I am not a fan of text messaging. In this day and age, it’s almost a laughable or heretical statement, but it’s true. Part of the reason I dislike it so much, and I know I’m not the only one here, is because I do not know how many times I’ve misread, or read too much in to messages that have been sent to me. That is, the Author’s original intent versus what I read in to it, were two different things! And, truly, I don’t know how many times my own messages have been misinterpreted. And why? Because, depending on the person, personalities, or current circumstances, or my own opinions have caused me to read more (or less) in a text message than was there or intended.
Don’t we approach Scripture in much the same way? We approach it based on our traditions, or the doctrines of our own particular congregation, or how we were raised, or how we want to interpret it. In other words, we approach scripture with a preconceived notion, and if those notions are challenged, we find a way to make the text of Scripture say what we want it to say. This is a dangerous place! It’s called “eisegesis,” and it means that we place value or meaning in to scripture to support our own positions, as opposed to exegesis, which is drawing the authors’ original intent out of the passages.
When it comes to scripture, your opinion, and mine does not matter (and, for that matter, we need to stop saying things like “it’s up for interpretation,” or “that’s your opinion,” especially because we use those statements to justify our stances and opinions, rather than scripture!). God does not change. His word does not change, and we have tens of thousands of manuscripts for both the Old and New Testaments that can prove this is the case from antiquity to today! If our doctrine is challenged by scripture, or our opinions, or our lifestyle, or our culture, or any other belief we hold on to, it is not scripture that needs to change, but our own minds!
We need to be changed as we are challenged by the rod of God and seek to be conformed to His image, instead of warring against God to get Him to conform to ours. Jesus didn’t live, die, and rise again to make us better versions of ourselves. He lived perfectly according to all of God’s WORD, died on a cross in accordance with the Scriptures, and rose again on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures. He didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. And if this is what the Scriptures (and Himself) say about Him, then we, like Him, need to conform to what the Word says, and not listen to what the world says.
Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. I am severely afflicted; give me life, O LORD, according to your word! Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD, and teach me your rules. I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts. Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.
2 Timothy 3:1-17
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.