers, or the partially convinced, in which we come together over Scripture to find common ground. Being ready to hear how others read the same text is vital when so many meet on the virtual ground of BTA. There must be much we do not know. When folks in Oceana, or Europe or Africa read Scripture, the outcomes look and sound very different from a reading in the USA or Canada.

    I agree with you, Mart, that “all Scripture has the collective purpose of leading us to Christ, and through him to love our neighbors as ourselves.” The truth is that the wider Body of Christ covers the world and spans all continents and islands. We have a long way to go in understanding one another’s language, even when we are communicating in English. My friend in Mumbai, India speaks and writes English – but we proceed carefully when we share. My friend’s ministry does not resemble mine in any way! I do not know the way she teaches a Bible study. I do not say it isn’t valid or genuine — only that I am out of my depth in her context.


  23. yooperjack says:

    Mart: I said in another subject a while back, it’s impossible for unbelievers to understand the Bible. Without the Holy Spirit teaching us the word we too would be scratching our heads. Try to figure out John chapter six if you are an unbeliever and read the Bible like any other book. They took His words literally when He said in verse 54 “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life.” Put that on CNN and see what kind of reaction you get.

    On the other side of the coin I’ve seen preachers stretch the scriptures by removing commas and periods and their favorite saying is: “The Greek translation really says this, blab, blab and blab.” As if the Bible translators aren’t as smart as this country preacher or TV preacher. Give me a break!!!

  24. gerpie says:

    A comment about writing – or rather reading: To me – someone not capitalizing “Bible” shows a total lack of respect for the Word of the living God.

    It does say “Holy Bible” on the front of the Book.

    The reason I mention this is that there may be others in life who find it hard to take someone seriously or sincerely who so off handedly refer to God’s Word that they don’t even capitalize it’s Name.

  25. Mart De Haan says:

    Gerpie, I just realized that you’re talking about someone who may have given away more Bible’s than the rest of us put together.

  26. bubbles says:

    Mini grammar lesson:

    it’s = it is; contraction
    It’s a lovely day.

    its = it owns (possessive)
    The dog wagged its tail.

    Bibles = plural; more than one Bible
    The Bibles were lying on the desk.

    Bible’s = singluar possessive; one Bible that owns something
    The Bible’s pages were well read.

  27. gerpie says:

    I am very sorry – I didn’t mean to offend anyone. It is just that I am sad when people don’t capitalize the Name of the Book of God’s Word.

  28. bratimus says:

    The quote i wrote is a quote I’ve heard through life in many different places. What yooperjack wrote reminded me of it.

  29. BruceC says:


    I think I grasp what you are saying. I think writers should consider whom they are writing to because so many of us are on different levels in our education, our ability to understand, and our skills. My wife has a learning disability and there have many times in the past that she was deeply hurt because someone in the position of a teacher thought she was stupid or not on a certain “spiritual level” as they were. There wasn’t much love in the way they spoke, wrote,or taught. Or the way they acted. She felt very unwanted due to the way she was looked down upon.
    I just finished the Screwtape Letters and found it difficult. I am usually a good reader and able to grasp an idea; but the writing style was almost aggravating to me. Sentences as long as a paragraph, etc. James Fenimore Cooper was also a difficult read. Overly descriptive IMHO. Some of the more highly educated write on a level that is also difficult to wrap yourself around.
    And as you stated; context is of most importance. It’s why I listen to very few preachers on TV and the radio. Many twist the Word to suit their agenda or are in error and don’t even know it.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  30. SFDBWV says:

    Forgive me I could not help myself enjoy a little humor in the subject of not communicating or understanding communication well, I seen a lighter side to the matter. Sort of like when you say something to anyone and they don’t hear it clearly and how sometimes their reply is quite funny.

    I had a friend long ago who wrapped his entire belief of whether or not there is life after death on one verse of scripture. Ecclesiastes 9: 5. No matter how many other verses of scripture I presented him with (Mark 12: 25-27) he would ignore them and continue to quote the one verse of scripture he could remember. So in my observation of this matter he was right, in that he was dead to receiving any revelation from the Holy Spirit, not awake or alive and so he was unable to be taught anything.

    As has been said multiple times in relationship to many subjects, each Bible reader is at varying levels of growth in their personal relationship with God. Since most of us will agree on at least one subject, in that none of us fully know everything about God and His Word; it is safe to say then that we are taught from the Holy Spirit on levels we are able to understand at a time when we are able and ready to be taught and that those levels are all different for each and every one of us, and only able to be fully aware to the Holy Spirit not us.

    All at the same time the *living Word of God* is more than mere words, they are a direct line to God and *if* we will listen we can be taught endless truths from the same verse of scripture though we have already read them once and learned a truth from our first encounter of such verse.

    It is in that way that I can agree with Gopen in that each sentence of scripture can be infinitely interpreted. Not merely interpreted by human confusion but taught from by the Holy Spirit infinitely, because God is infinite.

    I just want also to say before I go, that I think the very fact that the Bible has endured these 2000 years without being edited by human understanding is a testimony to those who put it together for us and have kept it unchanged for all these years. However I see the attempts to modernize the Bible a threat to its integrity and intent, sadly based upon the state of the human race as we near the end of the age.


  31. foreverblessed says:

    Pooh, why is it that you feel hurt? It is not John 5:39, is it? I quoted it because of the positive side of it: The whole Bible is about Jesus, just as Mart’s point in the last topic. But when seeing this verse appearing, it is the strong question of Jesus to the Pharisees that spring up, I did not mean to quote it because of that harsh question. And besides, you are not a Pharisee, you do see Jesus in the whole Bible, so Jesus is not asking you this question.
    So that is what Mart meant: to write from a readers point of view.
    Anyway, Regina gave this verse Rev 12:10,NLT the accuser of the brethren that is thrown down. How great the accusation is all the time all around us. And even when reading the Bible we can feel accused, so it covered by the blood of Christ that we can read it: we have been forgiven, we are washed clean of our sins, we stand in new robes before our Maker, (although this is a process and the cleaning goes deeper and deeper) but there is no fear for the last judgment. (1 John 4:18)
    Colossians 1:22, NIV
    Romans 8:1, NIV

    Love you Pooh, be blessed with all spiritual blessings that are in Christ, and that is a lot, as Steve wrote infinite is God, and His love for us.

  32. florida7sun says:

    When the sender and the receiver are tuned to the same signal there is clarity. A heart of stone must be replaced with a heart for God to see the wonder and glory of Immanuel with us, in us and through us.

    No words need be spoken for communication to take place. Even without sight, love for our Lord and Savior can register joy and wonderment in the core of our being, as it did with Elizabeth and John: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” – Luke 1:44

    FM frequencies have difficulty comprehending AM broadcasts. Many businesses install Wi-Fi so patrons can connect with messages directed to their mail boxes. Hearts must be quickened through the Holy Spirit for the love of God to be seen and received in a world governed by the prince of the air.

    The Holy Spirit is present in the lives of all whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Words need not be spoken for communication to take place. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” – Romans 1:18-20

    It was sad to read in USA Today that “nearly one in three people will be arrested by the time they are 23.” Such is the state of our nation that tells Jesus we have no room for you in our halls of government and in our schools. The same is true in many churches that are lost in a sea of ambiguity with a rusty compass to guide them. Like tattoos on flesh the very image of God is colored and distorted.

    The light of the Word and the love of God are instruments that cultivate hardened ground made pliable through the Holy Spirit. As Paul wrote, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” – Galatians 6:14

    Best wishes to all for a joyous and blessed Christmas,


  33. yooperjack says:

    My grammar comes from MSW with out it, well you seen the mess I made out of that one sentence. I thought I could write short post without MSW. Part of my problem is the small print, I need a 12 or better or I get confused. In my 6 years of writing, with one finger I may add I learned a lot. I found that a letter has to flow so the reader doesn’t have to keep going over it. I like to write so the reader has to think, there is a need for people to think in today’s world with all these gadgets. Poohpity made a good point about the topic being in the first paragraph and there after explaining the topic. I learned a similar thing; there is a beginning, middle and final thought. I guess that works in preaching too.

    I’ve seen the word Bible printed in small letters in books and thought it was a miss print or maybe it was proper in some places. I don’t know so I didn’t question it.

    Steve: I’m deaf in one ear and can’t hear out of the other, my daughter really cracks up when I hear things wrong. I don’t mind I love to see people laugh. It seems like people are apologizing a lot lately, maybe their forgetting how to think before speaking or writing? I think there are getting to be too many Bible translations; I’m afraid they may get watered down like many Churches are; a form of godliness with no power. You and I know were the power comes from.

  34. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Hello Ray! You wrote:

    “FM frequencies have difficulty comprehending AM broadcasts. Many businesses install Wi-Fi so patrons can connect with messages directed to their mail boxes. Hearts must be quickened through the Holy Spirit for the love of God to be seen and received in a world governed by the prince of the air.”

    It seems to me that you have said a bunch when you make the analogy of messages directed to an individual’s mail box! At least 15 years ago, those training and sending missionaries made a conscious decision to send multi-cultural mission teams, instead of young adults who have experienced only one culture all their twenty-odd years.

    This has everything to do with the “transmission” of the Gospel. We are more likely in 2011/2012 to translate the Scriptures into the language of a nation or ethnic group, then train a few folks who grew up there to teach and preach in their best understanding of God’s Word. That is truly trusting the blessed Holy Spirit to do the heavy lifting for the peoples’ understanding and living in the Way – that is Jesus Christ. There has been a strong turning from the “Westernized Gospel.” Our greatest work is now believing and praying — trusting in God’s grace.


