Misinterpreting God's Word

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
In recent studies on what constitutes faithful preaching, I was reviewing the Westminster Larger Catechism (Q. 159 in particular). However, I also noticed something interesting with respect to what the Catechism teaches about the Third Commandment. This commandment requires us to employ God's Word in a holy and reverent manner and forbids us to misinterpret, misapply or pervert it in any way. What a humbling thought this is for preachers of the word as well as readers of the word. Indeed all of us on the PB ought to consider humbly how we do break this commandment even in holding or maintaining our opinions which are contrary to God's Word. I am thankful for the framers of the Catechism who took such great pains to exposit God's Word so faithfully. May we all be mindful of this directive from Paul to ministers in particular:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2.15

Q112: What is required in the third commandment?
A112: The third commandment requires, That the name of God, his titles, attributes,[1] ordinances,[2] the word,[3] sacraments,[4] prayer,[5] oaths,[6] vows,[7] lots,[8] his works,[9] and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought,[10] meditation,[11] word,[12] and writing;[13] by an holy profession,[14] and Answerable conversation,[15] to the glory of God,[16] and the good of ourselves,[17] and others.[18]

1. Matt. 6:9; Deut. 28:58; Psa. 29:2; 68:4; Rev. 15:3-4
2. Mal. 1:14; Eccl. 5:1
3. Psa. 138:2
4. I Cor. 11:24-25, 28-29
5. I Tim. 2:8
6. Jer. 4:2
7. Eccl. 5:2, 4-6
8. Acts 1:24, 26
9. Job 36:24
10. Mal. 3:16
11. Psa. 8:1, 3-4, 9
12. Col. 3:17; Psa. 105:2, 5
13. Psa. 102:18

14. I Peter 3:15; Micah 4:5
15. Phil. 1:27
16. I Cor. 10:31
17. Jer. 32:39
18. I Peter 2:12

Q113: What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
A113: The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God's name as is required;[1] and the abuse of it in an ignorant,[2] vain,[3] irreverent, profane,[4] superstitious,[5] or wicked mentioning, or otherwise using his titles, attributes,[6] ordinances,[7] or works,[8] by blasphemy,[9] perjury;[10] all sinful cursings,[11] oaths,[12] vows,[13] and lots;[14] violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful;[15] and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful;[16] murmuring and quarreling at,[17] curious prying into,[18] and misapplying of God's decrees [19] and providences;[20] misinterpreting,[21] misapplying,[22] or any way perverting the word, or any part of it,[23] to profane jests,[24] curious or unprofitable Questions,[25] vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines;[26] abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms,[27] or sinful lusts and practices;[28] the maligning,[29] scorning,[30] reviling,[31] or any wise opposing of God's truth, grace, and ways;[32] making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends;[33] being ashamed of it,[34] or a shame to it, by unconformable,[35] unwise,[36] unfruitful,[37] and offensive walking,[38] or backsliding from it.[39]

1. Mal. 2:2
2. Acts 17:23
3. Prov. 30:9
4. Mal. 1:6-7, 12; 3:14
5. I Sam. 4:3-5; Jer. 7:4, 9-10, 14, 31; Col. 2:20-22
6. II Kings 18:30, 35; Exod. 5:2; Psa. 139:20
7. Psa. 50:16-17
8. Psa. 1:16-17
9. Isa. 5:12
10. II Kings 19:22; Lev. 24:11
11. Zech. 5:4; 8:17
12. I Sam. 17:43; II Sam. 16:5
13. Jer. 5:7; 23:10
14. Deut. 23:18; Acts 23:12, 14
15. Esth. 3:7; 9:24; Psa. 22:18
16. Psa. 24:4, Ezek. 17:16, 18-19
17. Mark 6:26; I Sam. 25:22, 32-34
18. Rom. 9:14, 19-20
19. Deut. 29:29
20. Rom. 3:5, 7; 6:1-2
21. Eccl. 8:11; 9:3; Psa. ch. 39
22. Matt. 5:21-48
23. Ezek 13:22

