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Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Proof Texting One's Way to Truth
I'm sure we all recall many a sermon and sermonette on just HOW the Bible is to be studied and understood.
9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
10For precept must be on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, and there a little:
11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people
As a result, sermons tended and still do tend towards marathon races through the Bible, hopping from one similar scripture to another, weaving a tale of continuity leading to foregone conclusions. It's how and why one can say you can prove anything you want with this method of Bible study and sermon presentation.
I often ended up with long lists of scriptures for notes, with no commentary on how or why they were all connected. In fact, they mostly weren't really connected or if they were I had lost the why they were long ago. It made throwing old "sermon notes" easy. They made no sense twenty minutes after the sermon and I have to say I never went back a second time to read my notes. In hindsight I took notes because I was supposed to. I also marked Bible's margins up with correlating scriptures to go to to explain, clarify or prove the previous one was on the right path to truth. It was more difficult for me to create "inspired margins" with my tiny marking pen during sermons because, growing up Presbyterian, marking a Bible was a bound for Hell offense. It took me a few weeks but then soon had one of the best inspired margined up Bibles on campus.
Full Circle in the Portland Library
I have figured out, however, how to study Mystery of the Ages
Let's take a look at what Isaiah 28 really means and it has NOTHING to do with how to study the Bible and the next time it comes up, you'll be armed for a nice rebuttal.
New International Version
Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah
1Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley—
to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!
2See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong.
Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind,
like a driving rain and a flooding downpour,
he will throw it forcefully to the ground.
3That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
will be trampled underfoot.
4That fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley,
will be like figs ripe before harvest—
as soon as people see them and take them in hand,
they swallow them.
Translation: YHVH is really angry with the Tribe of Ephraim
5In that day the Lord Almighty
will be a glorious crown,
a beautiful wreath
for the remnant of his people.
6He will be a spirit of justice
to the one who sits in judgment,
a source of strength
to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
Translation: But not forever and it will all work out someday
7And these also stagger from wine
and reel from beer:
Priests and prophets stagger from beer
and are befuddled with wine;
they reel from beer,
they stagger when seeing visions,
they stumble when rendering decisions.
8All the tables are covered with vomit
and there is not a spot without filth.
Translation: Your Priests are a bunch of beer guzzling, wine chugging dolts who can't think, see drunken visions, muck up decisions and puke all over the place too often.
9“Who is it he is trying to teach?
To whom is he explaining his message?
To children weaned from their milk,
to those just taken from the breast?
Translation: Who are these guys trying to kid. Who do they think they are teaching...mere babies and children?
10For it is:
Do this, do that,
a rule for this, a rule for thata ;
a little here, a little there.”
Translation: For these drunks say, do this, do that, follow this rule, follow that rule, a little bit of this, a little bit of that...blah blah blah blah blah....
11Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
God will speak to this people,
12to whom he said,
“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
but they would not listen.
13So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
Do this, do that,
a rule for this, a rule for that;
a little here, a little there—
Translation: Fine, that's the way you want it? It could have been nice and you could have rest, but if this is the way you want it. You want to talk strange and babble at the people? Then I'll send some folks your way that will talk strange and babble to you. I can play "blah blah blah blah blah" with you just as you play it with the people.
so that as they go they will fall backward;"
Translation: So you'll fall flat on your asses and it will hurt as you are caught and taken away.
No magic formula on how to study the Bible here! So next time you hear "for it is line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little" quoted as the way to find the hidden mysteries and doctrines of the Bible, realize the minister is quoting beer sodden, wine loopy, table puking priests who can't make their own words make sense to the people and thus God will repay them unkindly in kind with his own version of "So you want blah blah blah blah blah...? Well here it comes in the form of an equally strange speaking foreign people that are going to sweep you away.
Now...let's all take our hymnals and rise....