What We Look For When We Read the Bible Influences What We Find

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I was once in a discussion about women passing communion on Sunday morning. One brother’s “gotcha” verse (that only men can serve the Supper/pass trays) was Acts 6:1-4,

“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews[a among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

This has nothing to do with who can pass a tray up and down the aisle. But he found a verse that talked about people serving food, who were men. He had all the proof he needed to argue that it was scripturally wrong for a woman to pass a communion tray standing, going up and down the aisle. He had no trouble when women passing seated, side to side sitting.

Others will point to 1 Tim2:12 where Paul talks about women not “having authority over” men (which is a poor translation).

I am not here to talk about who should serve communion, although that would be a good thing to discuss. I am here to talk about how we read the Bible and how what we are looking to prove has a huge impact on what we find/what we think the Bible says and means.

Here is another example of that – what is the correct scriptural name for the church? People have found several answers to that question. The problem is, in all of the examples mentioned none of the biblical authors actually meant to be naming the church in a formal, sign out on the front, kind of way.

If we want to be serious students of scripture, we must be careful to allow the scriptures to speak for themselves and not hijack them for our purposes. Sometimes, God wasn’t and still isn’t interested in giving us answers to the things we want answers for. We must have grace and patience toward one another in our understanding of these matters.

What are some other issues you believe we find answers where the Bible doesn’t give an answer?

One Response

  1. Q: When should we give to support the church? A: On the first day of the week (I Cor 16:1-4) Problem: Paul wasn’t addressing us, he isn’t coming to pick up our contribution, we don’t send support to Jerusalem.
    Q: When and how often do we eat the Lord’s Supper? A: First day of every week as in Troas (Acts 20)
    Problem: We don’t know that Troas ate the supper every Lord’s Day or that other congregations followed their example and in this case, they ate the supper after midnight, thus on Monday.
    Q: How should we sing IN CHURCH? A: With hymns, psalms and spiritual songs without instruments. (Eph 5:19)
    Problem: The passage doesn’t refer to Sunday morning in the church building, we sing few actual psalms, instruments are implied by the use of the words psalmos and ode.
    Q: What are the proper words to say before a baptism? A: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8: 37)
    Problem: Other accounts of baptisms don’t use this formula and the verse isn’t found in some modern translations.

    Is this what you had in mind?

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