  35. fadingman says:

    Sometimes minor typographical errors can change the meaning from what was intended to totally the opposite. Some churches have little sayings on their signs. My pastor was thinking of the sign:

    Follow me – Jesus

    …and wondering how people would read it if that dash fell off.

    Proof-reading our own ‘jots and tittles’ is important.

  36. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… Infinitely Interpreted is what this blog employs and depends upon. For if we all really understood your intentions for creating it, would we not also understand why we are still here and thank God for every voice that is not silenced? Where a blank screen would be as productive as Faith without Works! Ooops! :)
    Gerpie… I’ve been challenged here for over- capitalizing, which was labeled as SHOUTING! So, bear in mind that none here, can ever write ANYTHING, to satisfy all readers! We must somehow through the Help of the Holy Spirit, find within our writing, those unwritten words, and find that their context, which was given for us alone, was also clearly written an Age Ago, and in another context!
    Did God not write that as a hidden context, where He then penned in His Holy Bible words that only the Holy Spirit can enlighten?
    “I really have missed the context of the Hand on a Shoulder, when a brother here says to me; he will not speak to me again. However, I do stare directly into the Eye of his Unforgiving Nature, when I read his words.”
    To that intention I do pray, and to that, may it be taken as intended!
    To me, “Forgiveness is the Hand on the Shoulder,” where Silence is the well intended Slap in the Face.
    Davids… funny that you would choose a verse with the word “SHOULD’ in it. Does not duplicity drip from that very word? How do we all find the same context in that word? Infinite interpretations do lay deep and well within the Word of God, and for a reason! That reason to me is so that the Holy Spirit may prey upon those souls who have already chosen for themselves a self-satisfying context.
    Foreverblessed… your verses displayed do show a change from a Faith with Works or legalism as you say, to a Faith Alone context. But…It is also written, that Faith without works is dead. What shall we do with that context? Just a thought…
    To All my Brothers and Sisters here…since my first post and to my last, I do not write to give the reader what he wants to hear, but only to give what God leads me to share, perhaps as a better way of not misunderstanding, that context takes many forms.
    Mart has just very successfully given great thought to expressing just where my words come from. They are not pride driven as some hear them, they are not self seeking as some see them, they are but words that have a particular context, and unfortunately, will not be heard or spoken back to, without first labeling with their personal insult, injury, and with their intended prejudiced and judgmental avarice, do they serve the unhearing reader/ and the well versed writer.
    As we all attempt to share God’s Word here, do we not also convict others who find it overbearing for them? Our human nature precedes us, and is rampant among us. Who can escape it when even our own form of Christianity chosen, reeks from it! May the Holy Spirit’s Voice be heard, above and beyond this so lengthy and convicting response.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  37. prayernotesbycynthia says:

    I love this post, as we always take-away our own meaning after reading anything–especially, The Bible. So, you are right, we need to ask the Lord to send His Holy Spirit for assistance in discernment. I’m glad to have found your blog. Now, I’m off to my tiny art studio to create! ~Blessings to all of you!~Cynthia

  38. foreverblessed says:

    Cynthia, have a nice day in you art studio!
    Gary, you are back again? Please, go back and have a good look at the scriptures that I gave, and then give a reply, the one you gave to me is needs more discernment.

  39. florida7sun says:

    Amen Maru! As the Cross of our Lord and Savior was embedded in the earth, hearts must be pierced by the Holy Spirit to see Jesus high and lifted up.

    I once was asked to sit on a panel at Babson College to discuss ethics in business following a report in Fortune magazine. 25 CEOs of Fortune 100 companies in the United States could not agree on what could be defined as ethical conduct in a company setting. How many times have we heard the phrase, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” Sure, there are corporate mission statements and formalized ethic policies placed in binders on bookshelves, BUT are God’s great commandments put into daily practice.

    Jesus came to “testify” to the truth. Apart from the Word of God there is no truth and no meaningful statement of ethics to embrace and live out.

    As Jesus replied to an expert in the law, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40

    No fine print. No exceptions. No ifs, ands or buts as drafted into many legal covenants. Jesus believed in user friendly communication. Even The Lord’s Prayer has few but all encompassing words.

    George Rideout, an associate of Roger Babson and president of Babson Reports was a friend of mine. George is now with the Lord. Following his salvation he spent the rest of his life sharing the love of Christ with businessmen throughout the country. On one occasion, George shared his testimony at a breakfast attended by 500 men at the Hyatt Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky. What a wonderful morning!!! Following an invitation to surrender, repent and accept God’s provision for their sin, 73 men (attorneys, bankers and the most hardhearted) prayed to receive the Lord Jesus Christ and live for Him.

    Often in life the sharing of God’s Word and Christ’s Love must be within a familial setting… with lots and lots of heartfelt prayer in advance… and by someone that speaks the local dialect.

    God bless you in your ministry, Ray

  40. davids says:

    I am sometimes bothered to read a misspelled word, a grammatical fault, or incorrect punctuation or capitalization. But I plead for extreme tolerance in such matters. There are people here from different educational and linguistic backgrounds, and I would not want to put a stumbling block in thier way.

  41. davids says:

    Although I do believe that the Holy Spirit leads us to a fuller understanding ot the Word, I am hesitant to accept the notion that unbelievers cannot read and understand it. Taken together, it seems to communicate a clear message to all.

  42. oneg2dblu says:

    Foreverblessed… perhaps I do not understand why you say you were legalistic, as I see obedience and belief is in all those verses. The now verses have changed or been expanded true, but all written by One Author who reveals himself to us through the entire Bible. My failure is in this, that I do not see any difference in my starter verses, John 3:16 and Proverbs 3:5, 6 other than obedience and faith must walk hand in hand, just as legalism to the word must also. Please forgive my lack, as I see only dimly now, perhaps too many verses for me. I like a simple message, “Love God and Love People.” We will all be accountable for our time, our talents, and our tithes, but above all for me, I must Love God first, then I can also Love People, and do it His Way. Thanks for setting me straight. Sorry, I thought I was seeing Faith alone. Gary

  43. yooperjack says:

    davids: I believe there is a verse or two that says unbelievers can not understsnd the Word or maybe it is the ways of God? Did you write ot instead of on purpose?

  44. poohpity says:

    I believe that anyone who truly seeks to know God, the scriptures will be enlightened to them and lead them to know the Truth. If a person, whether believer or not, looks into the Word with any other intention, like arguing or debating, their minds will not comprehend the breathe of the whole book and their minds will be closed because they already know everything and do not wish to be in a continued learning frame of mind. Most Christians especially in the United States are the most biblical illiterate group because of the mind set since they go to church like little baby birds with their mouths open chose to have others feed them rather than seeking the Truth for themselves.

    Unbelievers do not have a franchise of not understanding the Word, many believers have the same problem because it seems God is His infinite wisdom of knowing our hearts limits their knowledge as well. God knows the motives for gaining that knowledge and seems to allow those who may be trusted with scared things, insight. Although I do not know for sure I would bet God says, “why do you want to know?”. Some are not humbled by knowing the scripture they use their knowledge to elevate themselves above others for an example the Roman Catholic Church when they denied the bible to be printed for the common people in the 17th century. They considered themselves to be held in high esteem by knowing the Word yet they treated others without love by not sharing God’s Word with common folks thus denying them intimacy with our creator. It was only for the so called elite. The KJV was translated from the original languages into Latin then into English by the request of the then Prince James’s mother so he could rule his 17th century kingdom with knowledge from above. Today’s more modern translations with the newer knowledge of linguistics has proven to be more correct but nothing can be as good as the original language.

    How many readers ever ask important questions like; Who was this written to? What was going on in that time? Who was the author and what was their background? What are the themes in this particular book? What is the author trying to teach? How can this be applied to my life today? How does this book fit into the timeline of the others books? Not a lot of people even know that the bible is not in chronological order. So much to learn and nothing more rewarding than an intimate relationship with our God.

    It is still not often that regular church going Christians have a thirst for reading the bible when not prompted by attendance in a bible study. Not many just read it on their own because they have listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to get to know Him better and better and those are Christians. If a non believer even wants to read the bible I fully believe God will open his mind if he/she is truly seeking.

  45. yooperjack says:

    Davids and Poohpity: 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 is probably where I got the idea unbelievers can not understand the Bible. Verse 14 stands out. It may be a stretch but I believe this is where I got it from. There may be other scripture but I can’t find it.

  46. poohpity says:

    I think in that passage Paul was trying to explain where his wisdom was coming from as he tried to address the disorder and divisiveness in the church of Corinth. He was trying to prove his words were from God, based on God and not based on the wisdom of the world. 1 Cor 2:1-4 the verses that came before the ones you mentioned. That is why context is so important.

    If one just thinks about it, what if a non believer picks up a bible and really wants to learn about God, do you think God would deny that person an open door to get to know Him? If so that is not the same God that I worship, my God wants everybody alive to know Him and the gift He offers.

  47. poohpity says:

    Jesus told us in Matthew 7:8 For EVERYONE who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. So whether a believer or a not yet believer those who seek after God by reading His Word or by any other way will find Him. He is not hiding from anyone.

  48. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    Home again after some miles traveled. This topic is both wide and deep, Mart. Have pondered as I drove. You wrote:

    “we are both enlightened by our effort to find the Author’s intent, and humbled by anything that, in the process, we discover we don’t know.”

    As you said Poohpity, there have been moments in human history such as the KJV when the Holy Spirit has His wonderful way. The effect has been awesome. That wide impact of God’s Word has produced huge people movements in faith and action. Bible translations have also allowed individuals to spend quality time reading and studying with the effect of deep personal inspiration and transformation. The two are linked in the wonder of God’s will (2 Peter 1:20-21). The NRSV states this truth in gender-inclusive language (men and women). Each must decide for him/herself whether this is a good thing or not.

