Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Necessity of Biblical Discernment

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:21 KJV

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” - 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

The Harbringer? Four Blood Moons? Do these book names sound familiar? Since being back in America I have continued to notice an increasing flow of ‘Christian’ media that attempt to appeal to our sensibilities with some amazing, yet not necessarily biblical ideas. Books such as these almost always tend to make the appeal that they are indeed biblical, and are therefore reliable sources for spiritual insight. The word biblical has become a catch phrase to attempt to reassure the Christian reader to lower his guard and accept the contents of said material as legitimate. At one time the term biblical indicated that the material in question had undergone the necessary scrutiny and is generally in line with sound doctrine. However in recent times it appears to be more of a label to make the content seem to be what it may not actually be, I.E. - doctrinally-sound, biblically-responsible information. Given the information overflow available to us today through various venues of technology it has become even more necessary that God’s people develop biblical discernment. My personal concern is that we not lower our guard and accept any material as biblical without putting the said material through certain tests to determine if it is indeed biblical. So, consider these testing measures taken from the book, The Faith of God’s Elect by John F. Parkinson, when using ‘Christian’ media forms that quote scriptures to help develop a discerning mind:

1) Observe what the verse actually says. What is the verse in question actually talking about? Does the verse in question have anything to do with what the author is trying to say it means?

2) Consider the context. Is the verse taken out of the context of the passage in order to prove a pre-supposed point rather than faithfully teaching what passage is talking about?

3) Do not add to the scriptures. Are modern concepts or logical inferences added to the verse to prove a point? Is a non-faithful bible version that adds to scriptures being used to derive a new conclusion about a verse?

4) Do not take away from the scriptures. Are modern concepts or logical inferences used to remove from the verse to prove a point? Is a non-faithful bible version that takes away from scriptures being used to derive a conclusion about a verse?

5) Compare scripture with scripture. Is the material in question being taught derived from being compared with other scriptures as a coherent whole, or is it taken out of the flow of consistent scriptural reasoning to support a new idea?

6) Be silent when the scriptures are silent. Does the material in question try to project ideas on to the scriptures when the scriptures are silent about them?

7) Use scriptural language and terms. Does the material in question apply modern word use to biblical terminology? Does the material in question redefine commonly accepted biblical terminology?

Properly discerning scripture takes time. Lord willing with the aid of the scriptures, a strong’s concordance, a good dictionary, help from a reliable biblically discerning teacher, and prayer we can put in the necessary effort to gain biblical discernment.

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