I posted this comment on a particular ongoing topic and decided to see what information I could get from you regarding it.
If I find a contradiction in the Bible, it means that I haven't studied the Bible properly to find all the parts of the statement. The contradiction is in me, not in what the Bible says. We often don't read an entire statement that the Bible makes and are misled by the portion that we have read.
The Bible is alive and being alive, it requires us to act. There are many occasions when God says I will (promise) IF(required action by us). Most every blessing in the Bible is conditioned with an action by us. Christ was given to us but certain things had to happen first. John Baptist had to be here to introduce Him. That required prayer on the part of his parents. There had to be people living on earth who would accept Him (Christ). Judas had to betray Christ. Or, at least, someone had to in order to bring His sacrifice into being. Peter spoke through Christ, healing on the man sitting at the gate but the man had to accept the healing. The disciples accepted Christ's invitation to follow Him and they did it immediately. However, there was one invitation extended that wasn't accepted until the man had buried his parents. That was more or less withdrawn by Christ. (at least for that moment.)
The man plowing who looks back isn't fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. This isn't saying the man will never be fit...it means that he isn't ready at that moment. On the other hand, Lot's wife was told not to look back on the destruction of Sodom...but she did. The consequences were immediate.
The Bible holds so many instructions that will bring us joy and peace IF we will read and study them in the context of which they were written.
My main question is: are we reading past the word *if*? Are we understanding that action is required to obtain the results that we are striving for?
Indeed, you make some terrific points here about getting past "if," and there's much to unpack here.
You said something in your post that struck a note with me.
2) who the intended audience is;
I consider the audience in many verses I read but I also consider that God wants this verse implanted within Rita. God gave us this *living book* to help each of us grow. When I am reading it, I try to absorb it as a Word given directly to me by God. I read, pray about it, and read it some more. The Holy Spirit, at some point will give me the answer. I believe many receive knowledge found in the Word in this manner.
The point is that it is revealed to many *audiences*, many who require the knowledge for a different purpose. I believe that is why we see some things differently from others who receive the same knowledge. We have a different need. We have a different question to be answered, but the same verse will answer many different questions for many different people. The result is a disagreement as to what the verse means.
I believe the correct way to approach the understanding of a verse is to keep what the Spirit has led us to know *without discarding as unbelievable what another is led to know*. I believe that is where the Christian Community is being led astray....by not giving credence to what another has learned by reading the same verse. We need not discredit the relationship that another person has with the Lord. We need to keep in mind that we aren't all alike and that we don't have the identical answer for the same question. If we can consider all questions about a verse and all the different answers the Holy Spirit gives to the same verse, we have a much deeper understanding of the verse overall.
I try to remember that the answer you have received might not match mine but that the Holy Spirit has a relationship with you, as well as me, and that I need to consider your answer as valid.
God wants us to be in harmony and I believe we can be, through the ability to understand the different audiences and the different answers that these audiences receive.
Blessings to you.....
There's much truth in your comments about church-splitting. Sometimes breakups occur over major doctrinal differences and at other times over relatively minor issues, such as music preferences.
Often, we let our pride get in the way, particularly when we "major in the minors and minor in the majors" with respect to our Christian faith.
In other words, we sometimes tend to dwell on the differences on secondary (non-salvific) matters, emphasizing the denominational distinctives that set us apart, instead of on the core essentials that unite us as members of the Body of Christ, which are centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ and the God of the Holy Bible.
Faith, hope and love,
In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and, in everything else, charity.
Im afraid I would be one of the complainers. sooorrrryy. If I was a member of a church amd the then the praise and worship music changed so drastic and they had the attitude as saying hey old people if you dont like it theres the door Well then i would pick up my bible and find another church. Someewhere i think here on the forums I read where some older people were moved out of the santuary because of the loudness. Thats sad to me. Music? The grandmas and grandpas? Its out you go people. I can nderstand why some may get upset. Churches around here have younger generation groups to where its the same church just different sides of the building Dont hurt me.....
I believe the correct way to approach the understanding of a verse is to keep what the Spirit has led us to know *without discarding as unbelievable what another is led to know*. ...
