Friday, September 16, 2016

Let the Bible Interpret Itself

An old country preacher said, “I sure do love the Bible ‘cause it sheds so much light on these commentaries.” The Bible is a self-explaining book “precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10). Yet some people try so hard to show their education and importance -- they go everywhere but the Bible to find all sorts of explanations. It sure does look funny when the real explanation is right there in the text.

The Needle's Eye
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

Every once in a while, we hear someone trying to pass off the high sounding theory that this meant a gate in Jerusalem, called “The Eye of the Needle,” which a camel could pass through only by crawling on his knees.

That we enter into the Kingdom of God on our knees, I would agree. But that is not the point. Jesus is not talking about something that could be done with difficulty, but of something that was impossible for man. To illustrate this, He chose a large animal and a small opening. It is literally impossible for a camel to pass through the eye of a sewing needle. “But thanks be to God,...The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)

Born Again
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily. I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:4) “Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7)

A great many scholars change “born again” to “born from above.” No doubt we are born from above (John 1:13), but here (vs. 4, 7) the meaning is “again” -- once more, a second time. Nicodemus so understood it, and Jesus did not correct or change that understanding. Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? (v. 4)” Jesus also explained it as a second birth, “Except a man be (1) born of water and (2) of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God (v. 5).” They spoke face to face and Jesus meant and both understood “again” to mean a second time.

These two examples show that answers can be found in the Bible context rather than a commentary, lexicon, or Bible dictionary. This may be too simplistic for the scholarly, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:27) and “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit” (1 Corinthians. 2:10). It has been said many times that the Bible is its own best commentary. Let us pray for divine guidance, search the scriptures daily, and let the Bible interpret itself.

First published in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. II No. 9, April-May 1993, page 1

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