Inspirational Image of the Day

G-MM™: Meditation Moment   150318


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Revelation 3:14-22
Message to Laodicea

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”

Notes on the Scripture

The quote from Soren Kierkegaard a few weeks back brought a number of comments: “The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”

His insight connects directly to the angel’s letter to the Church of Laodicea. For those who have not studied Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3 concern seven letters dictated by Christ (through an angel) to seven churches, each of them an actual church of the time (80-100 A.D.).

Many commentators claim that these seven letters correspond to seven ages of the church, ages the world would live through prior to the return of Christ. Furthermore, the first six ages have already passed. In the middle of the 20th century (roughly 1960) we moved into the final age. Christ’s church on earth has become the Church of Laodicea; and one would have to say, at least as regards the Western world, it is a frighteningly accurate characterization of Christianity in the U.S. and Europe.

According to this analysis, Christ will reject those who are “lukewarm.” Translations say that He will “spit us out,” but this is a euphemism; the Greek words mean “vomit you from my mouth.”

Before we go pointing fingers at other people, we must examine ourselves; for the Christian’s first realm of responsibility is always one’s own life. Would I describe my own thoughts, words, and deeds as a boiling cauldron of love for Christ? Not hardly!

What do lukewarm people do? They go to church once a week, sing whatever hymn is to be sung, pray the prayers, and . . . go home to watch football on television. In the words of Isaiah, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Isa. 29:13).

Do we give to the church, to the poor? If we are lukewarm we do give some . . . as long as it does not affect our lifestyle too seriously. (Luke 21:1-4)

Do we hold our tongues so that people will like us better? “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26).

We do not hate our sin; we want to avoid being penalized for our sin! We want to be able to tell ourselves that we are going to heaven when we die; we are saved, we are sealed in the Spirit. What we don’t want to do is change our lives.

It is easy enough to sit and write this; plenty of commentators make the observation. It is a lot harder to do something about it. So, here is a two-part proposal to at least move in the right direction:

First, honestly appreciate the enormity of the actual gulf between the conduct Christ demanded of His followers and our own lives. Which parts of the Bible do I discount for some secular reason — some theology or hermeneutic that tells us that a part of it is wrong — when in reality, I just don’t like what it says?

Second, take one step closer to Christ this week, this day, this hour. Resolve to do one thing to become more like Christ, and do it! We are not going to completely bridge this gap; ultimately, God will have to help us, as He has promised to do. But we don’t have to simply wring our hands; we do not have to be lukewarm about being lukewarm.

It takes time to boil a pot of water; we have to turn the stove knob to High and let the heat do its work over time. Just so, we need to turn up the Holy Spirit in our mind to High, and have faith that it (or He, if you prefer) will transform us from lukewarm to hot.

“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3:18-20).

G-MM™: Meditation Moment   150317


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


1 Corinthians 2:5

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Galatians 3:2-4

2-4 I only want you to tell me one thing: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the Law, or by faith, from hearing and believing the Gospel? Do you really intend to rely on your flesh, which could not begin your salvation, to perfect it? It would be insanity. Would you simply throw away the benefits of the tribulation you have suffered?

Galatians 3

About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.

It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.

The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..

Notes on the Scripture
Implied or Inferred? (Galatians #26)
The Curse of Inference

The Word of God is immortal, inerrant, timeless truth. The thoughts of human beings are not only inherently faulty, but also distorted by a wide range of factors: self-interest, bias, conformity to culture, emotion, etc. How, then, can we know God’s Word? When we read the Bible, we have thoughts about it; and in fact, human interpretation of some sort is required, or we could not read or understand it at all. How can we read God’s Word as He intended us to read it, distorting it as little as possible?

Today we are going to look at one tool that helps enormously: thoroughly understanding the differenceThis goes way beyond the scope of these notes, but it has to be said: There are several very different definitions of inference. In the stringent academic discipline of logic, “inference” means something entirely different from the way we use it in hermeneutics. In logic, it means a correct and necessary truth that follows from previous statements, i.e., it is identical to what we call “implication”. We are using inference in the sense that cognitive psychology uses it; logisticians would call this “inductive inference”. If this interests you, check out Wikipedia’s article on inference. between “implyImply: to suggest something without saying or showing it plainly.” and “inferInfer: to draw conclusions that are not explicit in what is said.”. It takes some effort to grasp, and even more effort to apply, but the rewards are commensurate to the effort. I promise!

I want to use “imply” and in the narrow sense of a “necessary implication.” That is, when interpreting the Bible, an implication must be intentional and, therefore, must be provable by reference to something in the Bible itself. Here is a valid implication: Jesus says sin leads to death. Jesus says that adultery is a sin. The Bible therefore implies that adultery will lead to death.

If an unstated meaning is supplied by the reader, not the book, the reader infers the unstated meaning; the book does not imply it.

Drawing inferences is one of the primary means by which people distort the Bible. When we hear somebody say “this passage implies such and such,” it raises a red flag. Almost invariably what follows is actually an inference the commentator supplies from his own mind: what he wants the Bible to say, or even what he thinks the Bible says, when it does not say that at all.

An inference made by a human being, reading the Bible, is not the Word of God; it is the product of the reader’s mind. He usually does not even realize it; most people have great difficultyPost-structural hermeneutics actually teaches that a text has no meaning except the meaning supplied by the reader, and there is some limited truth to it. But, generally, they are wrong. distinguishing what the Bible says and what their mind adds or subtracts to it.

This is a serious matter. In Galatians 1:6-8, for example, Paul calls a gospel that has been distorted by human additions “anathema” — accursed. (And he probably means that the teacher of such a gospel is accursed, as well.) If this is still unclear to you, an example is provided on the Community page.

We can only say, properly speaking, that the Bible implies something if we can prove the implication by reference to another part of the Bible. The Bible, remember, is the Word of God. It is thus, itself, the only source that can be used to interpret it (unless one is convinced that there has been God-inspired prophecy since the last words of Revelation were written).

The technical term for correctly interpreting the Bible, by reference only to itself, is “exegesis”, which literally means “to bring out.” We correctly take meaning out of the Bible. The opposite term, “eisegesis,” means loosely “to read into.” It is a good term, if you can remember the word, because most people understand what “reading something into” a statement means.
The Importance of Genre

Once we have firmly fixed the difference between implied and inferred meaning, and grasp the dangers of the latter, we can back up just a bit and pick out passages where inference is proper. Parables, by their nature, require interpretation. Where there is an unexplained parable, we must infer the meaning. (Some, notably the parable of the sower, are explained within the Bible; see Matthew 13:1-23.) Christ told us that there would be people able to understand His parables correctly, and others who would not; and I suppose, we will not know the difference until after we die. But He explicitly gave us permission to draw inferences from His parables.

Prophecy, surprisingly, is not such a genre; because to the degree prophecy contains symbolism we are expected to understand, the New Testament interprets it for us. The one exception would necessarily be Revelation, a prophecy where no opportunity for inspired explanation exists.

The most fertile field for eisegatic interpretation is poetry. Poetry (Psalms and The Song of Solomon) actually encourages us to read meaning into it. Wisdom literature (Job, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs) also invites human interpretation.

But there is a critical distinction between such books and, say, a Gospel or Epistle: eisegetical passages cannot be doctrinal. “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Peter 2:1:21) “All Scripture is inspired by God.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

On Thursday, we will take the rules we have learned and apply them to Paul’s great rhetorical introduction to Galatians 3.

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