    No person reads the Holy Scriptures alone – not ever. The original languages are Hebrew and Greek – with a tiny bit of Aramaic. If we are not reading Hebrew and Greek, we are reading a translation. One page of the Bible faithfully translated in the language a person speaks is able to bring inspiration and transformation to that life – and also to the lives of any who will read it together seeking “the Author’s intent.” We will always be “humbled by anything that, in the process, we discover we don’t know.” Those who submit to the working of the Holy Spirit – and submit to one another in coming to the Scriptures together, become the church when they act upon their (growing) commitment. What grows is our trust and faith in the Author, and in His Christ. The result is transforming testimony — like you mentioned, Ray, given by your friend George. God’s power is active in all places at all times where God’s Name (Word) is lifted high.

    In Him,

  49. yooperjack says:

    poohpity: I didn’t say they could not find God. I know people that never looked at a Bible and accepted Christ. I was talking about unstanding the Bible and the ways of God. We need the Spirit to do that.

  50. yooperjack says:

    I’m going to try to explain this as plain as I can without starting a storm. First the Bible is a wonderful piece or literature. We can read it carnally with all the literature rules and regulation as Mart gave us from A to F; we will understand the history of the Jews with all the wonderful stories. If we only read it that way we will become legalistic and say that was for that time it’s not for today.

    But, as born again Christians it is also the living Word of God and He is the same all the time, He is a now God. His Word is a now book. We still need the same Spirit Jesus had to heal the sick, deliver drug addicts, deliver me from alcohol and in some cases raise the dead. How do I know this? Not by just reading the Word but living the Word every day for over 40 years. The word of God works people this is why I believe in it. We need the Spirit to fully understand the Bible.

    We may take some scripture out of the story contexts but the idea is still valid to make a conclusion about other subjects as long as we don’t let our beliefs get in the way of the truth.

  51. SFDBWV says:

    As I ponder this subject I am persuaded to take this concept to a point in time when there was no written word.

    Genesis 1: 3 God said let there be light He then states in Genesis 1: 4 that God saw the light and it was good, then God divided the light from the darkness. Reading on we see that in Genesis 1: 5 that God called (named?) the light Day and the darkness Night this was the first day of creation.

    Again in Genesis 1: 14-18 he gives a special explanation for the purposes of the many different lights He has just created, yet also the purpose of the sun and of the moon and stars. Special attention given in Genesis 1: 17 to the fact that God set (placed?) these lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, this was the fourth day (Genesis 1: 19)

    In Genesis 1: 31 we read that God saw every thing He had made, and, behold it was very good. This was the sixth day.

    Mankind was given the very creation to observe and see the vastness of the heavens the stars moon and sun to show him just how *small* he is in contrast to all of creation. In fact Paul states in Romans 1: 18-20 that we are without excuse.

    Now as I read these verses from Genesis, I am given a nudge from the Holy Spirit to ask myself why did God state on the very first day of creation that He created the light and the darkness and that He made a distinction between them and go on to the fourth day before placing the sun and the moon in their proper place in the firmament in order to give light upon the earth.

    Could it be because there is more revealed here than the obvious?

    My apologies as I jump forward to the written word, because I would know very little without the written word nor be able to reference it without the work of others whom God used to write down His Words.

    It was given to the Hebrew to create a written record of God and I am of the belief that they wrote it down exactly as given, especially knowing the harsh penalty for disobedience they endured. So their work of writing down the written record of God was a very serious task given to them to create and to conserve for all time just as given.

    There could be no editing from the scribes and priests without the severe eternal wrath of God as a result. The keepers of the written word knew and understood this better than most people today.

    There is a special purpose in every jot and tittle, in the very sequence of the events of scripture presents. To edit any in order to make the Word make sense to us or to modernize them changes the very meaning of them and presents them as half truths, just like the lie in the garden.

    It is a miracle and great testimony to the Hebrew for keeping the Word unchanged for thousands of years.

    Now we enter a new testimony and a new record of the events of God with man, this time the responsibility given to the followers of Christ to keep the record accurate. Do we take this responsibility as serious as did the Hebrew?

    Running long will return, I hope, with more thoughts on track with this subject.


  52. fadingman says:

    Hmmm. that reminds me how this topic applies in other areas where God has revealed Himself. God created the universe to show His glory, but man misinterprets it to promote evolution. God sends His Son to earth, and man misinterprets His Son merely as a good teacher, a prophet, etc.

  53. oneg2dblu says:

    davids… thank you for sharing that tag to the “In Christ” teaching on 12-12-11. Yes, I am slow to learn!It has grown me just as you and everyone else also grows me throuth our contributions here. Like Steve says, and in my loosely interpreted version I might add, “Every jot and title!” For ALL THINGS, even our distatsteful and sometimes seemingly incoherent ramblings, God can use to bring about His Good. For are we not all “In Christ” as well, even if our voice is not heard in the context it was given to be heard. As we all get a chance to fail, do we also get a chance to grow. Gary

  54. poohpity says:

    Mart you said, “Peter gives us a specific example by reminding us that false teachers can bring to Scripture a different meaning than the Spirit of God intended.” I also believe as evidenced through listening to many different teachers, that unless one has a foundation on the entire breathe of scripture, it is up to us, each individual, to compare what we are taught to what the bible has to say. If we do not have that foundation then people can be easily lead astray.

    Since they did not have the NT at that time they brought us to pay attention to behaviors as a reflection of those who were truly following the Lord. Not to say that we will ever be perfect but to see some form of the fruit of the Spirit manifested. We can tell what is in a persons heart by what comes out of their mouths or their type written words.

    One of the tests for those who have not been in school for awhile before entering college is a reading test. It helps to determine whether a person has good reading comprehension. Through out the years I have noticed that several people can read the same things and come away with meanings that are far from what the author intended but it is only because they have not learned how to read properly. It does not mean that they are stupid it just means they have not learned how to do it yet. We have the One who inspired the Word to ask questions and give us wisdom regarding the bible and with His help everything can come alive and if we still do not get it we can always ask for help from someone else we can trust to help us. It is hard to ask for help because people see it as a weakness but we all have weaknesses.

  55. foreverblessed says:

    That sermon is indeed beautiful, Reborn identity in strength for the journey, May 9 2011
    Gary, you asked what diffenerence it is when you are legalistic and when you are under grace:
    In our legalistic church the main purpose for a christian was to follow the commands of God, the empahsis was on obedience. Grace and faith was needed at the start of the christian life, but was hardly mentioned anymore. It all depended on our own obedience. The born identity of a legalistic christian is:
    what I do in Christ
    A legalstic person cannot say: We are saved by Grace through faith in Christ.
    No, cannot say that, he has to add that works are needed, if there are no works, then you are not saved.
    So a different set of scriptures are in focus.
    Now, when I left legalism. and I am focused on:
    who I am in Christ:
    My new born identity.
    And a whole lot of scriptures where faith and grace is named become very important.
    Romans 5:17 how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
    For a legalistic person it is hard to accept that the gift of righteousness is a gift, and not something you have to work for.
    For a legallistic person it is hard to talk about God is love, He wants to love us, that it is about a personal relationship with Christ, He wants to be our intimate Friend. They think love is too simple, a set of rules have to be added to keep everything in good order.
    So you read the bible different with a reborn identity.
    You need the new identity in Christ to be able to read what it was intended for.
    The reading of the Old Testament becomes different too, it is not a set of rules to follow, but looking how Christ is found in the scriptures, just like our last topic was about. It gives a whole new perspective.

  56. yooperjack says:

    God speaks and teaches Spirit filled believers through the Bible, preaching of His Word, through thoughts, ideas and suggestions, through other people and on a blog like this. The Spirit will let the believer know when something is not right. Everything must line up with the Word of God.

    I am no one to judge but I do scratch my head when people say or write one thing but do just the opposite. But then that’s their problem, I need to crucify my own flesh daily and renew my own mind, with the help of the Spirit of course. We all have that one thing in our lives we just will not surrender. We tell God: “Not that Lord I don’t want to give that up.” God says: “I want all of you.”

  57. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed… thank you for helpjng me with some clarification on that legalistic veiw. Just to further the point, not to belabor it,If the root of salvation was not the problem, or one’s intial salvation is not the the issue, but only how one feels about what it takes to stay saved by appling rules to live by, or how we then display what we do with the gift we have been given is where legalism has it’s merit, or falicity.
    It is clearly not a faith issue, or an initial obedience issue per se, for all followers have to start somewhere by being obedient to whatever faith they are given. But it is more about what it takes to remain in Christ? To me, both sides require some amount of faith, one to help them stay within the rules believing good works are of value, and one to find them as useless and even threatening to their no works position. Or, is that too extreme? Thanks in advance for walking me through this most difficult and divisive point.

  58. SFDBWV says:

    Exactly correct fadingman, reading the Word of God should cause us to ask questions and ponder and glean His pearls of wisdom and knowledge.

    I realize I am stepping into deep water here and do not wish to draw out an argument away from the subject or be misunderstood, so be patient with me.

    In the pre-Christian age the Hebrew kept the written Word of God on a scroll at the synagogues, I would have to imagine that no one except the priests and the scribes had access to them and that on Sabbath a reading from the scripture would be presented to the congregation. I would also guess that the average person would have been educated in the basics of the scripture but not expert in them as it is my understanding that the average person did not have access to them.

    Written on the very scrolls that the Hebrew kept safe and secure locked away in the safe keeping of the priests were the condemning prophesies directed toward them for not presenting God to the world (Ezekiel 34: 7-10) and what would happen to Messiah (Psalm 22: 1-31). Only a few scholars of the Torah understood what God was saying, only a very few. The masses did not.

