Well, today we come to one of the most challenging and perhaps controversial texts in all of the New Testament Scriptures, which contain a number of details about the Second Coming of Christ, which are not found anywhere else in the Bible. The Second Coming, as you know, is a major theme in both First and Second Thessalonians. I don't think we'd be far amiss to say it is the major theme of Second Thessalonians. In First Thessalonians, it is mentioned in all five chapters, and then large portions of chapters four and five are devoted to that subject. In the Second Epistle, the one we're in now, we find significant parts of chapters one and two are devoted to the Second Coming of Christ out of a short three-chapter epistle. And there's no end of controversy about what is contained in these verses, and indeed in the doctrine of the Second Coming altogether, and particularly as to the timing of the rapture, whether it is pre-trib or post-trib and so forth. And I continue to urge you, as I have already done, to maintain a respectful and humble attitude toward all differing positions. I told you that the six commentaries that I have selected for my primary study of this epistle are divided equally.
Three of them are pre-trib and three of them are not. And I'm trying to read carefully what all of these men say, and I respect them all. And they are all godly men and they are all careful Bible students, but they can't all be right.
They can't all be right because they have different interpretations of what the scripture teaches, and the Bible clearly only teaches one thing, not two. But our understanding what that one thing is can be a bit challenging at times, and this passage certainly bears that out. And so I encourage you to avoid excessive dogmatism about your particular position.
Please don't have that kind of attitude. But continue to study, to think, to compare different positions, to consider thoughtfully what the scriptures teach, and that will be good. It's going to be helpful to you no matter what you derive from your studies, you're going to benefit by doing careful study of God's Word. Well, today we take up verses one through five, which get us into the subject of Paul's message in this portion. Verses six and following, the rest of what we read this morning, are primarily an elaboration and explanation on what he introduces in the first five verses. And so what we find in verses one through five are number one, the concern, and number two, the corrective.
Paul's concern for the Thessalonians and the corrective which he sends to them to address this concern. And the concern involves a major Christian doctrine, and it involves the circulation of false teaching. The major Christian doctrine is the second coming of Christ, which is, please hear me, it is a fundamental of the faith. Christ is coming again, and all true Bible believers believe that.
We just don't all agree on when and how that's going to happen. But this is a fundamental of the faith. If you are a Bible believer, you not only believe that Christ died and was buried and rose again and ascended back to heaven, but that he is coming again. Amen? He is coming again.
But the details and the particulars can sometimes be challenging. So Paul opens this chapter by saying, Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, his concern involves this doctrine of the second coming of Christ described as, number one, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and number two, our gathering together to him. Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the parousia or parousia, depending on how you pronounce it, of the Lord Jesus Christ, language that has been used elsewhere, of Christ's coming. So I'm addressing you concerning the parousia, the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
By the way, the same word, parousia, was used in 1 Thessalonians 4, that section on the rapture of the church. So I'm addressing you concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him. That describes the rapture of the church.
That's what takes place. As Paul told us in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, when the Lord comes, he will gather his bride. He will gather the church together. And finally, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ will be together. It will not be assemblies.
It will be the assembly. It will not be churches. It will be the church.
It will be the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. And so Paul is addressing that, the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it's very clear that these two phrases, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him, both speak of the same event, two different phrases to describe it. And that's very clear linguistically because these two phrases are joined together by one single article. Grammatically, therefore, this demands that these two phrases apply to the same event. You cannot properly separate them exegetically, as I have heard some attempt to do. The first one speaks of the rapture and the second one of the something else, I mean.
But you can't do that. They are tied together very, very clearly. But then Paul also picks up a third phrase in verse two when he talks about the day of Christ. He says, We ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us as though the day of Christ had come.
So now we've got three phrases. The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, our gathering together to him and the day of Christ or in many manuscripts, that is the day of the Lord. And assuming that that's probably the correct reading, that then becomes a much more significant term. The day of Christ, we equate that with the coming of Christ. The day of the Lord, that's a phrase that is found frequently both in the Old and the New Testament. It speaks of a time when God comes for judgment. It really is, as you look at it in the Old Testament in particular, it is more of a period of time, not just one particular day, but it's a time when God comes to rain down judgment and to wrap things up on earth and to bring everything to consummation.
So Paul says, This is what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the coming of Christ. I'm talking about the day of the Lord.
