Bible-quoters don't fully understand

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There seems to be an increase in attacks on the Bible as indicated in some recent letters to the editor.

The Bible is a book of history; a guidebook to live by; and, finally, God's written Word to the world. It is no wonder that many people cannot properly understand the Bible because it is a complex book and requires much study, even by those who love it. However, the primary reason many people cannot understand the Bible is that it is God's Word, and as such cannot be fully understood by the natural man.

Therefore, most people who want to use the Bible to support their points of view or to criticize the Bible are limited to just a few Scriptures that they think they understand. In most cases these Scriptures are not understood, and therefore taken out of context.

Throughout the Old and New Testament books of the Bible, the underlying theme is that Jesus Christ was the Messiah who was promised for the redemption of mankind. So if anyone wants to really understand the Bible, they must get to know Jesus Christ first. How do you do this? Find a church that has a pastor who preaches the sound doctrine of salvation as found in the Bible.

Tim Austin

Hephzibah

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datarelease
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datarelease 08/20/10 - 10:59 pm
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You know God's not real,

You know God's not real, right?

psychologyseniorusc
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psychologyseniorusc 08/20/10 - 11:05 pm
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I agree, if one is to use

I agree, if one is to use scripture to condemn others selectively, they should look at other scriptures they ignore. If you are obsese, or overweight, 55% of Americans, you are in sin. If you divorce, over 50% of Americans, you are in sin. If you covet and do not pay debts, over 43% of Americans, you are in sin. The focus seems to be on the misunderstanding of committed, wonderful, people who make more money than their peers, who are more educated, and who contribute more to society, ( gay people), that they are inferior to hetero, divorced, cheating, fat , ugly people. God does not think so. See you at the Gates!!!

palmetto1007
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palmetto1007 08/20/10 - 11:43 pm
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Well, this letter makes

Well, this letter makes things crystal clear for me. Is it the heat??

palmetto1007
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palmetto1007 08/21/10 - 12:21 am
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Are these really "real"

Are these really "real" letters to the editor...or does the Chronicle make them up like the Dear...whoever columns??

GGpap
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GGpap 08/21/10 - 01:45 am
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The author has given us the

The author has given us the standard, and most asinine, explanation for just about anything a christian wishes to foist off as the "absolute" and "final" truth when trying to support any untenable pronouncement they posit..."it is God's Word, and as such cannot be fully understood by the natural man."

Mr. Austin, when you refer to the "natural man" are you writing about those of us that now walk upright and no longer drag our knuckles on the ground as we move forward in life? Or are you referring to the few that still seem to be still locked in the centuries when those "Book/s" you cherish were originally written by those more closely related to Neanderthals?

GGpap

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 08/21/10 - 04:13 am
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To tell whether a teaching is

To tell whether a teaching is from God, we must want to do God's will, according to what Jesus said in John 7:17. Distinguishing true teachings from false is not the same as understanding the teachings. If we couldn't understand the teachings, we wouldn't be accountable to obey them.

psychologyseniorusc's post illustrates my point. This poster understands the biblical teachings well enough to recognize how selective some Bible-believers have been in using them, as when an obviously gluttonous preacher denounces all sins except gluttony.

The poster's understanding makes the poster accountable, even if the poster considers the Bible baloney and thinks its supporters are acting out of jealousy toward more successful, better educated gays.

The poster is wrong to use the word "condemn" in this statement: "I agree, if one is to use scripture to condemn others selectively, they should look at other scriptures they ignore." Bible-believers don't condemn: they warn. They do this in the hope that the people warned will repent in time to avoid condemnation on the last day. The sins warned about, including obesity as well as homosexuality, are forgiveable if people will confess them, repent of them, and trust in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 08/21/10 - 04:28 am
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"Mr. Austin, when you refer

"Mr. Austin, when you refer to the "natural man" are you writing about those of us that now walk upright and no longer drag our knuckles on the ground as we move forward in life? Or are you referring to the few that still seem to be still locked in the centuries when those "Book/s" you cherish were originally written by those more closely related to Neanderthals?" (GGap).

I think the letter writer was referring to the phrase "natural man" in 1 Corinthians 2:14: "But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God's Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually" (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 08/21/10 - 05:14 am
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PsychSenior, you illustrate

PsychSenior, you illustrate the point of the LTE. You seem to know just enough about the Bible to get it all messed up. You are correct that the world is full of imperfect people who have fallen short of God's standard, which is very clearly delineated for us in the Bible. We are all sinners. None are perfect. Join the club.