    Which brings me to Christianity and the keeping of the Word of God.

    From the very beginning the Gospel was presented first to the Jew as was the very instruction of Jesus Himself (Matthew 10: 5-6) and found in Mark 13: 10 is the fact that the Gospel *must* first be published among all nations before the end of the age and His return.

    What then is the Gospel?

    Is it the testimony of Jesus Christ? Is it the purpose of Jesus’ life and death? Is it the good news of reconciliation with God through belief and acceptance of Jesus? Is it the Kingdom of God? Is it all of this and more?

    In the beginning it was entrusted to the Disciples to carry the “Good News” and as such share the Gospel with the whole of humanity.

    So what then else is entrusted to Christians? Did it become a Christian responsibility to also preserve the Hebrew Torah as well?

    Too often when we attempt to accentuate something concerning a New Testament comment we refer to the Torah for conformation.

    So as the Church began to take shape, who then was responsible for keeping the Torah as well as the Testimonies concerning Jesus (The Gospels) as well as the “official letters from the founders of the faith?

    We are told that from the very beginning there were false letters and a false gospel being circulated among the new believers. So to whom was it given to keep the record straight?

    Believing it to be the Church fathers and officers under the direct guidance and placement of the Holy Spirit as churches began to grow; who then presented the proper written word to believers?

    Historically the church was established at Rome under the organizational instruction from Paul and according to tradition eventually headed up by Peter.

    Running long and also late, I will if able continue tomorrow even if the subject changes.


  59. foreverblessed says:

    Steve, good questions, but I go to a different point.
    My reading of the Bible, my interpretation as it was before when I was legalistic and as it is now.
    This will be a lengthy comment, I hope this is allowed.
    Gary, yes thanks this open discussion, the problem with me was as you say, after being saved, how did I stay saved in Christ. Well, I was a legalistic christian, and I tried to stay saved by keeping a set of rules, Gods rules. And there is the problem, I started out in faith, but headed on in doing works. And doing works is never enough, you might miss a point, you are never sure wehter it is enough, not rest. Now I see that I have to stay in that faith in Jesus. All my being, my thinking and my doing is in faith in Christ. It means something like this: I have to lay down my will in His hands, and let Him lead me through the day, moment by moment. The moments that I do this increase by the day, it is a gradual proces. But this letting go of following a set of rules was a scary, I though if I walk in faiht, I will not follow the rules, so I didn’t walk in faith, and followed a set of rules. So you are suck. It feels risky, If I do walk in faith, will I then break the set of rules given by God. Here is exactly the problem: I lack faith in Christ that He will be able to lead me through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes me alive, and He leads me. And that leading goes far beyond what the set of rules would ever get me.

    To say it in other words: when you are under grace, you have given yourself over to Jesus, you call Him Lord of your heart. He is in charge now, I am not anymore, I have surrendered. (Our pastors would made fun of people who gave their hearts to Christ and all is well, I am very sorry now about, as I realised I had not given my heart to Christ, while being a christian, one who was forgiven through His sacirfice). Then many scriptures become full of meaning, which before was veiled to me.
    When I was a legalistic person, I was saved initially, but for the days after, I was king in my own life, because I was in charge, I decided to live by the rules God had given, and I did it in my best way. That is what it is: full of pride, It was me, who was obedient. It was not Christ in me. And as I am only human, a respectable person, but not full as Christ is Glorious, and Gracefull, and mercifull.
    Scriptures like: Eph 1:5-6 He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.
    were sort of abacadabra to me.
    That is why I think this question of being legalistic is essential in how you read the bible. Many of these scriptures were hidden to my eyes because my heart was still hardened in following a set of rules.
    Verses like 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
    were also a mystery to me. If you read the Bible, and read all the rules and guidelines and ask the Holy Spirit to help you keep them, I was reading the Bible as a set of commandments, how does this verse apply.
    I remember praying to God about it, asking Him to explain it to me.
    It took years for God to get to my heart.

  60. foreverblessed says:

    And I should remember that God was gracious to me, as a legalistic person, that as I received this grace, I should give it to other legalistic persons as well.
    I will give an example: I kept the Sabbath, the 7th day from sunset to sunset, as was commanded in the OT, and as Jesus also kept it. I remeber praying to God: Are You so specific about day? I will obey You as You commanded, but explain this.
    Now I know that the Sabbath is called a rest. It is a spiritual lesson; We rest from our own works, (Hebrews 4:10) and start living in faith in Christ Jesus, the works I do, are not mine but are His.
    I noticed that you react severely when people say: I live in faith, thinking there will be no works. That is exactly the reason why I did hold on to works, because otherwise I am without works. But there is the lack of faith in Christ Jesus.
    If He says He will live in me, and He will do the works, He will do it. The only effort on my side is giving Him the opportunity in working in me. I step aside, and He can work. See, there are the works, it is spiritual, they are out of another realm, not our physical realm. I am not breaking the 10 commandments, no Christ in me is keeping them to the full, and beyond that, He brings me this far that His will is done in me.
    To give an example of living in faith in Christ: when I prayed for you when you said you were leaving, it was a blessing in your going in and going out. That night I was so blessed, it is beyond description, all was well, that is our God, He is giving us His blessing something like this: “in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of His grace expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus” Eph 2:7 He showed a little bit to me that night, and I knew He will do the same with you. And all of us who sincerely seek Him, whether we are still legalistic, or on the other sides not pure yet. You see, these are the works God is talking about, and they were not my works, they were His. That is living in faith, it goes so beyond living in a set of rules, so much higher.

  61. poohpity says:

    Steve you said, as you quoted “Mark 13: 10 is the fact that the Gospel *must* first be published among all nations before the end of the age and His return”. I understand that scripture to say proclaimed not published. Proclaimed means to announce and I think, although I could be wrong, has nothing to do with publishing (issuing written material). Did I misinterpret what you wrote?

  62. poohpity says:

    Romans 1:15-17

  63. yooperjack says:

    foreverblessed: What a beautiful testimony. One of the last things our hearden hearts are willing to surrender is pride. We love that pride.

  64. SFDBWV says:

    pooh, the King James quote of Mark 13: 10 uses the word published, not proclaimed.


  65. yooperjack says:

    The NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English says: “proclaimed”

  66. florida7sun says:

    Infinitely interpretated: The American Standard Version uses preached, rather than proclaimed or published. :-)

    The sun is up and the days get longer. The Lord speaks to us individually in glorious ways as we study the Word. – 2 Timothy 2:15

    Blessed day to all, Ray

  67. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    Mart, you wrote:

    “Gopen is speaking in general terms when he says that any sentence can be interpreted in unlimited number of ways by putting those words in an unlimited number of new settings. Peter gives us a specific example by reminding us that false teachers can bring to Scripture a different meaning than the Spirit of God intended.”

    Peter wrote in a day when all sorts of twisted (2 Peter 3:16), selfish “false prophets” and “false teachers” were coming up the Roman road, right along with faithful Spirit-led servants of God. The entire second letter Peter wrote to the churches calls for keeping the commandments Christ gave us – saying again and again that the hallmark of falseness is a licentious and sinful lifestyle (2 Peter 2:10). The faithful ear, tuned to the Scriptures, will immediately recognize Jesus’ own teaching in Peter’s warnings (Luke 6:43-44). Peter, who heard Jesus’ voice with his own ears and saw him with his own eyes (2 Peter 1:16-18), teaches through this letter that knowledge of the Truth is possible by the working of the Holy Spirit in faithful followers of Jesus.


  68. florida7sun says:

    Beautiful Maru. Words can be interpreted differently dependent on one’s worldview. However, it is the still small voice of Our Lord and Savior that speaks to us through the Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth as we study His Word and apply it to daily living.

    We receive our daily bread, feed on His body and are cleanse by His blood. Made new day by day we walk with Him along the path He encourages us to take, always hearing Him say, “Follow me.”

  69. foreverblessed says:

    There is a website where you can read the original Greek bible. It is biblos that goes with a dot and a com.

    You can see for yourself, or read this, it goes a bit far, but it is fun to do.
    The greek word, kerusso,number 2784 in the Strong concordance, is mostly translated by the King James Version as:
    -preached, about 20 times
    -proclaimed 2 times in Luke 12:3, and Rev 5:2
    -published 5 times, Mark 1:45, 5:20,7:36,13:10, Luke 8:39.
    There are 2 other words for publish, Acts 10:37, but that comes from a totally different word: made to be, to cause to be, no 1096 Strong concordance.
    Acts 13:49 publish 1308 Strong, literal bear through, or transport.
    The word kerusso , (no2748 Strong) in Greek mean
    -properly, to herald (proclaim); to preach (announce) a message publicly and with conviction (persuasion).
    -(“to herald”) refers to preaching the Gospel as the authoritative (binding) word of God, bringing eternal accountability to all who hear it.
    -is “preaching by a herald sent from God” (BAGD, “declaration,” TDNT, 3:703). To “gospelize” (2097 Strong/euaggelízō) stresses the victory of God’s Gospel-message in the totality of His “good news.”

    Anyway, this goes a bit far, but God’s word was made alive, and proclaimed, no Bible book, but preached by a herald sent from God.

  70. SFDBWV says:

    At the very beginning of Christianity on the Day of Pentecost The Holy Spirit arrived in such a fashion as to be seen by those in the upper room as well as heard by bystanders on the street. (Acts 1: 1-4)

    It was given to these men to keep the record of the testimony of Jesus accurate and a more sober task of spreading that testimony and by way of laying on hands heal the sick raise the dead and further the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8: 17) and (Acts 6: 6).