I'm talking about our gathering together unto him. His concern involves a major Christian doctrine because of the circulation of false teaching that he refers to in verse two. We ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled either by spirit or by word or by letter as if from us as though the day of the Lord had come. Something has clearly unsettled the Thessalonian believers. Paul describes that as being shaken in mind on the one hand and troubled on the other hand or joining the two together, they don't have to be on the other hand. Shaken in mind, some of your Bibles may read quickly shaken.
There is that element in the language here. Something that happened very quickly, something that happened I would take it fairly soon after Paul's departure. Remember he had been in Thessalonica, driven out by persecution, went further south on the Greek Peninsula, went to Athens, ministered there for a while, left Athens, went to Corinth where he ministered for a year and a half and established a church and he's in Corinth when he's riding back to Thessalonica to help them and perhaps to answer questions which they had sent to him and he indicates that I'm rather surprised that you have been disturbed, that you've been shaken so quickly after my departure. Paul used similar language in the Galatian Epistle, you remember? He said I can't believe that you are so quickly departed from the gospel to a false gospel which is not a gospel. It's another gospel. And how can you have moved from the true gospel to a false gospel so quickly? Well, this is not the gospel Paul is talking about here but it is a fundamental doctrine and he says I'm concerned that you have been shaken so quickly that you are disturbed of mind about this thing.
Something had unsettled them, something had deceived them. We know that from verse 3. He says let no one deceive you and that's referring back to what he's described in verse 2. Be not shaken in mind or troubled either by spirit or by word or by letter as if from us as though the day of the Lord had come.
That's the error, that's the deception. Somebody was encouraging them to believe that the day of the Lord had already come. Now exactly in every detail what Paul means by that we're left to ponder but we know it has something to do with the second coming of Christ and we know that the Thessalonians were concerned that something had already come and left them out or something had already come and left them in a special danger.
Something had deceived them. And Paul doesn't know exactly what the source of this error is but he says it must come from one of these three things, either a false prophecy or a false teaching or a false epistle. Don't be shaken in mind or troubled either by spirit. Spirit, that is as a prophetic spirit. In that day of course the gift of prophecy was still in operation. Paul had warned in the first Thessalonians epistle to be sure you test prophecies very carefully. Don't forbid them but don't believe everything that claims to be a prophetic word from God. John in his first epistle said try the spirits to see if they are of God for many false prophets have gone out into the world. And so now Paul makes reference to a spirit, that is a spirit of prophecy, a false spirit and he says this error may have come from false prophecy.
Someone who claimed that they were receiving word from God that they did not receive. They probably said things like the Lord revealed this unto me. The Lord told me this.
A lot of people are afraid to question that. The Lord told you then who am I to question that? The Lord told you this then it must be right. You had a dream about this that God gave you? You're sure you're telling me it's come from God that it must be right?
I must believe it. Paul said no, no, no, no, no, no. Even in the day when prophecy was still in operation you had to be on constant guard against false prophecies, false prophets, false claims. People saying the Lord told me this when he didn't. Sometimes lying between their teeth and knowing it but we don't always know. Sometimes they may have been deceived and they think the Lord told them something that isn't true.
And that's why we constantly have to test these things, don't we? So he says maybe this error came from a false prophecy. Maybe it came from a false teaching.
Either by spirit or by word. That means a message, a verbal teaching. Somebody had gone off to a Bible conference somewhere in Thessalonica conducted by one of the false teachers who were already there. They set up shop in Thessalonica to try to deceive the believers and somebody went off to one of their sessions and they came back and they said, oh, I heard the most amazing message. I heard the most amazing sermon and pretty soon error was spreading through the church that came from a false message that can be traced back to a false teacher, a verbal proclamation that somebody sat under a minister, so-called, who was saying these things and they heard it with their own ears.
But again, they didn't carefully test it by the word of truth and so they brought back error and introduced it to the church. Or, Paul says, it might even have come from a false epistle by spirit or by word or by letter as if from us. Already that early, counterfeit epistles of Paul were circulating. Paul makes reference to that at the last part of this book when he says in chapter 3, verse 17, the salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle, so I write. And we know that 2 Thessalonians was a very early epistle, maybe the second one of the ones that Paul wrote that are included in our New Testament, no more than the third at the most, and already that early, Paul was having to do something to authenticate the reality, the authenticity of his own epistles. And so he took the pen from the secretary, from the amanuensis, at the end of the epistle and he wrote a verse or two with his own hand and they would recognize his handwriting and he says, don't you accept an epistle that comes in my name unless you see my handwriting at the end.
