Vol. 11 No. 4 April 2009
Many are the Christians who have purposely departed denominationalism for the one, true church of the Bible—and we refuse to go back into apostasy! However, aside from biblical interpretation, one could neither recognize the one true church of the Bible (the church for which Jesus Christ died to establish, Acts 20:28, and over which He is Head, Colossians 1:18) nor be aware of denominational or other world religion counterfeits. Fortunately, fundamental biblical interpretation is no more difficult than conversation (communication) between children. Yes, some aspects of the Word of God are more difficult to comprehend than some other passages (2 Peter 3:16), but the basic biblical instruction in the New Testament for salvation, Christian worship and Christian service are not complicated. In other words, God chose to use the mechanism of communication between humans (even between children) to communicate His will to mankind through the Bible. Consequently, Christians can know that they know that they are the children of God (1 John 2:3), because God’s Word is discernible and we can conform to it. (This conformity is not sinless perfection or earned salvation, but it is nonetheless obedience, which saves according to Hebrews 5:8-9, and which unleashes the grace [Ephesians 2:8] and mercy of God [Titus 3:5].)
Some Christians, though, do return into the darkened world of sin (2 Peter 2:20-22). While some slip away unintentionally (1 Peter 2:25), others purposefully turn from Gospel truth (Romans 16:17-18; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 1 Peter 2:1) because they are offended at the truth (Matthew 11:6; 13:21). “Most often, digression from truth does not just happen; it is part of a planned agenda” (Anderson 3). We must take special care not to become ashamed of the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:8; Luke 9:26); becoming ashamed of the Gospel of Christ is the beginning of one’s downward, spiritual spiral.
Lamentably, opponents of correct biblical interpretation lambaste faithful Christians for taking God at His word in the Gospel or New Testament. One of the key lightning rods for digression is worshipful music in Christian worship.
Although opponents are ridiculed for their narrow thinking, change leaders stress the need for unity and ask their members not to be judgmental of others. Even so, blame is subtly directed toward those who favor a cappella singing. Persuasive sermons are preached on the need for change, and many members become convinced. The elders explain how carefully they studied the issue of instrumental music in worship and engaged in lengthy periods of prayer. With the influence of both the pulpit and the elders, the congregation is persuaded to believe that God has led them to this conclusion. Such is the strategy for apostasy. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 NKJV). (Anderson 3)
Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, among other similar passages, still say what they say and still mean what they mean after all the dust of digressive confusion settles. The Bible was never intended to be subject to different interpretation than what God expected the original recipients to understand and do (2 Peter 1:20). Contradictory interpretations to what God expected the original recipients of divine revelation to understand amount to adding to and taking from the inspired Word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19).
Some things can be known, and those things from God’s Word are (eternally) important. To malign a brother or sister who acknowledges the validity of biblical interpretation is contradictory in principle to such an assertion as well as defamatory, too. “Let it be emphasized that it is one of the worst of misrepresentations to charge someone with claiming to be infallible just because he claims to know one, or two or three or more things. Unless the men involved are unmitigated skeptics and/or radical agnostics, then they themselves claim to know at least a few things” (Warren, “Logic” 58). God’s Word is much more than a collection of love letters or poems from God, the weight of which love letters and poems is wispy and without practical significance. The words that are divine in origin will judge each of us in the last day (John 12:48).
Can we know how to become the children of God in this age? Can we know how God wants to be worshipped? Can we know how God wants us to live our lives? Can we know how God wants us to serve Him while we are on earth? Has God not left us sufficient instructions to answer these questions with certainty? Has God not made mankind sufficiently able to understand divine revelation respecting these matters just mentioned? Does it matter if mankind prepares to meet God in Final Judgment (Amos 4:12)? Answering, “Yes,” to any of these questions also affirms that biblical interpretation (biblical hermeneutics) is critical to conversion to Christ, as well as critical to Christian living, Christian service and Christian worship.
Anderson, Neil W. “A Strategy for Apostasy.” Gospel Advocate. June 2008. 150:6, 3.
Warren, Thomas B. Logic and the Bible. Jonesboro: National Christian P., 1984.
John, the beloved apostle wrote, by inspiration, to set forth the solid case proving the Deity and Sonship of Jesus Christ (cf. John 20:30-31). Believing in Who Jesus really is and Who He claimed to be is foundational for salvation and life in Him (John 8:24). While John was guided by the Holy Spirit to write his inspired account of the Gospel (2 Peter 1:20-21), he recorded seven statements by Jesus, the first of which we will consider in this article, which certainly points to His divinity and deity.
The day after (cf. John 6:22) Jesus miraculously fed the multitude with five barley loaves and two small fishes (cf. John 6:9ff), the intrigued group sought Jesus all the more. Now these seekers were not sincerely groping for Christ because of Who He was, but rather they were longing for the physical bread that filled their bellies (cf. John 6:26). Jesus continues by exhorting these would-be disciples to toil for spiritual food that only Christ can give (cf. John 6:27ff). The multitude then asks for a sign, while referring to the manna that their fathers were given in the wilderness so many centuries before (cf. John 6:30-31). This multitude obviously had physical bread in mind while Jesus was speaking of the spiritual bread of heaven (cf. John 6:32-34). The point is made crystal clear when “Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). What an awesome, overwhelming affirmation as to Whom Jesus really is.
First, the bread of life is PLEASING.When we truly come to Jesus, He satisfies and pleases our spiritual hunger. While mankind constantly tries prosperity, prestige and pleasure as would-be sources for satisfaction and fulfillment, spiritual hunger can only be satisfied by Jesus and His Word (cf. Matthew 4:4)! Certainly the Patriarch of old knew this, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Is there any wonder why Jesus would say, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Jesus, the Bread of life, exclusively pleases the spiritual hunger of mankind.
Secondly, the bread of life is PERMANENT. Until one’s spiritual hunger is fulfilled by Jesus, he can never be truly content in life (cf. Ecclesiastes1:2, 14; 2:11; et al). The manna that came down from heaven in the Old Testament was temporary and only lasted a relatively short amount of time. However, in contrast, when we consume Jesus, our hunger is fulfilled and satisfied permanently; note, “…he that cometh to me shall never hunger…”
Sadly, many never enjoy the pleasing and permanent Bread of life, because they are too busy “piecing” at other things. We often go about day-by-day trying to satisfy the void within our souls with worldly crumbs, while the Bread of Life is waiting to fulfill and nourish the souls of honest and true seekers (cf. Revelation 3:20). Dear Friend, seek Him, find Him and consume Him, and you too will be permanently pleased, for truly Jesus is “The Bread of Life!”