    In the beginning of the creation of the Church or Body of Christ there were many churches. These churches, or gatherings of people, were led by men who had received the testimony of Christ from a direct line of the original Disciples of Jesus including Paul, and by way of the laying on of hands they themselves had received the Holy Spirit and so like an infestation, believers spread the Gospel everywhere by word and by touch.

    Somewhere in this rapidly growing movement false teaching and false doctrine arose, which is why the founders of the Church gave warnings concerning them. So somewhere in this beginning the record had to be kept straight and official.

    I am given to understand that at first the governing of the early church was at Jerusalem, so matters of accuracy had to be brought before James and the council at Jerusalem, but James was soon killed and the council seemed to vanish into history.

    After the death of Paul and Peter the last voice of the Original Disciples we read of is John and his Revelation.

    These events were 2000 years ago. There has been a great deal added to the unfinished Book of Acts during that time, but we are not all privileged to know all the stories of the continued presence and actions of Christian believers. Many history books now take the events of Christianity and testify of her story. Clearly showing how Christianity reshaped the entire world. Transforming peoples, cultures and nations everywhere, there not seeming to be any power that could stand for very long against her.

    The greatest threat to Christianity being her own members, and leaders.

    Because of the Roman Empire Christianity was spread along its highways and boundaries. Because Rome was the center of civilization at the time, Rome became the headquarters for the organizational establishment of the Christian church. An argument that ensues to this day between the churches in the Eastern Empire known today as the Eastern Orthodox religion.

    The founders of this organization realized all too well the fallibility of men, so the Writings we know of as the Bible were kept to the minimum of the Torah and the earliest letters and testimonies surrounding Jesus and the original Disciples including Paul.
    Great effort along with the aid of the Holy Spirit went into copying the scripture so as not to change any of the wordings and so consequentially the meaning of scripture. It is a great testimony to these early scribes and their commitment as well as obedience to the Holy Spirit that the scriptures have endured for 2000 years.

    Which will bring me to the more controversial subject of my very long comments. Please don’t presuppose anything as yet, I will conclude on my next post.


  71. yooperjack says:

    Steve: If I was Satan and wanted to destroy the “Church” I would put false teaching in the schools where the Pasters and Preachers are educated. If you attact the roots the tree dies. I think it’s not what they’re preaching but what they’re not preaching that is killing the movement.

  72. poohpity says:

    Steve, what is the source of your post and who was the author?

  73. poohpity says:

    Have you ever had that feeling when reading something that there is just something not right? The opposite is true also that when you read something you have that feeling that the Spirit within me agrees to what is said or written. I think it comes down to truly listening to God above all else. If we have a foundation which is Christ Jesus when we read something or hear something we must listen to that disturbance or peace within our souls as a measure of whether it is from God or someone else. In Jeremiah 31:33 NIV and Hebrews 10:16 NIV talks about how we will know there maybe something either right or wrong with what we read or hear because God’s Spirit within us will testify to the the truth.

    That does not mean that we are not to use the brain God gave us to determine if what we are reading or listening to is true as compared to the Word of God. ODB reminds us today that we have “The treasures of truth in God’s Word” so as we search for a treasure as we do for wealth and worldly possessions it would benefit us that much to search the pages of the bible for knowledge of our God.

  74. oneg2dblu says:

    Foreverblessed… Thank you! I trust what you have experienced and now shared through your faith journey, and through the leading of the Holy Spirit with God’s Grace, and being in Christ, as we all *publish* here, or proclaim, profess, exclaim, or touch upon or spread, do we all remain as the enlightened church today. Whether we all agree or not, but because of the Gospel Message that was impressed upon us. Whether it first came to us, (this having our new reality) in written form through our reading, in hearing form through others reading it to us, in collective worship were we may have also uttered the words, or heard others singing them, who can say which way we came to know Him, (the one who now rules our hearts) as we now Follow Him.
    Maybe it was a mixture of methods building upon one another, and maybe a mixture of faith and works, like using our gifts for Him, that He uses to stay us convicted, connected, and bearing fruit! Who can say?
    To me the Holy Bible is the God-given instruction manual for righteous living, good works, and finding who God is, what he wants from us, and how He “with us” achieves it all for His Glory. He does not need us for anything, but has chosen us to do many things that lead to the good purpose of all who love Him. If that needs a label that begins with the letter “L”, then let it be called Love. In His Love, Gary

  75. SFDBWV says:

    Because the early founders of the church knew the failing of men, the Book we know of as the Bible included the Jewish Torah as the Old Testament and kept the New Testament to only include those letters and writings of the very earliest disciples of Jesus; so as not to include any false doctrines or teaching that men would eventually attempt to bring into the church.

    Most all of us will agree that for thousands of years men did an excellent job in establishing churches and spreading the Gospel. Yet so coveted was the written Word of God that church leaders thought only the church should be the keepers of the Word and so keep it safe from being corrupted.

    Some Roman church leaders eventually became so envious of power and wealth that their seat of power became anything but Christian in their example or actions. The cruel hand of tyranny became the eventual reputation of the Roman church and so dissention in the church became wide spread and with it the awful deaths of many thousands of believers. More than all of the deaths inflicted upon believers by the Roman Empire.

    Incredible as it seems one of the hottest issues was the written Word of God. To tamper with it meant death by fire. Where in the Word were there any death sentence by fire except in the Jewish Torah and it was reserved for witches. Certainly not a Christian concept at all. But tyrants have a way of controlling by way of fear. As well as keeping the masses ignorant.

    The Word of God was kept safe from corruption but not the men to whom the responsibility of administration of the church had fallen to.

    Because revolution always follows tyranny, the tyrannies of the Popes were no exception, except that as a result the church was fractured into pieces with no central administration.

    Ironic isn’t it that the one thing that Martin Luther wanted was to translate the Word of God into German so his countrymen could experience what he had; the Holy Spirit’s relationship with the reader of the Word.

    However the Church of England still kept the Word confined and continued to burn people at the stake for translating it. Having been established so that it’s King could get a divorce.

    Even more disturbing is that nearly all Protestant faiths today derive from that rebellious spirit and from King Henry’s desire to divorce. All splintered off each searching its own concept of truth.

    I would say that certainly all of the civilized world and most all of the remote civilizations on our planet has heard of Christianity but maybe never really heard the Gospel. I would also say that to an unbelieving world Christianity looks like a bunch of hypocrites as instead of brotherly love they all set in different camps and argue with the other.

    One of the unifying factoids being the written Word of God, yet instead of a central singular interpretation we are now awash with everyone’s own personal bible that will agree with their own desires. Our only defense being the Holy Spirit and His leading.

    It is no wonder Jesus says to the church in Thyatira, “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.” (Revelation 2: 25).

    Even here on this blog if one quotes scripture it comes under condemnation if it doesn’t agree with another’s own *new* bible’s interpretation. Dissention, disagreement, strife ensue. Not the gleaning of truth but division of unity.

    What then is the answer? Do we dissolve organized Christianity in favor of every person creating their own church? Do we each reinterpret scripture from the original letters ourselves using the internet or books for translation? Are we each so sure of ourselves that we can ignore the work of others and of the Holy Spirit thousands of years ago?

    Have we entered that place whereby everyone does as they think is right in their own sight?

    Too long, sorry, “Infinitely Interpreted” infinitely examined and explained.


  76. yooperjack says:

    Steve: I don’t think anyone was condeming you but just showing you what other translation say. People sure are touchy on this blog: is it insucurity or what.

  77. poohpity says:

    After reading several versions they all seem to say pretty much the same things in different ways. I find there is nothing to argue about when seeing that the Word points us to love God and others. It will always be a continuing learning experience for those who are interested enough to read it and hopefully everyone will find a version that fits for them. I always say the easier the better and one that makes the point clearer.

    All that said the points you made a)-f), Mart, will help anyone reading the bible to a better understanding of the breathe of God’s Word to know God more thoroughly and hopefully to learn to trust and depend on Him more and more in their daily living and not depend on their own understanding. Gaining new tools and education on reading will only improve each person by learning a little something new. :-)

  78. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon Mart!

    You lifted up seeking the help of the Holy Spirit, and using the insight we are given as we become the community of Christ’s followers. It seems to me that the Church Universal has few venues or platforms for sharing and fellowship altogether. Language itself can be a huge barrier! The collection of Scriptures inspired by God (The Holy Bible) has been translated into all the major languages of the world. The dialects and smaller language groups remain to be provided the whole. BTA is here for those who read and write English. We might pause to consider other blogs in other languages all over the world – hosted by your counterpart, Mart, in Korea or France or Bolivia…

    You wrote: “Remembering that this was written to someone else, a long time ago, in circumstances much different than our own– for our insight and benefit,” when you referred to the process of studying and discussing Scripture.

    It is wondrous and a source of great joy that somehow the whole canon addresses the saints in every age and in every circumstance! It was written to the churches-to-be of “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8) We here today are part of this! Amazing!


  79. poohpity says:

    Oh Yes Maru, the Word of God seems to be the only thing that will cross over all, cultural, social economical, nationality and gender differences to bring us all together under a united purpose. The problems usually arise when religions cause divisions but we know that most religions are man made taking out part of the whole or taking things out of context to fit their own purposes.