Otherwise, it's a counterfeit. Now, can you imagine this early on, the church was being bombarded by false prophecies claiming to be a word from God, false messages preached by people claiming to be ministers of God's word, and even counterfeit epistles that were claiming to have come from Paul. They were really getting it, weren't they? They were getting slapped up the face one side and the other. So there was something that unsettled them and I think we're beginning to understand why that was and how it could be so. There was something that had deceived them and now we realize at least where it may have come from, one of those three sources. It was something that confused them. Paul says, your confusion is that you have been led erroneously to believe that the day of the Lord has come.
Now, as I say, exactly what they understood that to mean is not crystal clear. Part of that is explained when we get to verse five where Paul just simply says, don't you remember when I was with you, I taught you these things. So Paul has done some teaching in Thessalonica about the second coming, which he knows they have heard and will remember if he calls it to their mind.
And he's just touching on some of the things that he said. And we say, wait a minute, Paul, slow down and tell us everything you said so we have the benefit of it. Paul doesn't do that. So we have to deal with what Paul, by the Spirit of God, what God Almighty intended for us to have. But they had been taught that the day of the Lord has already come. Now, what did they mean by that? Did they believe that Christ had come to rapture the saints and they were left behind?
Possibly. Or were they saying, and this may be more likely, he told us about the great tribulation, that terrible tribulation that's coming. And we are experiencing persecution, and they were.
That's been dealt with elsewhere. And we think we must be in the tribulation. This persecution, it seems to fit the description of this tribulation that you were talking about.
And so our only conclusion is, since the tribulation is in connection with the coming of the Lord, then our only conclusion is that we must be in the tribulation. And we're concerned about that. And Paul said, this is an error. This is an error.
You've gotten wrong information about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, about our gathering together unto him, about the day of the Lord. That's the concern. That brings us, therefore, to the corrective in verses three through five.
And here's what will correct the error. Three things. Number one, know that something must come first. Something must come first before the day of the Lord has come. Number two, know what to be looking for. Not only know that something must come first, but you need to know specifically what you're looking for. So that you can, when that comes, then you know that the day of the Lord is at hand. And number three, you need to know what your Bible teaches.
You need to, like everything, take this back to the touchstone of God's word. So first of all, know that something must come first. Let no one deceive you, verse three, by any means, for that day, obviously a reference to the day that he's been talking about, that day will not come unless something's got to come first. Something's got to come first, unless knowing that something must come first will dispel the deception that you are now in the grip of. Knowing that something must come first, if you understand this clearly, then that will remove the confusion that you are now struggling with. So number one, know that something must come first, but go beyond that and know what must come first.
Well, know what you are looking for, and there are two things he tells us. That day will not come unless, number one, the falling away comes first. And number two, the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition. Two things have to come first.
What are they? Number one, the great apostasy. Number two, the appearance of the antichrist. First of all, the great apostasy. The falling away comes first. The apostasy comes first.
Now that causes us to pause and think, think, think, think. There has been apostasy all along. Even in this first century there's apostasy. What is apostasy? Apostasy is rebellion or departure or abandonment of a previous position.
In its noun form, it is used only of religious or political defection. People who formerly believed this and now they don't. People who formerly were committed to this and now they're not. People who formerly aligned themselves with this and now they are no longer aligned with it. We see a lot of apostasy in our day, but it's not new. We see it in our day and we're tempted to say, wow, this is really getting bad.
Maybe it is, but since we haven't lived in every century, we don't really know how bad it was in previous centuries, but we do know it existed in every century. But we are a bit shaken, aren't we? When somebody who writes hymns that are used in Christian worship suddenly announces one day that he no longer believes the Bible, he no longer believes in Jesus Christ, he no longer is a Christian.
Wow, where'd that come from? Bang, bang. Or when someone who is pastoring a mega church and who has written books that many people have studied and he announces one day that he no longer believes the Bible, he no longer believes in Christ, he no longer is a Christian. And we say, wow, what is this apostasy? People who professed to know Christ and to follow him and to believe the Bible, who announced that they no longer do so. Now, the day they announced it is not the day they defected.
It starts in the heart over a period of time until finally they get to the place where they can't live with the tension anymore. They can't live with the hypocrisy anymore. They have probably known for a long time that they didn't really believe but for whatever purposes they were pretending to and now they can no longer live with that and so they just come out with it and say I no longer believe this and that's apostasy.
But as I say, it's been going on since the first century. Paul talks about a number of people in his day that departed from the faith to his great sorrow. One of them was a man that he trusted with ministry assignments and then the day came when he said, Demas has forsaken me having loved this present world and has departed into, I forget where he went. Did he go to Thessalonica? Forget where he went, but he departed. Apostasy and others likewise. Jesus talked about apostasy before his second coming.
In fact, there's one statement he made that people have puzzled over and I'm one of them. He said, when I return, will I find faith? Will the Son of Man when he returns find faith on the earth? What's the answer to that question, yes or no? Some think he's saying no.
I don't think that can be right. The Bible is clear, there will be faith on the earth when Christ returns. So what is he saying? Not sure, but he seems to be pointing to departures that are unsettling and troubling and yet that's the reality. And yet Paul here is talking about apostasy being a sign of the coming of the day of the Lord. The day will not come, it will not come unless, not apostasy without the definite article, apostasy in general, which has already always gone on, but unless the apostasy occur.
What do I make of that? Well, I make of it that there is going to at one point be the apostasy to end all apostasies. The apostasy, the great one, the final one, the big one, when that one comes you'll know it's here. You'll know it happened.
It is so huge, it is so unbelievable. It's going to involve evidently the turning of thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of people who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ who are going to turn and say we no longer believe in him. And I think in all likelihood the great apostasy is going to be closely tied together with the man of sin. I think he's going to lead this great apostasy.
So though there are two signs, two things to look for, they are connected. And so the second thing to look for is the antichrist. Let no one deceive you by any means, for that day will not come unless, number one, the falling away, the great apostasy comes first, and number two, the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.
And then the verse goes on to describe him with so many different words and phrases that it almost becomes tedious, but every word and phrase is important. And I've called this man the antichrist, though he's not called that here, but that's the term John uses in 1 John 2, 18 and elsewhere. And I don't know anybody who does not think that these two things are the same, that what John is talking about and what Paul is talking about is one and the same. 1 John 2, 18, little children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that the antichrist, definite article, the antichrist is coming, we know that many antichrists, general, not definite article, many antichrists, plural, have come by which you know it is the last hour.
What John is telling us is what I just explained. Along with this general apostasy that has been present in every age, there have been many antichrists, those who oppose Christ, who have been encouraging this apostasy in every age, but there will come someday the big one, not one of these little antichrists of which there have been hundreds and thousands. You could call them false teachers, you could call them false prophets, you could call them anybody who is opposed to Christ and tries to lead other people away from him, but one day there is going to come the big one, the antichrist, and that is what Paul is talking about here, the man of sin, the lawless one.
He is the man of sin or lawlessness, which means he is the embodiment of lawlessness. All fallen sons and daughters of Adam have rebellion in our hearts, lawlessness in our hearts. We don't like to be under law. We don't like to be under authority. We don't like to be under restraint.
We don't like to have to obey anybody and particularly not God. But this one, when he comes, he is going to exhibit this in the most blatant, the most obvious, the most public, the most defiant manner that has ever occurred. This is the big one. The man of lawlessness, the embodiment of lawlessness. He is, we are told here, the man. Anthropos is the word, and that's a word that is used of a human being, a human man. And though I have listened respectfully to those who teach that this man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2 is not an individual, it is different things I proposed, the papacy for one as it goes on over many centuries and other possibilities. At this point, in my understanding, I continue to think and study and listen and I've heard some very almost completely persuasive and convincing presentations along that line, but I backed away from them because as I study this passage, it just seems very clear to me that Paul is talking about an individual, a man, a real life human being, one man who is going to fit this description.
Not a principle, not a system, not a succession of men. And this man is going to be revealed, we are told. That means the veil is going to be pulled back. He was there for a period of time, but at the proper time, the veil is pulled back for him to be exposed, which is exactly the same word that is used of the coming of Jesus Christ. He's going to be revealed. He's there in his splendor, deity, glory in heaven, and then at the proper time, the veil is going to be pulled back and he's going to be revealed for who he truly is.
The world is going to see him. Well, before that happens, this man of sin is going to be revealed. He's described as the son of perdition. That description is used of only two people in the Bible.
Do you know who the other one is? Judas. Jesus called Judas the son of perdition in John 17, 12. Son of perdition, it means son of destruction, one doomed to destruction. Judas is a man of perdition. This antichrist is the man of perdition.
He is already marked out for eternal destruction. Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped. He opposes with strong opposition with a determination to eliminate anything and everything that is loyal to God. He exalts himself above all that is called God. He exalts himself with excessive self-promotion above all that is called God or that is worshiped. In other words, he not only opposes Christianity and the God of the Christian Bible, but he opposes all religions of every kind anywhere. He's determined that he is going to be the only one worshiped in all the world.
And we're told he sits as God in the temple of God. What temple? Some believe that this will be the literal Jewish temple rebuilt in Jerusalem during the tribulation period. Maybe so. There's not a lot of time for that to happen, but it could happen quickly, I suppose.
Sometimes construction projects are amazing. There's no temple there now. But if that's true, that doesn't point very strongly toward, I'm getting ahead of myself here a bit, doesn't point very strongly toward a pre-tribulation rapture because we've got to have all this happen first. Maybe it's not the literal tribulation temple. Some believe that this is a phrase that is symbolic that summarizes all the acts of blasphemy, kind of rolls them into one phrase. One of the most blasphemous things anybody could do would be to sit themselves up in the temple of God.
Whether this is figurative, whether this is literal, I frankly do not know. But I do know that this one does commit the greatest and most blatant and infamous acts of blasphemy against God that anybody has ever done. He does all this, we read, showing himself that he is God.
He claims to be God and he demands exclusive worship for himself. So we're talking about the corrective to the error. Number one, know that something must come first. Number two, know what to be looking for, two things, the great apostasy and the antichrist to appear. Number three, know what your Bible teaches. Be anchored in God's word.
And that's the force of verse five. Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? Don't you remember my apostolic teaching? It hasn't been all that long ago when I, Paul, was personally present with you and taught you accurately about the second coming of Christ with a lot of details, very obviously. I taught you these things. I now remind you of them. I call you back to them again.
We wish we knew everything that Paul taught, but we do know that Paul gave them the absolute truth in his apostolic teaching. But they are having trouble with it. They're forgetting it. Don't you remember?
Don't you remember what I taught you? And Paul's former teaching is being overshadowed by the present error. This latest phenomenon that came along, wherever it came from, false prophecy, false messenger, counterfeit epistle, wherever it came from, it had strong impact. It was the latest phenomenon, the latest fan. Have you heard this?
Have you considered this? Wow, this is new. This is great. This is recent.
This is more sensational. This came from a more charismatic teacher. Paul, we know from his own descriptions, was not a particularly arresting preacher in his style and in his presence. There were others much more personable than he was.
He himself says so. Some of them were good men, like Apollos and Peter, who were much more personable than Paul. But that means that false teachers could come along with a charismatic personality with a great magnetism about them and suck people in by their personality so that people were more impressed by the personality than they were by the accuracy of what they taught.
There are a lot of people that way in our day, aren't they? There wouldn't be so many false teachers if that were not true. But Paul says sweep all that aside and remember what you've been taught.
In other words, divine revelation must be constantly reviewed. I gave it to you a few months ago. Now you are being deceived by something else. Go back to what you know. Go back to what I taught you.
Review it. New claims when they come along must be tested by divine revelation because the familiar is sometimes just, it becomes almost like wallpaper. You become so familiar with it you don't pay it much attention.
You think you know it. You don't give it a lot of study and then something comes along and takes your attention away from it and before you know it you're being swept along by every wind of doctrine. Get back. Go back and study the wallpaper again.
Go back to the former teaching. Get back to the divine revelation. Get back to the infallible word of the living God. Now I think I have time for a few lessons out of this passage.
That's my exposition of it. Lesson number one is just this reminder of the multiplicity of errors that were already circulating in Paul's day. How much more in our day when we've had 2,000 years for them to develop. Errors in regard to Christian doctrine are numerous. Errors in regard to Christian doctrine come from a multiplicity of sources even as they did in Paul's day.
And many in our day are easily deceived by error and that's why we have to keep going back to the word of God. Now I'll get to in a moment the importance of sound doctrine but I don't want to not have enough time to deal at least with some thoroughness though of necessary brevity about what this says about the timing of the rapture. Now I'm going to quote one of the pre-tribulation authors that I read and I respect this man. And he said, and I quote, the day of the Lord begins after the rapture and includes the tribulation and the millennium. The day of the Lord begins after the rapture and includes the tribulation and the millennium. Now here's Paul dealing with these people about their error concerning the day of the Lord as if it's already come. And Paul says, let no one deceive you, it will not come unless. How are you going to make that fit the pre-tribulation rapture position? I guess what basically you have to do is say, well, Paul doesn't really mean you. Because to me, I'm just simplistic. I'm no deep thinker. It just seems obvious to me that all Paul would have to say is, look folks, you're still here, it hasn't come.
