Refusing To Correctly Handle God’s Word In Order To Rule

May 9, 2013

Friends,
1 Cor. 7:29 tells us, “From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none.” Uh-huh, that’s what it says, and the reason he (Paul) gives is because the time is short. (same verse) So, husbands, ignore your wives, and do not provide for them or live with them. You married men are to leave your wives and live as if you have no wife.

1 Cor. 6:12 informs us, “‘Everything is permissible for me’ –but not everything is beneficial.” Okay. So we are being told that although not everything is advantageous for us, we are permitted to do (or think or say) anything. Sure, for that’s what it says.

1 Tim. 2:9,10 commands, “Similarly [I, Paul, desire that –see v. 8] women, using discretion, should adorn themselves with modest and appropriate attire, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, as is suitable for women professing to be godly.” So Paul wants women who claim to be holy to wear good deeds, and to certainly not wear anything elaborate, costly, inappropriate, or immodest. (Also: How do we wear good deeds? And how is good-deeds-apparel in specific contrast to finery?)

In 1 Tim. 2:11 Paul says, “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness.” Then he goes on in verse 12 to say, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” Paul doesn’t permit it, but does the Lord? Is this a case of, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord)…” (1 Cor. 7:12) Because where does Jesus ever teach the subjugation of women? Indeed, we can find many passages where, by His actions, He teaches to the contrary.

In 1 Cor. 11:5 Paul says, “But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered shames her head –it is as if her head were shaved.” So why is this command about the head-covering not often obeyed in most churches?  But wait. How can a woman even prophesy (speak God’s Word –and words– by His Spirit) in the church (–definitely the context, especially seen by v. 16) if she is to remain silent in the church (14:34), because, as 14:35 says, “it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” –? So when 14:26 says that everyone participates in giving an instruction or revelation or hymn or tongue or interpretation, the “everyone” really means “brothers”, as in men? How does this compare with Gal. 3:26-29 which makes it clear that every saint, including females (v. 28), are “sons of God.” (v. 26) Rom. 8:12-17 makes it clear as well that Paul’s terms “brothers” (v. 12) and “sons of God” (v. 14) are directed to all those who have “received the Spirit of sonship” (v. 15) so as to have become “God’s children” (v. 16) and “co-heirs with Christ.” (v. 17)

Furthermore, we wonder how these prohibitions against women prophesying compare with what Peter explains in Acts 2:16-18: “But this is that thing spoken about through the prophet Joel: And it shall be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy… yes, on My male slaves and on My female slaves in those days I will pour out My Spirit and they will prophesy.” So, being that “the last days” began at Pentecost (v. 1-15) and we are still in that era, why would born again (born-of-the-Spirit –John 3:3-8) women not be expected to prophesy?

In 1 Cor. 14:39,40 Paul says, “So, my brethren, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. Let all things be done becomingly and according to order.” If we are not to forbid the speaking of tongues (which needs an interpreter –v. 28), then why do many churches forbid it and insist that this particular gift evaporated with the first apostles, even though Paul says in v. 5, “Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy.” Besides this, why are churches not following this directive: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one so that all may learn and all be encouraged.” (v. 29-31) –? Why then does the same one man interpret the Word of God for the congregation week after week? If pastors are going to command everything to be done as Paul commanded for the churches he oversaw, then why is there picking and choosing being done as to which of Paul’s commands still apply and which do not?

In 1 Cor. 9:12 Paul says, “We put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.” Anything? Are we to tolerate anything, and is tolerance a way to keep the Gospel from being hindered?

In 1 Cor. 9:22 Paul says, “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.” Are we to let ourselves get fat, slothful, and sinful so that we can relate to those who live in self-indulgence and thereby win them to Christ?

Let’s look at just one more example: Jesus tells us in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters –yes, even his own life– he cannot be My disciple.” How can we hate our immediate family members when we’re told we must honor, submit to, care for, and provide for them (Mark 7:9-13 // Eph. 5:21-6:4 // 1 Tim. 5:8), and the whole of Scripture teaches us to love everyone (even our enemies –Luke 6:35) with Christlike love? Moreover, doesn’t 1 John 4:8 say, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” –?

Definitely it can be seen that many pastors, teachers, and preachers need to better learn to interpret Scripture with Scripture before they go off teaching things they so confidently think they know, but don’t. (1 Tim. 1:7) To these false doctrine promoters, we ask:

Can you not use “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16) you are supposed to have, and the indwelling Spirit (who you say you have), to help you interpret the Scriptures accurately? Why do you continue to study other theologians’ doctrines more and more in depth instead of going directly to the Spirit in the Word? We need no other tutor but Him. (Ps. 119:102 // John 16:13 // 1 John 2:27) Why not genuinely study every verse in the context of its passage, its historical setting, and especially from the vantage point of what the whole of Scripture teaches –as you claim you do? Certainly we all can see by just the few verses I’ve given above that such a study is absolutely necessary for handling the Word of God correctly.

Well, of course I was being facetious as I commented on 1 Cor. 7:29 in my opening paragraph above. For of course husbands are not to ignore or desert their wives. But isn’t it obvious, then, that interpreting Scripture correctly within its context and setting is key to sound doctrine? Most of us would think so. But unbelievably, the very people (the religious leaders of our day) who should know better, those who even themselves teach that it is essential, do not always put into practice these basics as they teach. Why would they neglect to do so? Could it be that the desire to exercise power and control over others (something Jesus told us never to do –Matt. 20:24-28), is at the center of their hearts?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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