24. II Peter 3:16; Matt. 22:24-31
25. Isa. 22:18; Jer. 23:34, 36, 38
26. I Tim. 1:4, 6-7; 6:4-5, 20; II Tim. 2:14; Titus. 3:9
27. Deut. 18:10-14; Acts 19:13
28. II Tim. 4:3-4; Rom. 13:13-14; I Kings 21:9-10; Jude 1:4
29. Acts 13:45; I John 3:12
30. Psa. 1:1; II Peter 3:3
31. I Peter 4:4
32. Acts 4:18; 13:45-46, 50; 19:9; I Thess 2:16; Heb. 10:29
33. II Tim. 3:5; Matt. 6:1-2, 5, 16; 23:14
34. Mark 8:38
35. Psa. 73:14-15
36. I Cor. 6:5-6; Eph. 5:15-17
37. Isa. 5:4; II Peter 1:8-9
38. Rom. 2:23-24
39. Gal. 3:1, 3; Heb. 6:6
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
:amen: and :amen:

I am so appreciative of those who have gone before us, in laboring in the Word, and building on that foundation. We truely do stand on their shoulders.
 

~~Susita~~

Puritan Board Junior
:amen::ditto::amen:

We need to pray more for the modern "Church." Pray that true men of God will rise up in the Church and preach the Word, in season and out of season.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Thanks to Bob Howes for pointing this out!

Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
Further study leads me to conclude that the proof texts given in the source that I used for that thread (A Puritans Mind) are incorrect.

The correct numbering from the list is really 22-24 rather than 21-23.

That will make a big difference in studying what the Assembly is teaching here.

22. Matt. 5:21-48 (misinterpreting)
23. Ezek 13:22 (misapplying)
24. II Peter 3:16; Matt. 22:24-31 (perverting)

Sorry for the confusion.
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
(Strange that the thread was updated that way.)

I don't find anything in my Bible that says its OK to change God's word, to get it wrong, and to teach other to believe heretical or bad doctrine. As a matter of fact, when people misinterpret God's Word (which every false teacher does) they are called "false teachers", "False shepherds" and the "lead people astray" and seal their own "destruction".

Take a moment to THINK: every false teacher misinterprets the Word of God. Misinterpreting the Word is SIN of the highest order. This is one reason why we have false religion throughout the world.

There are literally hundreds of Scriptures that deal with changing God's word and demonstrating that change to be the epitome of calling God a liar, or thinking that we are smarter than God, or that we have the right to be wrong about God's word. To misinterpret the Word is to break the third commandment. Start with studying the third commandment and what it means to attach God's name to His Word.

At NO TIME do we ever have the right to be wrong about the Word of God. Better yet, why not start right from the beginning (the garden temptation and Eve's changing of God's Word) and listen to a sermon about twisting the Words of God - it was the occasion of the FALL:

April 16, 2006
The Temptation - Part 1, Genesis 3:1-7,
by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon
http://www.christcovenantrpc.org/AudioSermons.htm
 

BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Matthew, I gotta fly. I'll answer your post tonight. Just know that I'm not promoting wrong interpretation, etc. I don't understand how you got that idea.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Matt,

Thanks for your comments.

Originally posted by C. Matthew McMahon
(Strange that the thread was updated that way.)

See this concurrent thread. Bob brought to my attention that the numbering of the proof texts for WLC 113 on A Puritans Mind is slightly off; hence, the correction noted in my thread.

I don't find anything in my Bible that says its OK to change God's word, to get it wrong, and to teach other to believe heretical or bad doctrine. As a matter of fact, when people misinterpret God's Word (which every false teacher does) they are called "false teachers", "False shepherds" and the "lead people astray" and seal their own "destruction".

Take a moment to THINK: every false teacher misinterprets the Word of God. Misinterpreting the Word is SIN of the highest order. This is one reason why we have false religion throughout the world.

There are literally hundreds of Scriptures that deal with changing God's word and demonstrating that change to be the epitome of calling God a liar, or thinking that we are smarter than God, or that we have the right to be wrong about God's word. To misinterpret the Word is to break the third commandment. Start with studying the third commandment and what it means to attach God's name to His Word.

At NO TIME do we ever have the right to be wrong about the Word of God. Better yet, why not start right from the beginning (the garden temptation and Eve's changing of God's Word) and listen to a sermon about twisting the Words of God - it was the occasion of the FALL:

April 16, 2006
The Temptation - Part 1, Genesis 3:1-7,
by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon
http://www.christcovenantrpc.org/AudioSermons.htm

:amen:
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
J.G. Vos comments:

1. Why is it sinful to misinterpret the Bible? Misinterpretation of the Bible is sinful because it proceeds not merely from our limitation as finite human beings, but especially from the corruption of our hearts and darkening of our minds that have resulted from the fall of the human race into sin. We should realize that error, being the opposite of truth, is sinful in itself. It is because of people's sinful hearts and darkened minds that they misinterpret God's Word.