  80. bill34sl says:

    Most, if not all existing churches of today claim they are the true church of Jesus Christ. Everyone of them profess they posses the right doctrines while directly or indirectly saying that the others are mistaken with theirs. The church I used to belong crumbled and disintegrated into splinter tiny churches in the 90’s all because a new leadership arose, and along, a new set of doctrines for the membership. The new general, or should I say pastor general thought the old leadership were flawed in their long time beliefs and so he has to step up and correct them. He thought he understood the Bible better than his predecessors. As a result, many left the church and formed groups of likely minds. And so they swelled up the list of registered churches in the world. All have their own television ministry and teaching the same things as their former colleagues. I wondered why they separated in the first place when all their teachings are very identical with the others who splitted. I chose and remained unaffiliated with anyone, including the mainstream.
    The early Christians also experienced division among themselves, but more likely so because of ignorance. Some maybe skeptical about a teaching because it might be hard to understand and they were not so knowledgeable yet. The Apostle Peter once said that Paul’s epistles were hard to understand (2 Peter 3:15-16) and could pose a danger to the still immature Christians. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that Paul’s wisdom was no doubt from our Lord Jesus Christ. Today, disagreement among many Christian churches stem from the belief that they know better than the rest. To each his own. Individually, we fit into these scenarios. But one thing is true, as Steve pointed out sometime ago, we are like trees in a forest, some are taller while the others are shorter and still growing up. The taller ones see the Son-light better and thus reflect the light better.

  81. foreverblessed says:

    Steve,sorry for making you feel comfortable. I was just curious why the King James Version would translate this word different in Mark 13:10.
    Looking into these words always give me much more insight, and give lots of extra scriptures linked to the same word.
    Gary, you gave me a good laugh with your “as we all *publish* here, or proclaim, profess, exclaim, or touch upon or spread,” Sorry Steve, it isn’t such an essential word is it?
    Anyway, there is a website, where you can find much of the history of the bible, also the things Steve wrote, it is:
    greatsite which goes with a dot and a com.
    Lots of interesting things, like the KJV was not accepted for decades by protestants, they would rather have the Geneva bible. So imagine yourself Steve at that time, maybe you would have preferred the Geneva Bible.
    Pooh, thanks for Romans 1, what is the Gospel, there was a time I was searching exactly for that, and I read Romans 1:2-3,4,5-6 by coincidence, and was hit by the power of the wording. How could I have missed that all those years?
    Romans 1:16,17, it starts with faith, and it proceeds with faith, and yes, works will accompany a life connected to the life of Christ, like grapes on the vine John 15:4,5 if we remain in Christ.

  82. davids says:

    ForeverBlessed, thank you for your testimony. They are part of what make this blog interesting and inspiring.

    Also, your explanation of the concordance helps us to realize what was mentioned earlier in this topic: we must take into account the context of the writers. “Publishing” was not a concept in a time when written material had to be manually copied. This is not meant to refute Steve’s remarks about the importance of written scripture.

  83. davids says:

    Happily, it seems, I am in a place where there are not enough English-speaking people to form multiple churches. Our congregation includes Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Disciples, Reformed, a few Catholics, and several more.

    If you want to be baptised by immersion, that is fine. If you want to believe that something is a sin, then that is fine. We welcome everyone in God’s name, and preach only Jesus Christ, and him crucified for our sins.

    I pray for the day that every church will do the same.

  84. oneg2dblu says:

    Foreverblessed… Romans 1, when read to the end brings a fullness that should not go unmentioned or denied here, but it goes without merit today for some churches who approve of an anything goes, if you have your salvation, you are okay. I am not a tall enough tree to spread that light, perhaps I’m created as a stunted variety, living to the fullest intention of the maker who made me, the way I believe he made me.
    You were correct in leaving your legalistic ways if they were in conflict to your nearness of Christ, your walking in the fullness of Christ, or taking a precedent over the Christ in you, you moved on and into righteousness through conviction of the Holy Spirit within you. You did not ignore that still small voice within. You obeyed, and are forever blessed by that very obedience. Your light is seen as a beacon to me,
    in this darkened place we must endure. In His Love, Gary

  85. poohpity says:

    Steve you said, “Even here on this blog if one quotes scripture it comes under condemnation if it doesn’t agree with another’s own *new* bible’s interpretation. Dissention, disagreement, strife ensue. Not the gleaning of truth but division of unity.” Most people seem to have the ability to talk about things without taking offense or feel that it is a cause for dissension or strife. Disagreement is also not a means to cause dissension or strife it if is not taken as a personal insult but a matter of conversation with an open mind that we all still have much to learn about many things. If a person feels that correction or a differing opinion causes bad feelings, it may be that that person feels above reproach and all of us have areas we are still in the dark about or behaviors that need some work. Name calling, belittling and talking down to others only serves to make a person feel superior to another.

  86. phpatato says:

    Quoted from Eerdmans’ Concise Bible Handbook, a book I received several years ago through the ministry of the Billy Graham Association…..I hope this helps.


    The Authorized, or King James’ Version of the Bible was translated over 350 years ago. The Revised Version in the last century kept the same language but made revisions in the light of increased knowledge of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. In the 20th century there have been a number of new translations concerned not only to reflect an accurate text but also current English usage. Their main differences are:

    1. Some are revisions (The Revised Standard Version), some are new translations from the original languages (New English Bible, Jerusalem Bible, Good News Bible)

    2. Some use “literary” language, including formal or academic words (New English Bible, Jerusalem Bible). Others use colloquial English (The Living Bible), or “common” English (Good News Bible), the language common to both written and spoken English.

    3. Some translations are concerned to keep the idiom and general force and meaning of the original; others to keep as closely as possible to the original words and sentence structure.

    4. Some keep the literary forms of the original when possible, e.g. by printing poetry as such.

    5. Some translations are produced by one man, others by a group.

    6. Some translations are made to conserve particular theological or linguistic traditions.

    Main 20th-century English Translations

    1903 – R.T. Weymouth, The New Testament in Modern Speech – A classical scholar’s translation of the New Testament into dignified modern English

    1913 and 1924 – James Moffatt, A New Translation of the Bible – A free, vigorous, idiomatic translation which takes some liberties with the text.

    1927 – E.J. Goodspeed, The Complete Bible; an American Translation – A very readable version appreciated both in the United States and elsewhere.

    1944 and 1949 – Ronal Knox, The Holy Bible – A Roman Catholic translation based on the Latin Vulgate

    1946 and 1952 – The Revised Standard Version (The Common Bible) – Revision of the American Standard Version of 1901, which was in turn a revision of the Authorized/King James’ Version. Translated by a committee of 32 scholars, with the aim of producing a version which would retain the good qualities of the Authorized/King James’ Version but take full account of modern scholarship.

    1950 and 1960 – The New World Translation – Produced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, emphasizing their interpretation of particular texts.

    1955 – H.J. Schonfield, The Authentic New Testament – A translation by a distinguished Jewish scholar, emphasizing the Jewish background of the New Testament.

    1958 – The Amplified Bible – A version giving alternative words to suggest different possible meanings; produced by 12 editors in California.

    1958 – J.B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English – A fresh, vigorous, free translation of the New Testament; revised 1972.

    1959 – The Holy Bible: The Berkeley Version in Modern English – The New Testament is the work of a single scholar, the Old Testament the work of a team of 20, in the USA; a conservative revision concerned for accuracy.

    1961 and 1970 – The New English Bible – A completely new translation by panels of scholars taking into account the most accurate and up-to-date linguistic, textual and historical findings; sponsored by the main British churches and Bible Societies.

    1966 – The Jerusalem Bible – Based on the textual studies of the Roman Catholic School of Biblical Studies, Jerusalem, this is a clear, accurate, scholarly translation.

    1966 and 1976 – Good News Bible – A completely new, fresh, straight-forward translation in “common” or non-academic English; produced by the American Bible Society.

    1971 – Kenneth Taylor, The Living Bible – A colloquial, conservative American paraphrase designed for family reading and to help ordinary people understand the Bible.

    1974 and 1979 – New International Version – A new translation by an international, interdenominational team of evangelical scholars.

    …..Eerdmans’ Concise Bible Handbook…..first edition in this Concise format 1980; Text from The Lion Handbook to the Bible; copyright 1973 Lion Publishing

    I am not up to speed if there are any new translations since 1979.

    With so many Bible translations to choose from, I can see why Steve brought to point that disagreement and strife can happen. Sadly, I have seen this happen on occasion.

  87. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Hope all is well with you! Would love to read the comments on this topic, but I’ve been really pressed for more time lately. Sometimes, it seems like I have less time when I’m on vacation than I do when I’m working! Nevertheless, have to stop by here for a visit whenever I find the time. I love this blog site. Nothing like sharing thoughts on a particular topic with brothers/sisters who love the LORD. I love the new changes to the BTA blog site, Mart! :) And I agree with you that the meaning of a sentence depends on context (and punctuation is important too). Saw these two sentences on facebook: “Let’s eat Grandma!” and “Let’s eat, Grandma!”

    Love to all,

    ps. Forty-three degrees in Texas right now (high temp/59 degrees today).

  88. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    To the first question of your post, Mart: “Can the Bible be infinitely interpreted?”
    I believe the criteria you set forth are helpful for faithful disciples of Jesus. The six standards you listed limit the scope of discussion in a good way, if only by civility and respectful listening. Clearly, you’ve been “thinking about the goal of Bible reading and study.” It is not certain that the Bible will hold the deep fascination and devotion that it has these past several thousand years – but I believe it will. The presence of God – the holy character of God – form a tether that keeps us from taking Scripture and running off into personal, foolish or even heretical thought and action.

    Scripture cannot be infinitely interpreted since we have the promise that Christ will return, and time as we know it will cease. Bible interpretation is unlikely in the unveiled presence of God, don’t you think? You have lifted up Bible reading and study as a goal. I have found some followers of Jesus are so engaged in helping others and doing ministry that they don’t find time for Bible reading and study. For these, a little Bible goes a long way. There are some who study and read the Bible obscessively – and never get anything else done. For these, no fruit comes from knowing God. It seems to me there must be a balance in kingdom life: prayer, worship, Bible reading in solitude and in fellowship – combined with action in the self, in the home, the church, community and world.