We need to keep in mind that we aren't all alike and that we don't have the identical answer for the same question. If we can consider all questions about a verse and all the different answers the Holy Spirit gives to the same verse, we have a much deeper understanding of the verse overall.
Faith, hope and love,
If, then statements are conditional. In logic, by definition, a conditional is “a compound statement formed by combining two sentences (or facts) using the words 'if ... then.' A conditional can also be called an implication.”
Those who remember high school geometry are aware of this. The truth values for if, then statements are relative in the world. Here’s an example.
A teacher may tell a student, "If you participate in class, then you will get extra points." When is the teacher’s statement true? When both parts of the statement are true.
If the student participates but does not get extra points, then the teacher made a false statement.
However, if the student chooses not to participate, then the truth of the statement can’t be judged simply because the teacher didn’t say she wouldn’t give extra points anyway. She might have pity on a bashful student and assign extra points as a favor. Yet, even in that case, we can’t say the teacher’s statement is false, so we wouldn't accuse the teacher of lying and would still believe the statement as being true for all those students who did choose to participate.
Therefore, the conditional statement "If you participate in class, then you will get extra points" will be true in all cases except one: when you participate in class and you do NOT get the extra points.
With the Bible, we know that God will always remain true to His Word and will always do what He says He will do, even when it comes to conditional statements. When we choose not to keep the “if” part of the statement, then we can’t accuse God of making a false statement, especially since God is pretty thorough in His Word and often goes on to tell us what will happen if we don’t do the “if’ part.
An example is found in Leviticus 26, the entire chapter.
We often wonder why God isn't keeping His promises or why they aren't true for us. On the other hand, God, in His compassion and kindness, might show grace and favor to someone not keeping the if part of one of His truths. He's God. He can do whatever He wants.
But, is it ever enough to know God’s Word or even to believe it, or must we also follow it and apply it to our daily life and decisions? Many of God’s promises are conditional. But not all are. Unconditional promises have no ifs ands or buts. Jesus is coming back.
Here’s a great if, then statement:
If we compare ourselves to others, then we will find out that they are just as imperfect as we are.
So, should we compare in order to see if it's a true statement? :)
My question is, according to your question, "What are we striving for?" or better yet ... "Why are we striving for it (whatever "it" is)?"
James gives us a great insight:
James 4:1-10 (Note especially verses 2 and 3)
Secondly, there are several types of promises in the Bible. There are eternal and temporal promises. There are conditional and unconditional promises. There are promises made to a specific person (or people) that is not a promise for us today, though in their promise we can find principles to guide us. Thus, before we can apply a promise we must determine the validity of the promise to us today.
Third, we are to aspire to live in alignment with God's Word. There is a part of this that is on us and a part of this that is God's responsibility to work in us as we grow.
The principle(s) would be related to prayer.
Approach: Cried out, denoting a strong need or desire.
Requests: Stated specific requests and not some generic prayer.
Response from God: Granted His request.
This does not demonstrate that if we pray the same prayer that God will do the exact thing for us. What is our real need? What does God have planned for us? Does it include expanding our territory or moving us as He did Paul from place to place? Does it include a life without pain or a life of sacrifice like James who was beheaded?
One common example of misapplying the promises is the use of Joshua and Israel marching around the walls of Jericho. I know of many people, including a large Christian organization that try to copy this as if by marching around a place seven times is a guarantee of God's blessing. There is nothing wrong with prayer walking, but we cannot apply that promise to us. It was given to a specific people for a specific time for a specific purpose. Principle: Seek God's leading and pray against obstacles and be patient for God's timing.
You are correct. "The response" from God is technically not a principle, but the "actual response" in this case. The principle would be that God responds to our prayers, but not always in the affirmative as seen in these two verses of Scripture.
See, the words "release God's favor, power, & protection" is just so wrong. God does as He wishes. It's not us with a magic wand telling Him what He can do or not do. They are using that one prayer like a magic potion to get what they desire. The Lord's prayer itself is a great example. It outlines how we should pray not a potion to release God's magical powers. Now, I do pray the Bible many times but just because David did such a good job doing it. hehe