2. What is meant by "misapplying" and "perverting" God's Word? "Misapplying" God's Word includes all use of it apart from its true meaning and proper purpose as the revelation of God's will to man. The person who admires and reads the Bible merely because it is great literature is guilty of misapplying God's Word. The atheist who studies the Bible in order to try to prove it untrue is guilty of misapplying God's Word. Mary Baker Eddy's notorious book, Science and Health with the Key to the Scriptures, is an example of misapplying and perverting God's Word in such a way as to make it seem to support the false system of "Christian Science." The person who advocates the teaching of the Bible merely for its moral lessons, apart from its revelation of the way of salvation through Jesus Christ the Mediator, is guilty of misapplying and perverting God's Word; the moral teachings of the Bible are rooted and grounded in the Bible's religious message, and must not be divorced from Christ's work of redemption; to teach the Bible in such a way as to make it seem to have an ethical message apart from Christ's redemption is to misapply and pervert the Word of God, by using it in a way for a purpose which are alien to its true meaning and purpose.

Thomas Ridgeley comments:

5. Persons are said to break this commandment [third commandment] by murmuring, quarrelling at, curiously prying into, and misapplying God's decrees or providences, or perverting what he has revealed in his word. In other words, we break it when we apply things sacred to profane uses, and have not a due regard to the glory of God contained in them; or when we pervert scripture, by making use of its sacred expressions in our common discourse, as some make the scripture the subject of their profane wit and drollery. This conduct is certainly a taking of God's name in vain. It is added, that we are guilty of this sin by maintaining false doctrines, that is, when we pretend that any doctrine is from God, when it is not, or that he makes himself known by it, when it is altogether disowned by him.
 

BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by joshua
Originally posted by BaptistCanuk
Matthew, I gotta fly. I'll answer your post tonight. Just know that I'm not promoting wrong interpretation, etc. I don't understand how you got that idea.

It's not that we think you're actively promoting misinterpretation. We're simply trying to aptly answer the questions you've raised concerning misinterpretation being sinful. :handshake:

Thanks Joshua. :handshake:
 

BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by C. Matthew McMahon
(Strange that the thread was updated that way.)

I don't find anything in my Bible that says its OK to change God's word, to get it wrong, and to teach other to believe heretical or bad doctrine. As a matter of fact, when people misinterpret God's Word (which every false teacher does) they are called "false teachers", "False shepherds" and the "lead people astray" and seal their own "destruction".

I don't find it in my Bible either. However I did find where Paul said "we see through a glass darkly", which I believe means that we all see some aspect of the truth from God's Word but nobody sees everything. If we did, we would not need the Church to teach us and we would not have all the various denominations that we have. I don't believe misinterpreting makes one a false teacher. Teaching error makes one a false teacher. Misinterpreting and teaching are not the same things.

Take a moment to THINK: every false teacher misinterprets the Word of God. Misinterpreting the Word is SIN of the highest order. This is one reason why we have false religion throughout the world.

I have THOUGHT, thank you. Every false teacher misinterprets the Word of God but not everyone who misinterprets is a false teacher. Not everyone is a teacher. If misinterpreting the Word is SIN of the highest order then why should I study it when I can go to the people who are always right about everything and have never made an interpretation mistake? :down:

There are literally hundreds of Scriptures that deal with changing God's word and demonstrating that change to be the epitome of calling God a liar, or thinking that we are smarter than God, or that we have the right to be wrong about God's word. To misinterpret the Word is to break the third commandment. Start with studying the third commandment and what it means to attach God's name to His Word.

How is misinterpreting, changing the Word? Have you ever misinterpreted God's Word? If yes, how do you know? If not, how do you know?

At NO TIME do we ever have the right to be wrong about the Word of God. Better yet, why not start right from the beginning (the garden temptation and Eve's changing of God's Word) and listen to a sermon about twisting the Words of God - it was the occasion of the FALL:

I'm not taking too kindly to you accusing me of twisting the Word of God. Making an interpretation mistake is not twisting the Word of God. Brother, I'm not a genius but twisting infers that one KNOWS the Word and is subsequently changing it for one's own evil purpose. How you can equate that to someone who loves God and reads reverently but still makes an interpretation mistake being a false teacher and committing the greatest of sins is beyond me.



[Edited on 4-30-2006 by Scott Bushey]
 
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