Sunday, March 13, 2011

What Scripture doesn't say is sometimes as important as what it does say

What does that mean? Shouldn't we study Scripture and learn all that it contains? Absolutely. There is immense value in reading the Bible to learn what God is saying through it. I am saying that it is important to be very aware of what Scripture does not say because men have a tendency to fill in the blanks or add to what Scripture says. Here is an example. Almost every Christian has at one time or another heard someone say that we should "go to church" because the Bible says we should "not forsake the assembling together". That comes from Hebrews 10: 24-25 and is a completely true and valid teaching. When you look at what it actually says and then see if that matches how we apply it, i.e. Hebrews 10:24-25 means you have to go to church on Sunday morning, we don't get the same story...

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Heb 10:24-25)

OK, so what do we glean from these verses?

  • We should gather together as the church.
  • We should be mindful of how we can stir one another up, to love and good works.
  • When we meet, it should be for the purpose also of encouraging one another.
  • We should have a sense of urgency because the time is short.

Now, what does it not say or even imply?
  • Assembling together means going to a church on Sunday morning
  • The assembling consists mostly of sitting, singing and lots of listening
  • The only acceptable way to assemble together is on a Sunday morning in a "properly" ordered church service
  • People who "go to church" are being faithful, no matter what they do the rest of the week. People who don't "go to church" are being unfaithful, no matter what they do the rest of the week.
  • If you don't take your children to church on Sunday morning, you are not being a good Christian parent
So here we have a frequently quoted passage that I don't think means at all what people try to use it to say. It is easy to take our accepted traditions and then find passages of Scripture that we think support our tradition instead of holding our traditions up to Scripture and chucking the ones that don't match.

What Scripture doesn't say is as important to proper interpretation and application as what it does say.

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