No one has ever said that homosexuals are "inferior", or that homosexuality is a worse sin than adultery, gluttony, or stealing. The problem is when people fail to recognize that sin is sin, no matter how you try and wrap it up with pretty paper and tie a big bow on it. Just because any one group is more educated, more wonderful, more committed, and contributes more to society (in your opinion) does not make that group any less sinful than another.

You are trying to justify disobedience to God by making sin relative. Sin is not relative; it is absolute. If you disobey God, you have sinned and will receive condemnation for that sin (and no, you cannot ignore the fact that the New Testament condemns the homosexual lifestyle as a sin against God).

So, we're all in the same boat: adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, murders, etc. None of us are good, and no amount of "good works" will allow us to enter the Gates, as you say. Only one thing gets us in: Jesus Christ. There is forgiveness and love in Christ. He is God's "get out of jail free" card, so to speak -- free for us, very costly for Him.

The point is not about being less a sinner than another person; the point is about being forgiven or not. I'd much rather be a forgiven, repentant, former homosexual than an unrepentant heterosexual adulterer. It's not about the sin; it's about whether Christ has taken away the penalty of that sin from your life.

That's the message of the Bible, but is one that often gets distorted when people who don't have a solid understanding try to tell us "What the Bible says." They really can't, because they just don't have the understanding. I think that's what Mr. Austin was trying to convey, and he's right. Again, not to be mean, but your response simply illustrates his point very well.

psychologyseniorusc
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psychologyseniorusc 08/21/10 - 05:46 am
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according to God and the

according to God and the scripture, any woman who has had sex before marriage to any man should be taken to the town square and stoned to death. that would get rid of half of the women in augusta.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 08/21/10 - 06:41 am
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Psycho has proven the point

Psycho has proven the point of the letter writer ONCE again. He/she missed the point about how accepting Jesus as your savior and confessing your sins will get you forgiveness for those sins. He/she just plucks out the part that fits his/her agenda.

chasboy
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chasboy 08/21/10 - 07:21 am
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Being a natural man I guess

Being a natural man I guess there is no hope for me ever understanding the Bible.
Why would God write a book that no one can understand?

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 08/21/10 - 07:24 am
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I just love the different
Unpublished

I just love the different versions of the bible- especially their ability to re-write it to sound the way they want it to sound when there's something they don't like.

So crates
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So crates 08/21/10 - 07:30 am
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I find that studying history

I find that studying history relieves people of the burden of perpetuating misinformation such as this author is promotes. Other people were alive during the fictions, political mechinations, and delusional ravings of the bible, and their history presents an alternate reality. The good news is that this information is available to all who seek it. Once you know the truth it will never leave you. You will be saved from constantly having to construct reality to fit whatever level of understanding of the bible you have.

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 08/21/10 - 07:37 am
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I find it interesting how

I find it interesting how condescending and rude some atheists are to those who don't follow THEIR chosen religion, such as calling them "delusional" and their beliefs "fictional."

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 08/21/10 - 07:41 am
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Chasboy, you CAN understand

Chasboy, you CAN understand the Bible. That's the beauty of it. But, it is something that takes time and commitment -- not just an occasional read, which is the method so many prefer. A little knowledge of the Bible just leads to confusion. That's not uncommon for any field of study, but is especially true of the Bible. The basics of the Bible are such that even small children can understand; but the deep truths are such that some of the greatest minds through the centuries have never fully comprehended them.

The Bible tells us that a solid understanding of the Bible only comes with the assistance of God -- through the guidance of His Holy Spirit. If you honestly seek to study and understand it, and ask for His help, you'll find comprehension much easier. It's a book that demands the reader employ both head and heart. That's the only way to really get a handle on it.

Don't be confused by so many who post on here and what they say. Never have so many who know so little said so much with such presumed authority.

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 08/21/10 - 07:48 am
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Trukin, there is only one

Trukin, there is only one "version" of the Bible, and that's the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts (of which we have many). Every "version" we have today is a translation or paraphrase of the old manuscripts. Bear in mind that there's no 2 translations exactly alike. You'll get some minor variation among them, but that's OK and is expected. But, if a translation is true to the original language, you'll not find any significant discrepancies. Some "translations" purposefully alter their "Bible" to change important doctrines (see the Jehovah's Witness New World Translation as a distorted example of the original languages). But, you can easily spot errors by simply getting a Hebrew or Greek dictionary (available in any Christian bookstore) and checking the translation of certain words. It's not hard to verify accuracy.

soldout
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soldout 08/21/10 - 07:50 am
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The life of an atheist must

The life of an atheist must not be an easy one. Seeing creation and hoping there is no creator. Everyday their faith is attacked by a book and views that have stood the test of time. Everyday they have to believe they are the smartest. This stress results in anger and name calling. You can have that lifestyle but most will choose peace, joy and the security of being loved by the creator of the universe who will direct their path and give them life that satisfies. By the way, that right to not beleive in God is a God given right as He wants people to love Him that choose to do that.

