Walk Circumspectly, Not as Fools, But as Wise

Hermeneutics
Bibliology
Series: Taking Scripture out of Context

“Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15, 16).

I was in a Southern Baptist church one morning when I overheard a businessman tell another man that his religion stopped at the door. If he practiced his “Christian” principles in his business, there was no way he could make it. He was a Sunday saint—or so he thought—and a Monday sinner. Continue reading

By Grace Are You Saved Through Faith and Not of Works

Hermeneutics
Bibliology
Series: Taking Scripture out of Context

“By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

“Not of works” is one of the most common expressions I hear from Calvinists. Historically, it harks back to the dawn of the Protestant Reformation, the five solas, and Martin Luther’s revival of “the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; cf Romans 3:27); but, essentially, it is used to say that we don’t have to do anything ourselves, that Jesus did it all for us. It is the argument for continuing in sin (as if it’s okay to be naughty on God’s playground) and for believing in Eternal Security. Continue reading

Neither Shall Any Man Pluck Them Out of My Hand

Hermeneutics
Bibliology
Series: Taking Scripture out of Context

“I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

John 10 is the chapter where Jesus identifies Himself as “the door of the sheep” (10:7, 9) and “the Good Shepherd” (10:11, 14). The emphasis in the passage is the uniqueness of Jesus: “I AM the door” (10:9) as “I AM the way” (14:6). “By Me if any man enter in, he will be saved” (10:9). “No man comes to the Father, but by Me” (14:6). “I and My Father are one” (10:30). Continue reading

Bait-and-Switch Prayer

Hermeneutics
Bibliology
Series: Taking Scripture out of Context

“What man is there among you, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?” (Matthew 7:9, 10).

“Christians” commonly accuse God of bait-and-switch tactics in answering prayer. They say that God reserves the right to make substitutions, and does. That however a situation falls out, that was God’s answer. Continue reading

God Is Love

Hermeneutics
Bibliology
Series: Taking Scripture out of Context

“God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Have you noticed how many persons end their phone calls these days with “I love you”? It’s kind of silly because if you’ve been behaving the way you should behave, the person already knows; you don’t need to say it. (If you’ve not been behaving the way you should behave, the person knows that too.) True love is not what you say, it’s what you do. Continue reading

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

Hermeneutics
Bibliology
Series: Taking Scripture out of Context

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to men” (Luke 2:14).

Many persons read this verse from the Christmas story and think Jesus came to bring peace to the world, that He disapproves of war and fighting, and that He wants unity, global harmony, and univeral brotherhood. Don’t confuse the biblical idea of peace with the 1960s Peace Movement, the UN quest for peace, or the placidity of someone like Mahatma Gandhi. That is not what the angel was saying. Continue reading

Eye Has Not Seen, Nor Ear Heard

Hermeneutics
Bibliology
Series: Taking Scripture out of Context

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

The first time I heard that scripture misused, I was working for a church periodical; and when I pointed out to the editor that he was corrupting the meaning of the verse, he became flaming angry and my fast enemy. Continue reading