Understanding How We Read the Bible Part 2 – Command, Example, Necessary Inference

It is so important we understand how we read the Bible. It is possible we do something for so long or it is modeled for us and never explained that we don’t really understand the actual process for interpreting the meaning of the text that we are using.

This video gives some history of how we read the Bible in Churches of Christ that I hope you will find beneficial. This is all on a path to a better approach, we must first understand the strengths and weaknesses of our current approach. Let me know what you think!

3 Responses to Understanding How We Read the Bible Part 2 – Command, Example, Necessary Inference

  1. Dwight says:

    Good talk. One thing we don’t realize or acknowledge is that the Law of Silence and the Law of Expediency are both inextricably bound to the interpretation that is CENI, otherwise CENI falls apart. In reality CENI is held as the method of interpretation, despite the fact that there is no specific method of interpretation beyond Commands given in the Bible. The Jews were never asked to make laws of examples or inferences, unless there was a command and then it was the command that was the law. This took guessing and personal biases presumably off the table. Did the Pharisees enforce hand washing as being an act of righteousness? Yes, but they still understood that it was still a tradition of the Fathers.
    As you note the biggest problem is one of execution. Following our own rules. There are commands that we choose not to follow, that if others follow, they must not understand rightly. There are examples and inferences that are binding for a human determined reasons, while others are not by a human determined reasons, otherwise they would have commands and not be inferences. Examples are good as examples, but horrible as law.
    My rule:
    If it is a command follow it, if at all possible, but understand that the commands that were focused on in the scriptures were 1. Love God, 2. Love others, then keep yourself from sin that defile the person.
    In the scriptures if it replaced or contradicted a Law it was sinful, otherwise it was allowed. God doesn’t limit us in terms of worship, He wants more of it, not less of it.
    God didn’t condemn Hezekiah or the people for throwing a second Passover, beyond the commanded one. God didn’t condemn Esther or the people for putting other feast to worship God in the Feast rotation. God was pleased with these additions towards Him.
    Our often argument has to do with giving our son money and sending him to the store to buy a tomato and if he comes back with a potato, then he is wrong. That is true.
    But the problem is that it doesn’t account for the fact that everything we do is for God on God’s time.
    So if we are told to go to the store to buy a tomato, then come back with six tomatoes and potatoes, which we know our father likes, then we have not only filled the command, but exceeded it…towards God.
    The Jews were slammed for just doing the minimum of what the Law required to get by. Jesus puts forth the concept in Matt. 5:42 “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” that one is good, two is better, even when only one is required. How can love be kept at a minimum?

  2. Dwight says:

    Good talk. One thing we don’t realize or acknowledge is that the Law of Silence and the Law of Expediency are both inextricably bound to the interpretation that is CENI, otherwise CENI falls apart in application. Today CENI is held as The method of interpretation, despite the fact that there is no specific method of interpreting what is a law beyond the commands given in the Bible. The Jews were never asked to make laws from examples or inferences. This took guessing and personal biases presumably off the table.
    As you note the biggest problem is one of execution. Following our own rules. There are commands that we choose not to follow, that if others follow, they must not understand rightly. There are examples and inferences that are binding for a human determined reasons, while others are not by a human determined reasons, otherwise they would have commands and not be inferences. Examples are good as examples, but horrible as law.
    This is my thought:
    If it is a command follow it, to the best of your ability, and the commands that were focused on in the scriptures were 1. Love God, 2. Love others, 3. keep yourself from sins that defile the person. In the scriptures, if something replaced or contradicted a Law it was sinful, otherwise it was allowed.
    God doesn’t limit us in terms of worship, He wants more of it, not less of it. God didn’t condemn Hezekiah or the people for throwing a second Passover, beyond the commanded one. God didn’t condemn Esther or the people for putting other feast to worship God in the Feast rotation. God was pleased with these additions towards Him.
    Our often argument has to do with giving our son money and sending him to the store to buy a tomato and if he comes back with a potato, then he is wrong. That is true.
    But the problem is that it doesn’t account for the fact that everything we do is for God on God’s time.
    So if we are told to go to the store to buy a tomato, then come back with six tomatoes and potatoes, which we know our father likes, then we have not only filled the command, but exceeded it…all towards God. Whatever we do in word or deed…otherwise we are just spending time on ourselves for ourselves.
    The Jews were slammed for just doing the minimum of what the Law required to get by. Jesus puts forth the concept in Matt. 5:42 “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” that one is good, two is better, even when only one is required. How can love be kept at a minimum?

  3. Mark says:

    The problem is exacerbated when the command, the example, and the inference are all elevated to the level of commands and salvation issues. When there are more rules to follow than the 613 which even the most pious Jews could not keep, there is a problem. The worst is the Law of Silence. That becomes a guessing game subject to the policy of the strongest man or the one with the loudest mouth(piece).

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