1. Are Christians too Dumb to Understand the Bible?
Must the Bible be Interpreted for Rank and File Christians - by the Leaders of the Church?
“No prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation. . .” 2 Peter 1:20
This Bible phrase is often used - out of context - by the organized church to support the teaching that Scripture must be interpreted by an organization, a committee, or a group of scholars, a “church” and its leaders if you will. No individual, it is taught, can interpret the Scriptures for himself, with just the help of the Lord.
Obviously, this is a self-serving doctrine for the churches in which the pastors, theologians, and Bible scholars have put themselves in the “driver’s seat” and the individual church member must go to the “leaders” for their knowledge and interpretation of the truths of the Bible.
But this text is erroneously translated in the King James version and just about every other version of the Bible.
Following is the literal translation of this passage from the original Greek as found in the Interlinear Bible.
“And we have the more established prophetic word, in which you do well to take heed (as to a lamp shining in a dingy place, until the day dawns and the morning star should be rising) in your hearts;
“Knowing this first, that every prophecy of Scripture did not come into being of its own interpretation;
“For not by the will of man was prophecy carried on at any time, but, holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (God’s breath of holiness).” 2 Peter 1:19-21
This passage tells us plainly that prophecy is from God and not from man - as God’s spirit moved on the hearts of the Bible writers.
This passage is not discussing the assumed need for supposedly educated and erudite “leaders” of the organized church to explain the meaning of the Bible to the “unwashed herd” of rank and file Christians.
On the contrary, the point of the passage is that prophecy and the whole Bible - is from God NOT man and God moved by His spirit on the hearts of holy men to whom God spoke, to write the various books of the Bible.
In fact, the Bible clearly states that God/Jesus Christ is our Teacher.
"These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." 1 John 2:26,27
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, without finding fault; and it shall be given him." John 1:5
In ways such as this, the organized church becomes a major hindrance to a member finding God because the church demands that everyone think like the church leaders think, and believe what the church leaders believe. This discourages independent study and independent thinking, and the “church” ends up being dumbed-down, the same thing that is happening in the schools.
The Bible says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God. . .” 2 Timothy 2:15
It is diligent, daily Bible study and prayer, alone in our room just us and God that puts us in a position to know God, up close and personal.
2. “All Israel Shall be Saved.” Romans 11:26
ALL Israel shall be saved! That is true!
But WHO is “Israel”?
As we have studied, “Israel” is the Spiritual name given to Jacob, after Jacob gave up his life of deceit and fraud and finally became upright and God-fearing. He became “one” with God and man. He learned to know God and live a righteous life, so God changed His name to “Israel” which means “prince of God” or “at one with God and man.”
The offspring of Jacob, and those who worshiped the God of Jacob (who was now re-named “Israel”), also became known as “Israel” (the nation) or “Israelites.” But their genes did NOT change. They did not become a particular ethnicity. They did NOT become “Jews”! The name “Israel” is a Spiritual name. It denotes a change in the HEART NOT a change in the “genes!”
“There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” Romans 11:26
The “Deliverer out of Zion” is God in the form of Jesus Christ, Who, indeed, “took away the ungodliness from Jacob.”
The Bible says the following:
“Now in Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith NOT, And to seeds, as of many: but as of one, And to they seed, with is Christ. .
And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:16,29
Paul, the author of Galatians, is very clear that the “seed of Abraham” and thus the “seed of Abraham’s son and grandson, Isaac and Jacob, respectively, are those who are Spiritually “in Christ” the true believers in Jesus Christ. This is the true “Israel” of the Bible.
So when the Bible says, “All Israel will be saved,” it is not speaking of today’s Jews. Far from it! The vast majority of Jews do NOT believe in Jesus Christ. The Bible is, in fact, speaking of “Israel” as the true followers Jesus Christ.
An appropriate translation of Romans 11:26 would be:
“All the true followers of Jesus Christ will be saved.”
3. Are We Justified by Faith or Works?
“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified. . .” James 2:25
One of the main premises of the Protestant Reformation is that we are justified by faith not by works yet James 2:25 tells us that “by works a man is justified. . .”
Every Christian claims to “believe.” But what does that really mean? What does he or she believe?
Christians believe that Jesus died for their sins so “we don’t have to die” but, in spiritual terms, they don’t believe much else. If one truly believes, his actions will correspond to that belief.
If a person says that he believes God’s promise to “heal all our diseases” Psalm 103:3) IF we “follow His laws, commandments, and decrees” yet goes to the doctor for his healing, he is clearly demonstrating that he does NOT believe God’s promise of healing.
If a person believes God’s promise that He will be with us through trouble, yet that person decides to participate in self-defense with the potential of killing or maiming another individual, that person does NOT believe.
If a person worries himself sick over finances when things are beyond his control, he is not believing in or trusting God, because God promises to “supply all our needs.”
The Greek word pistis (#4102 in Strong’s Concordance) is translated faith, belief and trust, by the decision of the translators. They are all the same word in the Greek.
“Faith without works is dead.” James 2:17
Faith without the actions that correspond to that faith, is useless. A Christian can claim he has faith, but if his actions do not correspond to that faith, he is deluding himself. He may call himself a believer, but he does NOT believe.
4. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.” Psalm 121:1
God repeatedly told the kings of Israel and Judah to tear down the “high places” the groves on high hills where the Israelites had built alters to pagan gods. Over eighty-five times in the Old Testament, God spoke of His abhorrence of this pagan ritual practiced by the wayward Israelites. Below are just three of the numerous texts in which God revealed His displeasure against Israel’s sin of pagan idolatry.
“And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.” Lev 26:30
“Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places.” Numbers 33:52
‘And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as [did] the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger.” 2 Kings 17:11
Would the author of Psalms believe that “his help” would come from the “hills” where the Israelites built alters to pagan gods, places that God abhorred? It seems highly unlikely.
Then what does this text mean?
Let’s look at the passage again, adding the second verse from the King James Version:
“ I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
“My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2
We know that the Bible was originally written without verses, or even punctuation no periods and no question marks.
This passage sounds much more like a question followed by its author’s own answer, as in the following:
“Will I lift up mine eyes unto the hills? From whence cometh my help?
“My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”
It is interesting that even in the Hebrew/English Interlinear Bible, a question mark has been placed after the word help in the second phrase. And that would be correct.
The author of this text in Psalms is challenging the idolatrous custom of looking to the “hills” for help from pagan gods. He is stating that he will not do that because his help comes from the Lord.
Again, the translators have apparently missed the essence of the truth of the Word of God. By their erroneous translation, either purposely or inadvertently, the Bible translators have endorsed pagan worship.