Oct 01

Print this Post


“Oh that is just your interpretation!” And with these words many Bible conversations end, when they should be just starting. It is truly amazing how many conversations end when the magical words are spoken. Hid within the magical words is a fatal error which is generally mis-understood by most who use these magical words. So, what is this fatal error?
The magical words are “your interpretation,” which imply that everyone is entitled to have his own interpretation and this leads to the fatal error. If everyone is entitled to his own interpretation of “truth,” then there is no such thing as truth. This is the fatal error! It may be stated, “One faith is just as good as another.” Or, “Everyone is entitled to his own belief!” Or even, “Who are you to question the faith of another?” Logically, each one of these is saying, there really is no such thing as “One faith;” or there is no such thing as truth! Yet, the apostle Paul wrote in his seven plank-platform of “ones;” just assuredly as there is “One God,” there is “one faith!” (Eph. 4:4-6). This is not one of many interpretations, it is the interpretation! It is the very meaning of the word to interpret: “to explain the meaning of (something); to understand (something) in a specified way” (Merriam-Webster). If one can truthfully interpret the words “there is one faith” to mean there is one thousand faiths, then, he can also interpret the words “there is one God” to mean there is one thousand gods! You see, to interpret, is to reach the “meaning,” the “understanding;” the truth in the meaning of the words spoken or written. If we can do this with “One faith,” why is it so hard for us to do it with the words “one God?” When you read the Bible, what are you reading?
Now, let us take a well-know statement made by Jesus: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). These words have been the subject of many debates, many articles, and many sermons. The words are not hard to understand, for if we just put them in a mathematical form there is no question; there is no debate. Let “believeth” equal “1” and “baptized” equal “2”, making “saved” equal “3.” A beginner in math will have no problem! Now, take the second part of Jesus’ statement: “believeth not” equals “-1, thus, “damned” equal less than “3.” Is it not also true, he that “believeth” which equals “1” and is not “baptized” which equals “-2,” is also less than “saved”, thus, it is not equal to “3!” You see, it matters not which number is removed, be it “1” or “2,” neither by itself can ever equal “3!” So, when you read the Bible, what are you reading?
Here, just for the sake of representing the case fairly, the following quote is given: “Question: “Does Mark 16:16 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?” Answer: As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches through careful consideration of the language and context of the verse. We also filter it through what we know the Bible teaches elsewhere on the subject. In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of any kind, including baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9). So, any interpretation which comes to the conclusion that baptism, or any other act, is necessary for salvation is a faulty interpretation.” First, one simple truth, the New Testament never refers to baptism as a work! Just what is the person being baptized doing, but yielding to “the teaching of Christ?” Second, filtering the subject of baptism through “what we know the Bible teaches elsewhere on the subject,” let us read what Peter wrote: “… eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us …” (1 Pet. 3:20-21). Did the inspired apostle teach that baptism saves? Taking the words of Jesus and the words of Peter, it is clear to the honest reader “that baptism is necessary for salvation!” So, when you read the Bible, what do you read?
Grace is appropriated by means of “the faith” (Eph. 2:8) and within “the faith” are the words of Jesus: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” So, does your faith stand in “the faith” revealed by the Holy Spirit, written in the New Testament, or does it stand in the words of men who reject the words of Jesus? Remember, it is your eternal salvation which is in the balance!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/when-you-read-the-bible-what-are-you-reading-2/