Bible-based | Christ-centered | Family-focused | Mission-minded
We live in a truly amazing time! When you consider all the advances in technology, such as the many digital applications we have available to us, it’s simply incredible. For example, we have phones that convert the sound of our voices into a series of ones and zeros, and then transmits them to another phone that converts those numbers back into sounds. How marvelous! Yet, the truth is humanity has been using the sum of numbers for thousands of years in order to accomplish specific tasks. We’re just doing it in a different way today.
There is a spiritual application here, as well. It has to do with the question, “Why do people not understand the Bible, or think that it is too difficult to comprehend?” One of the main reasons is because many simply do not consider everything the Bible has to say on a particular subject. In other words, they don’t add everything up. They are not looking at the total sum of truth.
This is such an important concept to understand! This lack of understanding has caused much confusion throughout the religious world. It has resulted in unbiblical doctrines, forms of organization, worship practices, and even differing plans of salvation. How is this even possible? It happens by picking and choosing verses instead of considering all that the Bible has to say about a subject.
Read Psalm 119:160. However, don’t just read it in the version you always use. Not all versions say it in exactly the same way. Read it in other versions – especially the American Standard (ASV), English Standard (ESV), and the New American Standard (NASB). Notice the word they use, “the sum.” This is a word that has a few different meanings and is always dependent upon context. In this passage, the word “sum” makes the most sense. Literal Translations (like Youngs and LITV) render the word as “sum.” It means, “the total amount of something that exists.” Indeed, every word that proceeds from the mouth of God is true (Matthew 4:4; Titus 1:2). Since all He says is true, then we must be diligent in considering everything He says. Always compare other similar passages on a particular subject.
This is not a difficult concept to grasp! Just like in math, we know how to use numbers. If we add 2 + 5, we know it does not equal 25. The answer is 7! Easy. Then why can’t we do the same with the Bible? Why do we make it so difficult? If God says one thing in a passage and then adds something else in another passage that pertains to the first, doesn’t it stand to reason that we should add them together? We cannot approach the Bible in just any form or manner. This implies we must investigate all of the things the Bible says so we’ll arrive at a correct understanding.
What exactly does it mean “to use the Bible correctly”? First, there are many people who do not “rightly divide the Word” (2 Timothy 2:15) because they take passages out of context and do not consider all that the Bible teaches about the same subject in other places/passages. We must also always keep the context of a passage in mind. We must identify who is speaking, when he spoke, and to whom did he speak. To establish the correct interpretation, we must examine the customs and situations of that era. All of this will help us understand how the Bible applies to us.
As an example, consider the three passages that speak about the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16, and Luke 24:46-48. Luke only mentions repentance. This passage does not mention anything about confession or baptism. Mark mentions belief and baptism. Is repentance unnecessary, since Mark does not mention it? Matthew does not mention belief nor repentance, only baptism. The truth is, all of these passages speak about the same subject. So then, belief, repentance, and baptism are all necessary in obedience. To understand this truth well, you must “add up” ALL of the passages! The Bible is not hard to understand …. as long as you don’t pick and choose!