Chapter 2: A brief comment on the method of study

According to www.adherents.com there are over 33,000 Christian denominations in the world today. Think about it. Over 33,000! All these denominations claim to get their truth from the same Bible.

The root cause of this condition is that two different people read the same Bible and come to different conclusions.

Why does this happen? That is, how can two people read the same book and come to different conclusions?

One of the reasons why this happens is that the truth in God’s word is not localized. That is, for a given subject, all that God says on that subject is not found in a single place in the Bible. Rather, it is spread out all over God’s word.

Here is an example. Let us say that we want to understand God’s definition of sin. There is no chapter in the Bible that fully explains God’s definition of sin. The definition is spread all over the Bible. We can begin in 1 Jn 5:17.

1 Jn 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not {leading} to death.

In 1 Jn 5:17 we read that all unrighteousness is sin. Righteousness is something that is right. So unrighteousness is something that is not right.

So how does one know what is right and what is wrong? This is where a moral law comes in. A moral law tells us what is right and what is wrong. If a moral law is not defined, righteousness and unrighteousness are not defined either. Righteousness and unrighteousness are tied to, or related to a law. When you say that a person is righteous you are saying that the person is righteous with respect to a law.

One can be unrighteous in two ways. One way is to know that something is right and not do it. The other way is to know that something is wrong and do it.

Now we go to Jas 4:17.

Jas 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows {the} right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Jas 4:17 tells us that to everyone who knows the right (or good) thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. It describes one way of doing unrighteousness and thereby sinning. This is a sin of omission.

Then we jump to Rom 14:23.

Rom 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because {his eating is} not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

Rom 14:23 tells us that whatever is not from faith is sin. That is, if you believe that something is wrong, and you do it, then to you it is sin. It describes the other way of doing unrighteousness and thereby sinning. This is a sin of commission.

Thus we see that Jas 4:17 and Rom 14:23 are summarized in 1 Jn 5:17 – all unrighteousness is sin.

We see that God did not put His definition of sin in one place. He spread it all over the Bible.

Now that is not all that God says on the definition of sin. But I will stop here, since the purpose of this chapter is not to explain God’s definition of sin. I merely used this example to illustrate my point. See Appendix E for a fuller treatment on God’s definition of sin.

It is almost as if God put the Bible together in the following manner. God first wrote an essay on each of the different topics that He wanted to talk about. Then, He separated out all the sentences of each essay, and mixed all these sentences together in one big box. Then, He put those sentences together in a totally different way to form new bodies of texts (history, poetry, letters, and so on), and inspired men to write them down. And Oh, He put this clue in Ps 119:160.

Ps 119:160 The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Therefore, the problem that we are faced with when attempting to get truth from the Bible on any topic is to find the sum of what God has to say on that topic.

Consequently, when people form an opinion about a topic based on anything less than the sum of what God has to say on that topic they are unlikely to get the truth on that topic. That is why, when two people read God’s word they can easily come to two different conclusions.

Let me say this again. The sum of God’s word is the truth. If we want to get the truth on a particular subject addressed in God’s word then we need to find the sum of what God has to say on that subject.





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