If someone would have told us last year at this time what would happen in the next year, we may have actually laughed at the ridiculousness of it. But here we are. I don’t think I need to review the insane and irrational things we’ve been hearing and watching. But, just for fun (?), I’ll mention a few. (I am avoiding certain words due to censorship, but I think you’ll be able to figure out what I am trying to say.)
–Parents allowing their children to decide if they will be a boy or a girl (and Christians are accused of denying science? It would be comical if it wasn’t so tragic.)
–Abortion at nine months and, in some cases, a few minutes after birth, because, after all, it’s not really a human being until a few minutes after it’s born. (How sick and disturbing is that??)
–A v___cine that has a death rate pretty similar to the actual vi__s it is designed to stop? Only they don’t really know if it’s effective, so we still need to wear masks and social distance, even after we get the v__cine. In fact, we might need to get this shot every year. Or even twice a year.
–A “Christian” apologist who spent his lifetime defending God and the Bible who not only proved to be a false teacher over the past few years, but actually did horrible, unmentionable immoral things–with no sign that there was any repentance even until the day he died (none of us can know what happened on his deathbed. We can only hope there was last-minute repentance.)
–Pastors claiming we need to apologize for being white and pay reparations for the sins of our ancestors.
–The unbelievable paradox in response from certain government representatives to the r____ts from last summer as compared to the r___t from last month. Last summer they were praising and encouraging those who would destroy the lives of so many–which, let’s not forget, included many of the people they were supposedly fighting for. But the other, they are labeling and destroying the lives of not only the people involved but even people who were not anywhere near the vicinity of the second or took any part in it at all. It’s really beyond absurd.
–And, finally, the censorship, peer pressure, and persecution that is ensuring that there is only one allowed opinion. Freedom of speech has all but disappeared in the last six months. People are removed from publicly traded social media companies without notice. Their lives are destroyed without a care. There is zero tolerance for an opinion that does not go along with the mainstream media’s narrative. And NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING TO STOP IT. (If you don’t find this disturbing, no matter which side you are on, I beg you to consider that you will be next. Censorship such as this is an all-consuming fire.)
And that’s just a drop in the bucket, isn’t it? There are a million more things. I’ve talked about some of them already here on the blog. And you probably have heard stories that I haven’t heard. I think we can all agree that it is beyond belief and can be quite overwhelming.
In the midst of this are arguments among Christians about masks and vaccines and politics. We are called to have grace for one another in areas that are not biblical and, yet, that grace has all but disappeared in the heat of these issues. Satan is not only causing chaos in the world, but he is actively causing it in the church, as well.
2020 was strange. 2021 may end up even stranger. In the midst of all of this it is important that we have something to anchor ourselves to. An antidote, per se, for the insanity around us.
When someone is bitten by a poisonous snake, the poison will seep into the body, slowing down and petrifying the systems of the body. The only thing that will save that person is the antidote–a counteracting agent that works against the poison.
Antidote (according to Merriam-Webster)–
1 : a remedy to counteract the effects of poison
2 : something that relieves, prevents, or counteracts
As believers, we have but one antidote in the midst of all of this insanity and that is THE BIBLE. I don’t think we can overstate the importance of this. You see, it is only the Bible we can turn to for absolute truth. It is only the Bible that can provide peace and joy in the midst of the chaos. It is only the Bible that can help us understand what’s going on. It’s only the Bible that actually has prophesied in precise detail about what we are seeing.
Only the Bible can keep us anchored and grounded during these tumultuous times.
It is literally the only thing that can relieve the confusion, anxiety, and fear; it is the only thing that can prevent deception; and it is the only thing that can counteract both the lies and the chaos.
The Bible has brought much comfort and peace over this time. It as also confirmed itself over and over again as we are watching things get set in place for those things prophesied in Revelation. There is a convergence of signs that really should fill us with awe. The Lord told us these things would happen and they are happening!
This antidote will not work, however, if you don’t approach it properly. Just as an antidote for a snakebite won’t work if you don’t administer it correctly, so, too, the Bible must be approached rightly if it is going to have an antidotal effect on us.
First, we actually spend time in the Word. More time than just a cursory reading of a verse or two. We can’t expect to know the Bible and have it affect us in any way if we never actually study and meditate on it.
Second, we humble ourselves and yield our desires and opinions to the Lord as we search the scripture. We even yield our “dislikes” to Him. If we don’t like something we read there, we choose to believe it in faith.
Third, we must approach the Bible with the correct hermeneutic (a big word to describe how we interpret the scriptures). I believe that the literal-grammatical-historical approach is the correct one, as it purports that we read the Bible literally, as it is written, unless the passage demands otherwise and clearly shows itself as allegorical or symbolic. This type of interpretation means that we concern ourselves with authorial intent. What did the author intend to say? It means that we take scripture passages in the context that they are given, reviewing the passages that are before it and after it. There is so much more, but these three specific things have really helped me in my own study. (I will put some more about this after the post for further study if you are interested.)
In many ways, I feel like I’ve been a broken record these past few years. The world is getting crazier. We need to cling to the Bible and only the Bible. That pretty much sums up the over-arching purpose of this blog.
There is one antidote to all of the insanity. And that antidote is the Bible. It is not a blogger, a pastor, an eloquent speaker, an author, a family member, or a teacher. All of these people can and will let you down. While these people can be of great encouragement as we strive to grow, may we keep our focus on the Bible and our loyalty reserved for it alone.
As we all live in the midst of all of this and wonder what is ahead, may we cling to the anchor the Lord has so graciously provided for us. For such a time as this.
More regarding Hermeneutics:
From an interview with Dr. Abner Chou (find the rest of it here)–
How do we know we are studying the Bible rightly?
Sometimes people talk about a “literal-grammatical-historical” method. This examines a text with a view to authorial intent (literal) through the text’s wording and in light of the facts of history. How can we be sure this is the way God wanted us to view a text? After all, the Bible is a supernatural text. Perhaps a different method is warranted.
Initially, we could make an argument based upon the nature of language and communication. In other situations, we do not think twice about reading something this way. We do this with our contracts, emails, and our bank statements! God used human language in writing the Bible and arguably it operates along the same line. An even better approach is to see how the biblical writers themselves read and write. When they use Scripture, they claim it is “according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:1-5), “as it is written,” or “what the prophets have spoken.” They insist their interpretation is not contradicting the language of Scripture but based upon authorial intent. Upon closer examination, the biblical writers read the Bible contextually and with an eye to detail. They link related passages together (Rom 9:25-29), showing they are aware of how the Bible contextually fits together. They also make a theological point based upon a single word (Heb 3-4) or grammatical observation (Gal 3:16).
This demonstrates that the biblical writers themselves believed the Bible is based upon authorial intent and that, because of inspiration (2 Tim 3:16), it is good down to the finest detail. Moreover, they read the text highlighting pertinent historical background (Mark 7:3-4), being sensitive to chronology (Gal 3:17), and even discussing history outright. They believed history helped to explain what they meant. The biblical writers themselves reveal the way they read and wrote Scripture. This then is the way the Bible works and grounds our reading of the biblical text. We read the Bible with a view to authorial intent through grammar and history because the biblical writers first did so for us.
In sum, the Bible comes with “hermeneutics included” and that gives us assurance that we did not make up our approach. Rather, the Bible invites us to read this way.