Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dear Bob...I repeat:

"Dennis Diehl, and many others, have ignored and/or despised the following instructions as to how to understand doctrine:
9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: (Isaiah 28:9-10,)"

How NOT to Study The Bible
(Or at least which scriptures not to use explaining how)

Peer Review Sucks
Isa 28:10 (KJV) For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little. 

Isa 28:13 (KJV) ...precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little...
The above scriptures, very familiar to all COG ministers and members alike, have been misquoted , misused and misunderstood for decades.  Ministers of every denomination quote them when asked "just how should we study the Bible?"   It is taken to mean that one studies the Bible line by line, topic by topic, skipping over here and then over there to find similar ideas and phrases that one can simply stitch together and come up with God's eternal truths on all things.  The modern term might be called "Proof Texting".  I sat through most of an intolerable "Refresher" once where the evangelist type took his Nave's Topical Bible and starting in Genesis and taking us on an agonizing trip through the Bible to Revelation on the topic of marriage, simply drove all in attendance to near mental illness.  That is not how to study the Bible which is, in fact, one of the most over studied and over analyzed books on the planet.

In our common COG experience we have the Dave Packs, Gerald Flurrys, Ron Weinland types along with the bit players in the form of James Malm, E.W.King and Bob Thiel who employ this tip toeing through the Bible , "here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept " and coming up with pure trash and self righteous drivel instructing good men everywhere how they must live and how they must think on these amazingly studied topics.

 Dave Pack can wander all over the Bible, Old Testament and New and come up with his weird and strange ideas about himself as spoken of by the Prophet Haggai, like anyone ever heard of Haggai, and get members gyrating in their seats.  E.W.King and James Malm can just make shit up as they go and find picky answers to ridiculous questions with the hunt and peck method of study.  Bob Thiel can spend all day making Bronze Age weather explanations the modern day ones and tell us it is how God "tries" to get our attention.  They all do by looking here a little and there a little, putting line upon line together and coming up with weird and strange explanations galore.

...and they are wrong.

Let's set the record straight.
To begin with, Isaiah is written to the drunken priests of Ephraim.  I know "context" is not a word most COG ministers are familiar with, but context is important.   In verse 7 we see the priests and prophets are being chided, to say the least, for being drunk with beer and wine, befuddled and stumbling while they are seeing visions and making rather important decisions.  Not exactly the way to go but with the Assyrians beating on the door, understandable. 

Drunk Homer Wallpaper 1920x1200
And 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.
All the tables are covered with vomit
    and there is not a spot without filth.

Agavephobia" | East Side Patch
Not a very pleasant sight but I suppose we can credit the Priests and Prophets of Isaiah with the discovery of "Reel Beer."
In reality, it is Isaiah mocking these fools with the following which has been taken as "here a little, there a little, line up line, precept upon precept" and how to study the Bible.  Unbelievable ignorance really...
“Who is it he is trying to teach?
    To whom is he explaining his message?    to those just taken from the breast?
To children weaned from their milk,

10 For it is:
    Do this, do that,
    a rule for this, a rule for that[a];
    a little here, a little there.

Transitions | SpecialNeeds.

Who are you talking to?  Children?  You sound like children.
blah, blah, blah,  nah nah-nah nah nah,  do this, do that, rules here, rules there.  Hunt and peck all over the place for your rules.
Who do you think you are?  James Malm?  Dave Pack,  E. W. King, Gerald Flurry, Ron Weinland???
(OK, I added that part)

In  the original Hebrew the phrase in Isaiah 28 verses 10 and 13 is: "sav lasav sav lasav, kav lakav kav lakav"   It is pure gibberish and akin to our "la la la la" and "blah blah blah."  It is a mocking tone immitating the drunken gibberish of the priests and prophets of Ephraim and Judah as Assyria knocks at the door to scrape them off the earth.  It is NOT a scripture one should use to teach how to study the Bible that's for SURE!

13 So 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
so that as they go they will fall backward;
    they will be injured and snared and captured.

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
    who rule this people in Jerusalem.
 So then mister priest and prophet, if that's the way you want to teach then that's the way the Lord will teach you.  Blah...blah...blah...nah nah nah nah this, do that. You like rules?  I got rules!  You will be over run by your enemies, you who rule Jerusalem.  Assyria and the Babylonians are going to kick your ass if you aren't careful.  But it all works out eventually so have at it.  

Peer Review Sucks
So, there we have it.  Short and simple.  The next time you hear a Church of God Minister, Member or any devotee tell you that you study the Bible, "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little,"  just slap your head and explain it to them.



DennisCDiehl said...

Bob says: "Dennis Diehl, and many others, have ignored and/or despised the following instructions as to how to understand doctrine:"

No Bob, I have not ignored or despised your misapplication of Isaiah 28 . I have explained it to you as all educated theologians would also have explained it to you had you tried to tell them Isaiah 28 informs us that we are to study the Bible "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little."

The text and phrases are not about studying the Bible

They would ignore and despise your shallow and out of context view of the text.

DennisCDiehl said...

Barnes Commentary notes:
"For precept must be upon precept - This is probably designed to ridicule the concise and sententious manner of the prophets, and especially the fact that they dwelt much upon the same elementary truths of religion. In teaching children we are obliged to do it by often repeating the same simple lesson. So the profane and scoffing teachers of the people said it had been with the prophets of God. It had been precept upon precept, and line upon line, in the same way as children had been instructed. The meaning is, 'there is a constant repetition of the command, without ornament, imagery, or illustration; without an appeal to our understanding, or respect for our reason; it is simply one mandate after another, just as lessons are inculcated upon children.'

... There is a repetition of similar sounds in the Hebrew in this verse which cannot be conveyed in a translation, and which shows their contempt in a much more striking manner than any version could do -"

Hoss said...

As you said, Context, context, context

Hebrew scholars have similar views about the "line upon line" line. In fact one even suggested it refers to false prophets slipping their own misinsterpretations into words of the Prophets.

Years ago when I did a "practice sermonette" the minister told me I should have put in a reference to Isaiah 28:13. I dutifully nodded while thinking, Where does that fit in to what I spoke about?

And HWA would use that verse in support of his "the Bible is a jigsaw puzzle" and "you must have the Keys (BI) to unlock the meaning".

Anonymous said...

"Which should you rely on?"

The one that works best, obviously!


Anonymous said...

Herbie was right that the bible is a jigsaw puzzle. The line upon line thingy interpretation or misinterpretation, accurately describes the way the bible is written. It is obvious from a simple reading of the bible.
Why is Dennis challenging the self evident. This is crazy. Are we to believe Dennis rather than the self evident.
This is another example of Dennis still operating in minister mode ie., 'it's true cause I say so. I'm the Big Cheese, so I'm right.'

Next Dennis will be telling us, just like Satan in the garden of Eden, that if we ignore the bible and God, that 'you shall not surely die.'
But wait, Dennis has already done that.