Doanyofyouread
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Doanyofyouread 08/21/10 - 07:51 am
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It is so interesting to see

It is so interesting to see the utter hatred for a book that has been venerated by so many for so long. I am always saddened to read the supposedly informed writing of some people. I would beg to guess that most of you have never read it. I would also guess that you have only read one side of that debate. There are plenty of academics who love to bash the Bible/Christians, who wouldn't. It is a very lucrative position to take, and frankly, no matter the evidence on the side of Christian academia does not let you survive with a true belief in Christianity. The problem is that if you believe in truth (which by the way, if you know the rules of logic is inevitable) people find you to be intolerant. We all really believe in truth and know that there is only one truth. The question becomes "who has it right?" That is the nature of truth. The Bible actually has excellent proof of it's accuracy. Read both sides of that debate and you will see that the atheist side lacks heavily in real evidence. I have read this, and with a heavy graduate science degree, believe wholeheartedly in its accuracy and relevance. By the way, ask evolution scientists about their proof for the evolution of man. The last quote I read was that they now say the fossil record is not really that important to prove evolution. According to evolutionists, neandertals "may not even be considered in modern human line anymore" thanks to the racial implications and some suspect carbon dating. It is a theory and more recently become a religion of its own. Find out for yourselves what the academic community is hiding/falsifying to pad their wallets with fat grants. We Christians are just now learning we better have good proof of our own. Expect more of your Christian friends in the future.

So crates
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So crates 08/21/10 - 07:52 am
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Tigger, if there are multiple

Tigger, if there are multiple alternate facts that lie ouside of the bible which clearly demonstrate that it's early books a biased recording of history irrespective of any religious consideration, then the bible is, at the very least in part, a work of fiction. If the old testament is fiction, then it undercuts the support required of it by the new testament. Thus, anyone who believes in the new testament is not only mistaken, but, given all the magic and hoopla attested to, is, in fact, simply delusional. I apologize if correct use of language is also offfensive. I have been warned by the AC that it is insulting to use English and that I should be politically correct. Therefore, so that your feelings are not hurt, I will say that MAYBE there is some question to the bible and perhaps SOME readers may have misattributed something or other nonspecific (and certainly not in any way indicative of reduced mental capability).

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 08/21/10 - 07:53 am
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Soldout, isn't is amazing

Soldout, isn't is amazing that God respects us so much as individuals that He gives us the "right" to stare Him right in the face and tell Him that He does not exist? How that must grieve Him. Yet, He never shoves Himself down anyone's throat. He's patient, hoping that all will eventually come to the truth -- before it's too late.....

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 08/21/10 - 07:54 am
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SoCrates, can you please give

SoCrates, can you please give some specific examples of where the NT is obviously just fiction?

Tigger_The_Tiger
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Tigger_The_Tiger 08/21/10 - 07:58 am
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Way to show respect and

Way to show respect and tolerance for those who practice a different religion than you, so crates.

soldout
1283
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soldout 08/21/10 - 07:58 am
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Good word howcanweknow. He

Good word howcanweknow. He is a good God all the time.

TheFederalist
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TheFederalist 08/21/10 - 08:04 am
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Someday, God willing,

Someday, God willing, everyone will stop pontificating and trying to impress everyone with their bloated sense of posting prowess, and come to understand this one simple truth. For non believers, no amount of discourse or brilliant debate is ever going to be enough to convince them, and for true believers, none is required.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 08/21/10 - 08:22 am
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Problem with those who argue

Problem with those who argue against the historicity of the NT is that they forget that most all of the important facts were corroborated by secular (SECULAR) historians. In fact, you can reconstruct so much, if not all, of the important events in the life of Christ by reading Tacitus, Pliny, Josephus, and many other contemporary historians -- people who were NOT Christians, and who therefore were writing with no bias.

In terms of the NT itself, it was written and circulated among eyewitnesses (or those who personally knew eyewitnesses) to the events described. We have no records of any contemporary sources discounting the NT writings. Instead, we have numerous historical details provided that were too easily verifiable or disputable. For example, Luke (an educated physician) was a meticulous historian who included historical personages and places in his accounts (Luke and Acts). If Luke was trying to "pull the wool over our eyes", why in the world would he made the truth of his writings far too easy to verify against known historical facts?

