The Spanking Files

The main problem with this is that anyone with any ideas can go to Scripture and find verses taken out of context to support their theory. Even Hitler was able to justify much of his extermination of the Jews using the Bible-the same Book that made clear they are God’s chosen people!

Because of this danger it is very important to not look for proof in the text, but to let the text speak for itself. God’s ways are not our ways. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We need to come humbly to the Bible and hear what God wants to tell us, not with arrogance and finding support for our already cemented beliefs.

Words have very specific meanings and they are put together to make sentences that convey specific instructions in the context of paragraphs that teach us complete thoughts. When we pull a word or a verse out of context we lose the richness of its meaning. We risk misunderstanding it. Unfortunately, this is done quite often with Scripture. This is why it’s important that we let the text interpret itself AND why we must know the genre of the Book being studied.

Many people today hear “genre” in relation to Scripture and fly into a frenzy thinking that this is one more way of making Scripture relative. That is not the case. Some people might do that, but that is not the thrust behind the study of the genre of the books of the Bible. Instead, this is a very important, and all too often, missing key to understanding Scripture. Some people argue that everything in Scripture must be taken literally. I believe that everything in Scripture must be taken for what it is! Sometimes that requires a literal reading and sometimes symbolic.

Unfortunately, many people who agree that some things are symbolic have gone to Scripture and argued for the symbolic interpretation of anything that was bothersome to them or the doctrine they were trying to advance. I assure you this is not what I am doing. How do you know what is to be taken literally and what is symbolic? The answer is in the genre. The Bible contains poetry, musings, prophecy and apocryphal writings. It is reasonable, even desirable, to understand much of what appears in them to be symbolic.

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