  89. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Pat your very through listing of Bible translations shows that people are forever trying to improve their ability to understand what scripture says.

    Davids your congregation sounds great, I am happy for you.

    I would suppose that whatever language you speak and read, there is a Bible available to you in your native tongue.

    I only speak and am only able to read English, so I fall under those who may have at their disposal too many choices to decide from. I have settled into keeping three versions in my home, King James, the Living Bible and the American Standard Catholic Bible. I also use a concordance and a few other Bible dictionaries in my study of scripture.

    One of the good qualities of this blog is that questions and subjects mentioned here cause me to look more often and deeper into these books before I comment, so I am grateful for that and thank Mart and all of you for forcing me to keep my nose in the word more often than I may have otherwise.

    I do hope my private thoughts have not offended anyone, if so it is not intentional. Thank you all for your patience with me and your prayers for me and my family.

    Rain this morning with the promise of snow this afternoon and tomorrow.


  90. BruceC says:

    Everyone have a very blessed Christmas!

    I don’t have time to tell it no but someone remind me at a later time to the story of God’s protection of me.
    Have to run. Lots to do today. stop at church, go to my mechanic, and be at the County home for a party for my mother-in-law. (She’s doing better-thanks for the prayers!)
    May not be back on till after Christmas; bit hopefully sooner!

    God bless all!!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  91. foreverblessed says:

    That’s OK Steve, in our language we would say: put sand over it.
    For some reason I thought you meant to say that the King James translaters are the best, they did a good job, and no one needs to do a further search. Any further search brings fractions.
    I think it is good to look at all the different translation, and I even like it better that we can see the original text in Greek and Hebrew. I have the Strong’s Concordance, but they give only the words. To be able to see the original text in each Bible verse is quite something.It always gives me greater insight for some reason, so why not have a look at it?

    On the other hand, it is Jesus who is the Living Word, the written word must be made alive by the Holy Spirit to a heart that is softened by that same Spirit.

  92. yooperjack says:

    Steve: You have nothing to apoligize for, if you try to please everyone by not offending some one you’ll go nuts. That’s why I don’t adhere to “political correctness” that is one crazy 21 centry idea. You’re a good writer, let the chips fall where they fall.

  93. oneg2dblu says:

    For edification purposes only… to me, and perhaps a few other here, the word Private means removed from public veiw; or secluded. Once displayed for all to see, as posted in a blog venue, those are truly no longer private. Once inflicted for another to bear, they are no longer considered to be private or are they solely personal? But, we do always “own” our words, and we sometimes do not wear them well, if they are meant to wear others. Just thinking about the words we sometimes throw at others. The words we use have both the power to build or destroy. But, when asking others for forgiveness from the heart of His love, those particular words, do not seem to come to those we have chosen to both injure and then ignore.
    I wonder if any of you have ever heard the sound of one of the “taller trees” falling, or seen the residual damage they impart to the lowly foliage they fall upon? Gary

  94. oneg2dblu says:

    Speaking of volumes, or the unlimited interpretations
    used by man upon the Words of God, to me the only words that count are the words that the Holy Spirit interprets for us, even if they do not appear on those well written pages of man. They are the words written on the heart of every believer here, and by the one true Almighty Author. They do not come from any man’s toil, or publishing! For they become both internally implanted,and Eternally employed! Gary

  95. florida7sun says:

    Infinitely interpreted led me to consider the Hebrew definition of “pure” as it is used throughout the Old Testament. Isn’t that what our hearts desire? The pure unadulterated Word of God that speaks to the very core of our being and gives life to all.

    The Hebrew word for pure is taher: to be clean, innocent and righteous. The adjective used is “tahowr” (“kathairo” in Greek) to describe pure gold; pure olive oil; pure frankincense; pure offering; pure conscience; pure virgin; pure water; pure heart; pure religion and pure language.

    As Paul indicates, “now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12-13

    Despite their best efforts, the most gifted scholars and translators of the pure Word of God “see in a mirror, darkly.”

    God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” – Romans 3:25-26

    Foreverblessed commented, “…it is Jesus who is the Living Word, the written word must be made alive by the Holy Spirit to a heart that is softened by that same Spirit.”

    The Holy Spirit is our teacher and He provides illumination to repentent and surrendered hearts that abide in the purity of Immanuel.

  96. yooperjack says:

    It is never right to hurt smaller trees on purpose but at the same time you can’t worry that your words are going to offend some one. Some people take everythig personal. I’m not one to give pity parties to those thin skined people. That, my friend is inableing them. They will never grow tall enough to see the sun.

  97. Toml5169 says:

    I haven’t posted anything in some time and I hope have not been misinterpreted for being away. I simply want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and as Tiny Tim said “God bless us, everyone”. I am not certain how that translates from King James all the way to The Message, but I trust wherever you are and however many languages you speak that message will not be misunderstood.
    Be Blessed and a Blessing!

  98. poohpity says:

    yooperjack, you may read Ephesians 4:29 or James 3:5-9 they both speak about being very careful about the things that come out of our mouths because of the harm it can cause. It is not enabling anyone by using our words to build each other up rather than tearing them down. If we offend anyone or they may something against us we are to go to them and work it out before we even give our gifts, worship or offerings to the Lord. Matthew 5:22-24

  99. poohpity says:

    Hey Tom, you have a very blessed Christmas too!!

  100. yooperjack says:

    Poohpity: I said it is never right to hurt some one on purpose. But you will go nuts trying to please everyone, it’s not going to happen, trust me, I’ve been on both sides of that argument.

  101. Toml5169 says:

    Thank you Pooh, we have both of our daughters and their families home for Christmas this year; what a blessing! Incidentally everyone I just finished 2 years of reading through the New Testament in 8 different translations and found it a time of great growth. Before that I read through the Bible each year in 4 different translations and that was an amazing time of growth as well. Try it, you might be amazed.

  102. yooperjack says:

    Hey Tom: That is amazing you did that, you must be a speed reader. It would take me 5 years to do that and I would’nt remember what I read.LOL

  103. poohpity says:

    But if we do hurt someone it is thoughtless to ask them to toughen up and not be in a pity party. When we say things it would be nice to take into consideration that we never know what someone else is going through at that time. The day that you insinuated by words were boring you, do you have any idea what happened to me that day and how your words impacted me or did you even care. So rather than hurting me wouldn’t it have nice to keep that to yourself and suck up your opinion because it was not beneficial except maybe to you to put me down. Just as Gary is feeling very hurt by remarks made about him rather than expressing those opinions it would have nice to hold back or say it in a different way that was not condescending.

  104. poohpity says:

    Tom I have read through the bible 18 times in several translations KJV, NIV, The Message and the NLT. Chronologically and regular and finding that the chronological was very eye opening and am still learning. Each year there is something new that is why I have found it is the Living Word. Do you have the parallel bible with 4 translations?

  105. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… less condesending? Would that mean my words are judged as condesending, instead of revealing? If so, please rewrite my words, that I may learn from you.
    Would telling what I was going through that day have any real affect on what was already done?
    Like you say, if we hold anything against another, we should do “what we can” to correct that even before we go to the alter. Sorry, I used my interpretation there.
    Suck it up does not correct a treaspass, or bring about the forgiveness that God desires. If it did, you would not have posted either! Just a thought! Gary

  106. royalpalm says:

    Great topic, Mart and great posts; kept me thinking also – I’m glad for the time and opportunity to put my
    thoughts here.

    God’s Word is given for His purpose (Isa.55:11, 2 Tim 3:16, etc). It is our duty to find out what is God’s message and know what exactly He is telling us. As pointed out, true understanding of God’s word can only come from Him, through the guidance of the Holy spirit.

    “Infinitely interpreted” occurs because Interpretation gives freedom to choose what the words best mean.God’s Word, however, is fixed in heaven (Ps. 119:89) and is eternal (Isa. 40:8). God has already decided what His words mean. The onus is upon us to truly listen to hear what He is saying and to humbly ask for wisdom and understanding.

    God gave His Word not to satisfy man’s curiosity or to increase his intellectual capacity but to reveal His heart and thoughts. The degree of His revelation is under His authority and control. How we perceive and receive God’s word depends on the condition of our hearts. (Matt. 13:18-33) Even if people hear or read His words, they cannot see the wondrous truths revealed in them (Psalm 119:18) unless He opens their eyes. He allows Hs words to be misinterpreted by the rebellious and proud (like in Isaiah’s time Isa. 6:9,10) to mock or punish them…

    In John 8:43 ; 47 Jesus said to unbelievers in His day, 43″Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.” and in verse 47, ” He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

    “There are many reasons why men do not hear: because they are far off; because they are deaf; because they sleep; because they turn their heads aside; because they cover their ears; because they walk away to avoid hearing; because they are dead. All of these are types of various forms of unbelief.” May our souls be attuned always to God so we always hear what He says… Christmas greetings to all!

  107. yooperjack says:

    Poohpity: I didn’t know you were hurt till you said so in your response. You were sarcastic but I’ve been around the block a few more times than you know and picked up on that right away. The reason I said to you, you are boring me, was because it’s like saying: “speak to the hand.”
    I never argue with anyone so if I see someone start playing games with me I end it, like I did with you. I hate these little games people play.

    Blog people are all just people that like to read what other’s have to say about different subjects; why do some people want to change every body. As doctor Phil would say: “How’s that working for you”. Read his book Life Strategies; I wish I would have read it at age 16 instead of 60. Game over.

