Many times folks who disagree with our Biblical teachings on a subject will say, "That is your interpretation." Most of the time they will not give one Scripture to back up their disagreement. Sometimes they will give only one verse or part of a verse in trying to defend their teachings. Most cults and isms are built around one verse isolated from the plain teaching of the Scriptures rightly divided.
2 Timothy 2:15 states,"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Peter 1:19-21: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
Look at the statement in verse 20: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." That simply means that one cannot take a single verse of Scripture and build a doctrinal view while ignoring other Scriptures that deal with the subject.
"When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek not another sense."
While it is true that "private interpretations" of the Bible result in different denominational views, it must be admitted that there is only one correct interpretation of a Scripture. Many applications may be made without doing damage to the correct interpretation.
Look up and read 1 Cor. 2:9-14 and notice "the deep things of God" are only known by those who have the Spirit of God. "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." We cannot take a verse of Scripture and teach a doctrine apart from the other verses on the subject. Next week I will show some examples of how this is done and how it has resulted in a vast array of denominations.
In Part 1, I pointed to 2 Tim. which speaks of "rightly dividing the Word of truth" and 1 Cor. 2:2-14 which speaks of "comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual."
An incorrect division or comparison of Scriptures will always result in error. This has resulted in a broad spectrum of denominations, including all cults.
The Jehovah Witness actually got its start from Charles Taze Russell and his rejection of the doctrine of eternal torment, Hell. This began his lifelong denunciation of and attack on "organized religion." of course, the Jehovah Witness reject most all of the cardinal doctrines of the Bible including the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the physical Resurrection and Return of Christ, the reality of Hell, the eternal existence of the soul and the validity of the infinite Atonement to name a few. They use Isa. 43:10-11 as a foundation, claiming they are the witnesses of Jehovah and denying the Trinity. Fact is, comparing Scripture with Scripture, we find they are wrong on both subjects. They are not the Witnesses of Jehovah. According to verse 1 the Jews are being spoken to. These two verses do not teach against the Trinity. In fact, they strengthen the teaching. Since Christ is the only Saviour, then He is God! (They deny this.) They make the same error in Rev 7:4-8 and 14:1-3 by teaching that only 144,000 enter the Kingdom. Please notice these are all male, virgin, Jews and are definitely not the present day Jehovah's Witness. Rightly dividing the Word of Truth would clear that up.
Teaching on Baptismal Regeneration: There are some few denominations that teach that one must be baptized to be saved. They all point to Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:18-21 as proof texts. When compared to all other Scriptures which give the plan of salvation, we find baptism omitted. It should be noticed that in each of the 3 examples given above we have an answer to the false teaching:
- Mark 16:16 "but he that believeth not shall be damned." The emphasis is on believing, not baptism.
- Acts 2:38 Remission of sins does not come from baptism but from repentance. (This can be proven with other scriptures dealing with remission.)
- 1 Peter 3:21 baptism is, "not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God." It is a private interpretation of Scripture to ignore all other Scriptures which teach Salvation by Grace through Faith alone.
To be continued with private interpretations of Gifts and Losing Salvation.
There is much confusion today brought about by the diversity of Charismatic interpretations which are built on private interpretations. An example of this is seen in the private interpretation of Acts 2:11-16 which is used to justify "holy laughter" in the present day charismatic movement. Kenneth Hagin was preaching in this text (I saw on video) and while he was preaching people began to slither out of their chairs like drunkards, with mouths drawn and words slurred. The "holy laughter" phenomena is misinterpreted from this private interpretation of Scripture.
Not all Charismatics believe one must speak in tongues to be saved. There are some that teach that you must speak in tongues, which they claim is the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That is a private interpretation of the Scripture. For example, tongues disappeared for about 1500 years. Did the believers of that space of time not receive the Baptism of the Spirit? If you read 1 Cor. chapters 12,13 and 14 you will see that not everyone had the same gifts. In fact, verse 4 of chapter 12 states, "Now there are diversities of gifts." Verse 5 states, "And there are differences of administrations" and verse 6 states, "And there are diversities of operations." If you look at verses 8-10 you will see "to one is given", "to another", "to another", "to another", "to another", "to another", "to another", and finally the 7th time, "to another." If you compare this with verses 11-31 you will see that not everyone had all the gifts and that it is the Holy Spirit who gives them. In fact, looking at verses 28-31 it is easy to see that not all are Apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, healers, and (notice) not all speak with tongues or interpret tongues. Chapter 13 follows, teaching that the sign gifts will cease with the completed Word of God. Verse 8 tells us that prophecies, tongues and knowledge will all cease, while "Charity never faileth." It is a private interpretation to teach that all speak with tongues. The most positive thing said about tongues is in 14:39; "and forbid not to speak with tongues." This statement was valid for the Corinthians at that time because the Word of God was not completed. However, upon its completion, tongues have ceased (Ch. 13:8). A good example of this violation is found in Mark 16:17-18. How can one practice tongues and healing and leave out snake handling and drinking poison?
Below are a few Scriptures used by some to prove one can lose salvation.
John 15:6 Why would Jesus teach in this one verse that a saved person would be cast, wither, gathered and burned when He has taught them in 3:14-18, 36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:37, 40, 47; 10:27-30; 11:25; 17:2-3 that believers are given eternal life?
Romans 11:19-23 This passage is not teaching on loss of Salvation. Paul is speaking of the place of the Jews and Gentiles in this dispensation. God turned from the Nation of Israel temporarily, and to the Gentiles. The day will come (in fact, now is) when God will turn again to the Jews. Verses 24-26 plainly shows this. This passage does not teach loss of Salvation.
2 Peter 2:20-22 These three verses are often used to teach one can lose Salvation, and yet it says nothing about one losing Salvation. If you read the whole chapter you will see the ones addressed are false teachers who "privily bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction." Look at verses 12-14 which definitely is not a description of one who lost his Salvation. It is obvious that these people had reformation without regeneration. Notice verse 13: "sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you." Verse 15, "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray." Verse 17, "Wells without water." Verse 20 does not say they were saved. They escaped the pollutions and were again entangled. These people were not sheep (Saved). They are called "dog" and "sow" in verse 22 which are hardly words used of one who is saved. It is referring to those who were never saved, though saying they were. The same truth is taught in Titus 1:16, "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." The pigs and dogs were still pigs and dogs at heart and though they changed for a while, they returned to the old life, proving they were never saved. They didn't lose it. They never had it!
I have not tried to deal with all the Scriptures used to teach one can lose Salvation. Time and space will not allow. Hebrews 6:4-9 teaches that if a person could lose their Salvation, they could never be saved again. See verse 6 and notice: "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame." To renew them again is an impossibility. Verse 9 states, "But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany Salvation, though we thus speak." No doctrine can stand on one or more verses in opposition to the clear and plain teaching of the whole body of Truth. Scripture must be compared with Scripture and Truth must be rightly divided in order to come to a proper Biblical position.
God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving.