Chapter 2 - Being's Out Of Context
Last week I left you off with a general feeling of just giving up on battling a war of context with those who take the Bible out of context. I think that's still generally the best choice, as someone who believe's, "God told me so." isn't ever going to change their mind to anything you say. You're just a puny human, their God told them so.
Rife With Strife
Much can be said about the bad interpretation of every religion I mentioned last week. Let's take this week to focus on how we can each become better human beings. The Bible is the best plan we have in this regard. the problem is we always let our massive selfish ego's get in the way of productively learning from it. Take a favorite passage from Mormonism, backing up their belief that we should baptize for the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:29 (bible.com - ASV)
Else what shall they do that are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?
Should we take the Calvinist approach to this problem and agree with the Mormon's that the context of this verse is self-contained and within this two sentence stanza? Or should we do what I suggested last week and read the whole letter to understand better the context that Paul is talking about?
My take from reading this and other letters from Paul is that he's talking about the living, being dead in sin and being baptized to made whole and alive in Christ. The Mormon interpretation is not only wildly out of context, it has no context. The Jews didn't baptize for the dead, and neither did early Christians. The bible outside of this ONE verse, says nothing about people baptizing in proxy for their dead relatives.
Much Ado About Works
I find it intriguing that there is so much strife between the various sects of Christianity based on the Works paradigm. (beyond the totally false gospels of Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists. They deny the Godhead.) You can see that this battle raged even in the early days of the Church. While James did believe we are saved by faith, he also did feel it was meaningless if it didn't produce good works.
What are works, what were the writers talking about?
This is where context of TIME, is crucial. The early church was made up of Jews and Gentiles. The "works" they spoke of was the belief among Jewish Christians that you had to follow the law, the Mitzvot, to be saved. Paul, a former Jew argued against that as it impeded God's grace spreading to Gentiles. it's what God wanted.
However, the Law, our works to complete them, are still crucial. As I said last week, your faith and God's grace should change you. It should compel you to do God's will, follow God's law and complete "good works." Real saving grace, without works, is dead. I'll end this chapter with quotes from Christ showing that he had no intent of destroying the law. If you want to see that, read the context. He always made the law stricter than it is in the Torah.
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!"
“Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”Mathew 22:36- 40