  108. oneg2dblu says:

    yooperjack… all human beings take things personal when they are their reality. Ever try to reason with silence and its profound unforgiving nature? It is like being forced to be under a tree with such a high and lofty canopy that it overshadows you, and does not allow for much real light to filter through. Everything, is perspective, and the perspective I am trying to enalbe is not a personal attack, but an unforgiving nature that resides in all those who choose silence. The damage of those hurtful words was soon forgiven, but the silence that lingers, has its roots well bedded in an unforgiving nature. If that is a personal attack, than the realitiy of it fits the one who bears it.
    I may be wrong here, but I believe I have published, or publicly forgiven those stinging words of the intial hurt. What lingers now? It is this silence of that unforgiving nature, my friend. The work of the Holy Spirit is what is still needed here!
    Don’t let reality ruin your day! Gary

  109. Toml5169 says:

    I do have a 4 translation Bible and an 8 translation New Testament. Love reading out of parallel translations and I also did a chronological Bible in a year about 6 years ago. Like you I found that very enlightening.
    I just make sure I take time first thing every morning. Somehow before I know it I am in Revelation again.

  110. yooperjack says:

    Gary: I’m not sure I understand your post, are you talking about being shuned? Oh! By the way reality never ruins my day, I know how to deal with reality; just foolish game playing by foolish people gets my dandruff up.

  111. yooperjack says:

    Tom: that’s fantastic, you have disipline that is a good virtue.

  112. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry Pooh, keep it all up.
    Gary, sorry what has happened. You mind the silence. I wish you could see what you write yourself when you think you are right in your assumption of the mindset of people who believe in once saved always saved. Not at any of these comments did I react, just silence. Just as there was silence when someone reacted harshly to you. I would you could see your own writing, how harsh it is, and you say it is something you have to do, because the Spirit tells you to do it. I was in silence, now I say, I do not believe the Spirit handles these things as you do.
    Sorry for all this, where is the soft heart? God please let us see our hearts, and Your light and Your Warmth shining into our hearts and making them warm. By the way, that looks like a Christmas greeting, hereby it is.
    It would be good to talk things over. And take back our harsh words, and say we are sorry.

  113. poohpity says:

    Gary, I did not say you were condescending, I was saying that someone else talked to you that way. yooperjack, I was not being sarcastic, sad it was perceived by you that way. Those were both good examples of how words can be misinterpreted by the persons mindset reading them when truth is left out or the knowledge of the author is unknown. Not to say there are times in the past that I have been sarcastic but I admitted to it and have asked for forgiveness. If someone gave their opinion about your posts as boring what would you have felt? This is really not what we were given to think about by Mart’s topic so maybe we can get back on track again, it sure would be nice and respectful.

  114. bubbles says:

    :( *sigh*

  115. yooperjack says:

    Poohpity: I’ll say amen to your last sentance in your last post.

  116. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed… yes,as you have stated, I dealt harsh words speaking to what I have been led to believe is a false teaching. Only for one reason though, and it does not challenge the authority of Christ, or the salvation of those who choose to belive it, but because it allows for even unrighteous, unholy, and unfruitful living, as some OSAS teachers now teach. Those characteristics to me are very un-christlike, and do not represent any Following of Him! They can be in direct conflict to way to many passages that speak about godliness and right living. If I stood alone on these issues, you point would be well served! But, Christ taught us about such living for a reason. That reason is not taken into the accounting of the doctrine of unconditional security. As you have said to me in the past, perhaps I should review the meaning of falling away, as you feel I may have mis-interpreted it, just as I feel you may have also.
    Perhaps we will have time to discuss each verse that speaks for and against this eternal security, that would be a very challenging topic of discussion which I would relish to explore in more detail. But, to just throw conflicting verses at each other without explaining how we personally interpret them, or have been guided by the Holy Spirit’s teaching to us, solves nothing in my book about the meeting of the minds, as biblical scholars who have devoted a life of study to this issue, can not fully agree. As we all see dimly today. I do not think hell is the path for one side and not the other, but I do believe that living apart and away from the walk and teaching of Our Lord will not be rewarded as righteousness. Can one loose one’s salvation is the most discussed issue on this blogs site! Like I’ve said in the past, it never gets solved here! In His Love, Gary

  117. davids says:

    Once again we descend into the pit of accusations and incriminations. May I suggest two rules for this blog:

    1. Do not mention anybody by name, unless you have something positive to say.
    2. Do not continue to argue a point that you have already made.

    May you and your loved ones have joy and peace during this blessed time!


  118. yooperjack says:

    Amen brother David, I’ll second that motion.

  119. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I’m glad you did not think my post was condescending. That meant a lot to me. It was not meant to be, as it is directed to the issue of forgiveness only, not to a personal attack, but a principled basic wrong doing for the family of Christ to engage in.
    I will not belabor it again, or bore others with it!
    It is out in the light now, and the light itself, always exposes our sins. As foreverblessed has said, she held her tongue to silence, but that silence was not held as unforgiving in nature, it was lovingly allowing a particular topic to run its heated course, as she has lovingly continued to communicate openly with all here.
    You are right about not knowing how hurtful others can be, because they can not fully understand another’s position, or their day, and their walk. My mother used silence as a weapon against us as children. My father used silence and went to his grave, never speaking to someone who hurt him. My brother also uses it as a weapon today, to deal with those who give him distress. So now you know pooh. I’ve been dealt my share of this sin of an unforgiving nature through silence for a reason, and maybe it has found its moment of revealing in God’s timing, as it reveals itself here.
    Who can say? Gary

  120. poohpity says:

    You do not have to mention the rules for the blog they are already written in the comment guidelines which seem to be hard to follow and have been there this whole time since as far back as I can remember. Maybe they are not clear or interpreted correctly. :-)

  121. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    This topic is so fascinating because it reflects upon the Scriptures *and* upon the conversation that is always under way about it. I note at the end of your post you have placed “Infinitely Interpreted?” in only one category: Bible. There are myriad, if not infinite, contexts into which the Word enters. BTA is a context of its own — wonderful and fragile — because we do not see one another’s faces, nor hear one another’s tone of voice, as Steve pointed out earlier. We communicate in English, but it is not a first language for all of us.

    In your welcome to BTA, you wrote some time ago:

    “You probably won’t agree with everything you find here! But that’s not bad. What counts in a good conversation is that we be fair in our consideration of one another and the issues that too often divide us.

    If together we can grow in our understanding of ourselves, one another, and most importantly our God and his word, our time together will be more than worthwhile.”

    Along with the gidelines in the side-bar at the top of the BTA page, your welcome is the ground on which we meet. It is always polite to address the host of the blog. It is always polite to interpret, respond to, agree or disagree with the position you have outlined in the topic, Mart. The image of the well-worn easy chair means we are in your study — or your den — and we might wish to leave our muddy boots and galoshes at the door.

    For the times I have been critical of the blogger instead of the opinion — or the choice of words — I ask your forgiveness. I believe that each of us is a welcome guest here.

    Wishing all here Joy at Christmas,

  122. bratimus says:

    I better stay at the Kids table, just came for some mashed potatoes, but i see there being flung across the room again.

    God bless have a blessed Christmas, peace out!

  123. florida7sun says:

    In reflecting on “Infinitely Interpreted” my thoughts take me to Luke 2:13-14: Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

    In the center of sin is that devilish I (eye). There are four of those in Infinitely Interpreted; which took me to Judges 21:25, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” In taking inventory of my own heart, I cherish His peace.

    I pray you have His peace, which cannot be explained but gives assurance “all is well with my soul.” In googling the acronym for P.E.A.C.E. (in which there is no I) two phrases registered with me:

    – Positive Energy Activates Constant Elevation

    – People Expressing A Christ Everlasting

    In lifting our Savior and Lord higher and higher there is joy and blessing, a positive energy enwraps us. He elevates us. I believe that uplifting power is the Holy Spirit that applauds our conduct, for Jesus alone is worthy of all our praises.

    “Peace to men on whom his favor rests” is Good News available to all.

    From a personal perspective, I know that His peace is difficult to achieve and hold onto when “I” clouds His glorious presence.

    Best Wishes for a Joyous and Blessed Christmas, Ray

  124. oneg2dblu says:

    bratimus…Don’t we all “in reality” sit at the same children’s table of learning about Him? For even those of us who profess with our words and grand wisdom, really have no place to sit accept where He has made room for us. In His reality, all we know now we only know dimly, no matter how bright we think we are.
    He humbles even the brightest among us, when He says,”I AM!”

  125. phpatato says:

    Gee Bratimus

    I came to the playground to play and there was a real dust storm. Sand was being thrown in the sandbox again. When that happens I much prefer to swing peacefully on the swing.


  126. bubbles says:

    Two years ago when I began visiting and reading this site, the conversation for the most part was pleasant.
    It was like a little adult Sunday School class. Members posted interesting thoughts.

    But for about the past 3 months or so. . . I don’t know. . .I do visit daily and read the posts. There appears to be anger and ukindness amongst some of the posts. It seems like almost every new topic turns into an argument. This is not the same pleasant and loving place as it was two years ago.

    What has happened? and Why??
    Why can’t it be like it used to be?
    It is sad.

  127. phpatato says:

    I agree Bubbles. There seems to be a lot of nitpicking and one-upmanship. People can’t put into writing their thoughts without fear of someone picking it apart or attacking it. It’s like…their my thoughts already!! Get your own and leave mine alone!!! I rarely contribute for that kind of strife intimidates and upsets me but I do stop by.

    I really enjoy what you have to say.

    Be Blessed this Christmas season!


  128. bubbles says:

    Pat, thank you. I concur with your thoughts. I have left this site sad due to the horn locking.

  129. poohpity says:

    Eph 4:2 NLT and James 3:2 NLT

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