Duh. If the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him and the beginning of the day of the Lord all begins with the rapture of the saints, so the first thing is you're going to go up, you're going to get out of here before any of these things really develop, then why am I trying to say all these things to encourage and comfort you? All I've got to say is your presence on planet Earth is the proof that Christ hasn't come in this way. He hasn't come in the way that the pre-tribulation rapture position teaches, because if He had, they wouldn't be there. And then who's Paul speaking to?
Well, the two people who are saved during the tribulation and so forth. But that doesn't follow the flow of the passage as I see it. I just struggle with that. I struggle with that.
I will just raise this issue, and I understand it is a concern. I don't have time to deal with it thoroughly. But I do understand that if you don't accept the pre-tribulation rapture position and think that Paul is saying, as it seems to me he is saying, that these things have got to come first before Christ returns, then you've got to struggle with the question of imminence. How does this fit into the doctrine of imminence, the any-moment return of Christ, if in fact there are these signs that must come first? We're not looking for the coming of Christ. We're looking for the coming of the antichrist.
I understand that objection. And all I can say about it at this time is I would just encourage you to study all the passages in Scripture that talk about something happening quickly and realize an awful lot of them are puzzling. They don't all fit into what the language seems to indicate. There's something about coming quickly, something about something happening soon that doesn't sound in the Scripture the way it sounds to our ears today.
That's as much as I can say, because I really don't have a thorough answer for that. I'm just dealing with what seems apparent to me in this passage. Which brings me then to the importance of sound doctrine. Just to remind you folks, you can't go by tradition, what you've been taught all your life. Nor you can't live the Christian life successfully by emotions.
This is the way I feel about it. We must give ourselves to doctrine. We must give ourselves to the study of God's word and keep it up all the rest of our lives. That brings me to my final lesson about studying the Bible and about Bible interpretation.
And I want to say two things. What we've got to be careful of is that we are employing, and I've used these terms before but I remind you of them, we have to be sure that we are employing exegesis, not eisegesis. What does that mean? Exegesis means drawing out of the passage what is actually there. Eisegesis means putting into the passage what we think ought to be there, but it isn't there. Ex means out of. We have that in our word exit.
We've got exit signs all around the auditorium. You know what that means? It means this is the way out. It means out. Exegesis is drawing out of the scriptures what God put in them.
Eisegesis, some pronounce that word ace, whatever it is, eisegesis means into. It's another Greek preposition, into. And it's awful easy to take our ideas of what we think a passage ought to say and we read it and we see those things in there and we just kind of reshuffle things and make it fit our presuppositions and voila, no problem here, but you didn't get that out of the passage, you put that into the passage.
You've got to be careful. And that is linked closely to my second point about Bible interpretation. You've heard this before as well and that is context is king. If you're not sure how something should be understood, keep looking at it, not in isolation, one phrase, one word, even one verse, but keep connecting it with what goes before and behind because the context is critical. You've got a word, well you could find a Greek dictionary that would give you a definition for that word that would fit what you would like that passage to say, but it seems to be very awkward in the context.
See, every Greek word has a range of meanings, like every English word. I've got a big dictionary, one in my office that is so big I keep it on a stand because I can't pick it up and lug it around, I mean I could, but it's just very awkward. I just keep it on a stand where I can turn the pages without having to lift it, it's so big. And if I want to know all the possible definitions for an English word, I go to that one. Most of the time I pull out a smaller one off my shelf, and I know most of you don't even do that anymore, you just Google, but I'm still the old-fashioned kind, so I use books. If I want to know all the definitions, I get the big one, and that doesn't have them all.
If I want them all, I need to go to the Oxford and I don't have one of those, then I'd have to Google. But some English words have 20, 25, 30 definitions. Well, they can't all be the right definition in this particular place where that word is used in whatever I'm reading. So how do I decide of those 25 or 30 different possibilities, what is the meaning of the word not anywhere, but what is the meaning of the word here? Context decides. Read it in its context and find which of those possible definitions fits the context. Beyond that, I'm not dogmatic about the meaning of this passage.
I give you what I think it means, what I've come to at this point in my study and understanding. I'm respectful of other positions. I'm not going to fuss at anybody.
I'm not going to deride anybody. I'm not going to pressure anybody. You may be able to help me to come to a different understanding, but don't all bombard me at once.
I can only handle so many emails and so many books. But let's just all be humble students together. When we get to heaven, we'll all agree. Shall we pray? Father, thank you for your word. Help us to understand it. Help us to be Christ-like in our use of it as we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-22 04:14:20 / 2023-08-22 04:30:17 / 16