Lastly, the writers of the NT and most all the early disciples were martyred. They gave their lives to verify the veracity of their claims. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not going to die for a lie. No way. You get very truthful indeed at the point of a sword or at the foot of a cross. But, they chose to die rather than deny the truth of what they spoke and wrote.

I have much more faith in their blood than in the opinions of some "scholar", a good 2000 years removed from the actual events, who now claims to know so much more than the original eyewitnesses!

howcanweknow
2307
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howcanweknow 08/21/10 - 08:16 am
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I agree, Federalist. But, the

I agree, Federalist. But, the Bible does tells us to be be ready to explain the rational basis for Christianity to any who asks (I Peter 3:15). It's very difficult to read the drive-by comments of those who really don't know much about the Bible, and not try to point out the simple truths they've never taken the time to investigate for themselves.

So crates
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So crates 08/21/10 - 08:52 am
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No, I can't How. But you

No, I can't How.
But you can.

Syallabus to So Crates 101

I always recommend people begin with Karen Armstrong for an understanding of the history, Joseph Campbell for an understanding of the myth, Aristotle and Plato for morals, St. Augustine to understand why you think what you do, and any history of the Roman Catholic Church will simply skin the beliefs off the average protestant (and here you will most likely find the begining details about the bible you ask about). But these suggestions are just the beginning, and made only because they are accessible. Richard Tarnas would come next, because by this time you should begin to respect that the ideas in your head have origins and you will probably want to learn how they came to take rest in your head: something you, until now, believed you had some control over. This means you will have to study science.

To gather a full respect of the effort, you should start anywhere in ancient greece (we are the West, afterall); this has the added effect of informing of more history. But there are politics between science and religion, and to fully understand that you should read biographies of Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Leeuwenhoek, and any prominent Western mind who dared to think prior to 1700. The science is important, but the human story is even more important (I take for granted that you understand these men were correct based on the electricity, cell phone, and medicines you enjoy in your present life).

But this won't be enough. You must understand the effect of technology: releasing the bible on a population who's education and understanding was varied--I refer, of course,to the invention of the printing press. I am referring to the common man getting his hands on the bible. To understand the implications of this you must at least sample all of the philosophy from 1450 until today. There is simply no way around it. Philosophy, of course, argues from the most current science, and many christian scholars were philosophers. This created a lot of trouble and created a lot of the thoughts that you have in your mind today. Suddenly people outside of monastaries were influencing religious thought based on reason --and the message leaked out. And then BOOM!--we entered The Enlightenment. Western Christianity has never fully recovered.

I know. You will say, "But So Crates--still no facts! You're wrong!" This is why I said I cannot give you any facts to disprove the new testament. Another fact you learn from studying the history of ideas is that beliefs are not challenged by facts, only by experience. For this reason I indicated at the very first that only you can provide the facts that will answer the question you have proposed. As long as your only experience is the bible, you will never doubt it. But if the faith is valid, it should fear no level of scrutiny. All I can do for you How, is explain that the information is available--now moreso than ever.

At the very least making an effort to understand this will demonstrate that "evil liberals" do not hate christians. They simply have more perspective on the multiple types of christianity that individuals propose are true.

Doanyofyouread
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Doanyofyouread 08/21/10 - 08:53 am
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Federalist: Sorry, for the

Federalist: Sorry, for the long rant (first post ever). Almost ending up like Socrates at one of our large state institutions has given me an appreciation for the richness of our reasonable faith. I am so tired of being intellectually marginalized and watching children walk away from the faith because of poor apologetics and science in our churches and the semi-educated rants of relativists. They know their side's talking points but have never been forced to study BOTH sides of the issue. It is about some degree of faith for BOTH sides. God save our society from the death of its mind.

So crates
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So crates 08/21/10 - 09:16 am
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I find my faith enriched by

I find my faith enriched by reason, Do, and attempt to provide the skill to others. But yeah, I do drone on.

TheFederalist
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TheFederalist 08/21/10 - 09:17 am
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No problem, but there are

No problem, but there are better venues, IMHO, for trying to change hearts, which are usually done in person, via testimony. Most of the distractors here are just looking for a reason to display their deeply felt bias towards Christianity, that they are all too eager to share. However, welcome to the world of blogging here, and whatever happens, do not let anything posted here dissuade you from clearly stating your beliefs. I too am tired of seeing the base of our faith continue to shrink, but remember that Christ never tried to convince someone to accept the cross, and, imho, he would never enter into contentious debate about the very existence of the Father. In any event, Welcome aboard Doanyofyouread!

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