​MANUAL OR GUIDLINE

 

To this day in the American South, there are groups of Christians who take literally the passage in Mark 16:17, 18 where Jesus said, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;" "They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

When Jesus said these words, did He intend that we should bring snakes into our church services? You may have seen this bumper sticker: "God said it; I believe it, and that settles it." After all, if God knows all and has shared the truth with us, and we believe it, so shouldn't that settle all questions? Well, it's not quite that simple, as it turns out.

​RESOURCES

 

The following links are God given scriptures and other writings that will further provide you understanding about God's instructions to us.

 

For more information please contact us and don't forget to pray for His insight and don't rely on your personal feelings.

Not A Manual

Many of the same people who sport this bumper sticker like to refer to the Bible as "God's instruction manual for humanity." There's a sense in which that statement is true, because Christians do derive principles for living good lives from the Bible. However, we're also fortunate that it's not actually an instruction manual. Why? First of all, because instruction manuals rarely make good reading material. Honestly, they're more likely to put us to sleep in the daytime than keep us turning pages at night.

Second, considering that the most recently written books in the Bible are nearly 2,000 years old, we can't expect them to have much to say about such recent issues as the Internet, tobacco, or the moral issues involved with in vitro fertilization and organ transplants. These are just a few of the things that simply didn't exist all those years ago.

If we want guidance for today, we cannot read the Bible like a literal instruction manual in a "place tab A in slot B" manner. It requires some effort on our part. Rather than being like an instruction manual, the Bible contains many kinds of literature, including riveting narratives, lyrical poetry and deeply romantic prose. Even where passages of instruction do exist, they may contain figurative language and symbolism. And, as we have seen, they address the common ethical and moral issues of the Bible writers' day, most of which do concern us, but so do other issues that the Bible writers never knew about. When it comes to some of the instructive passages, it isn't always obvious how literally they should be understood.


Perspective

Clearly, God wants us to use our reason in understanding His Word. But we can reason ourselves into mistakes. So, as a safeguard, we should always pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our reason as we study, to help us see God's perspective. We should read large passages and broad themes as well as the small details. This will give us a broader textual perspective that's precise and clear.

It's also wise to share our interpretations with others in order to get their point of view. Not every thing that makes sense to me makes sense to others. And Peter reminds us "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." 2 Peter 1:20 None of us has a monopoly on reason. We also know that there is safety in seeking counsel from more than one person. (See Proverbs 11:14) Before we do something like picking up a poisonous snake to validate our faith or injuring ourselves physically, we should consider whether others find our reasoning compelling. The Bible is not a dull, stuffy instruction manual but rather a rich combination of various modes of literary expression; a divinely inspired and fully human book that can engage every part of us, including our minds.

 

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