Saturday, February 09, 2013

How to Arrive at the Truth Without an Infallible Body of Humans

How can we know (with a high degree of certainty) whether our understanding of the Scriptures is correct? I propose a threefold answer.

(1) Rely on what the Scriptures themselves say.

In Acts 17:10-12, Luke records that the Jews in Beroea were "more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica" because they not only received the apostolic witness eagerly, but they also "carefully examined the Scriptures daily" to verify the evangelical message of Paul and Silas.

Louw-Nida observe that the Greek term (ANAKRINW) can denote: "to try to learn the nature of truth of something by the process of careful study, evaluation and judgment--to examine carefully, to investigate, to study thoroughly" (See Semantic Domain 27.44). John B. Pohill also writes: "This was no cursory investigation either, no weekly Sabbath service, as at Thessalonica. They met daily to search the Scriptures" (Pohill 363). And what was the result? POLLOI MEN OUN EX AUTWN EPISTEUSAN.

Question: If we cannot reach a certain understanding of the Scriptures by consulting them and thoroughly studying them, then how did the Beroeans become believers through this method? Why didn't they need an infallible human authority to teach them the truth?

My next case example is Apollos. Luke says that this man "thoroughly proved the Jews to be wrong publicly, while he demonstrated by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ" (Acts 18:24-28).

Question: If sharing Scripture with a person who subscribes to a different interpretation only results in "biblical ping-pong," then how did Apollos prove the Jews to be wrong publicly? How did he "demonstrate" (EPIDEIKNUS) by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah if we can't prove anything by comparing Scripture?

(2)Though I believe the previously mentioned examples clearly show the fallacy of thinking that one cannot arrive at the true understanding of Scripture by consulting and comparing Scripture, as I mentioned hitherto, discussing Scripture is not the only way to attain truth. If we want to really understand God's will as set forth in Scripture, we must also offer ebullient and sincere prayers. The psalmist earnestly supplicated God: "Teach me to do as is acceptable to you, because you are my God. Your spirit is good; let it lead me over level ground" (Ps. 143:10 Byington). See also Ps. 43:3.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also taught us the way to comprehend Scripture. He encouraged humans to 'keep on asking, seeking and knocking' because "everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking it will be opened" (Matt. 7:7-11 NWT). So diligent prayer is a second requisite for authenticating one's understanding of Scripture. But there is yet a third way.

(3) The Primitive EKKLHSIA also relied upon apostolic teaching and the older men and apostles in Jerusalem to accurately understand Scripture (Acts 2:40ff; 15:1ff). Today I believe one must be in frequent association with the organization God is using to fully perceive the Divine written Revelation. So, far from believing that studying Scripture is enough, I contend that the way to guarantee one's view of Scripture is correct is by employing the three methods I have delineated above. Study, meditate, pray and find the true Christian EKKHLSIA.

No comments: