Citing the Bible does not make something Biblical.
This is great Tim. Thanks for posting…
You’re quite welcome, Lyndsay. I hope you get a chance to read around a bit at Sarah’s place.
The link wouldn’t work for me, so I typed in Sarah’s name and her piece into the search engine. This brought me to a Feb 28th post on dealing with difficult people. The Scripture I found that she used out of context was:
“And Jesus said –
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. (Matthew 10:14 )”
In context Jesus is speaking of places where they won’t receive the Gospel message, it is not about just dealing with difficult people. While I’m sure Sarah had the best of intentions, you are spot on. She tried to make Scripture say what she wanted it to say and that’s not biblical. The fancy theological word for that is eisegesis. The sad part is there are a lot of Sarahs (and Sams) out there who lead people astray misusing Scripture trying to make it mean what it never meant and that just leads to “one train wreck after another” of people’s lives. The key to correct exegesis and interpretation is context context context.
You’ve got a sharp and astute theological eye Tim which, I’m sure is greatly influenced by your vocation as a judge where context is so important for you to correctly discern situations and rightly divide truth from error. Awesome my Brother!
Thanks for the encouragement, and for catching the broken link, Carlene. Fixed now. You’ll probably like the post it came from.
That other post of Sarah’s you found is not coming to mind but I wonder about that shaking-off-the-dust scene. It was certainly about communities in it’s context, but does that mean it has no application to our more individual relationships? It’s not always eisegesis to extrapolate principles from one context and find them applicable to another.
“It’s not always eisegesis to extrapolate principles from one context and find them applicable to another.”—> I think I need more caffeine before I process what you just said! LOL
I’m already on my second cup!
Carlene, Would you mind sending me the link you viewed? Here’s my post on dealing with difficult people and the verse you’re saying that I took out of context is not one that I used in that piece to my knowledge. http://joyfilleddays.com/how-to-handle-a-relationship-you-wish-would-go-away/
Just curious where you are coming from. Thanks. I’m certainly not above error and would love to correct it if you’d be gracious enough to point me to it. 🙂
Thanks for sharing this, Tim. Although, I have to admit, my quotes are never that profound sounding. lol
There’s plenty of profundity in your writing, Sarah!
Sorry Tim, been very busy cooking all day for our Thanksgiving Sunday since our daughter is working on Thanksgiving Day and I was supposed to be on call. Now at 1 AM my hubby and I have just finished cleaning up. To answer your question, no, it is not always eisegesis to extrapolate principles if it is within the context of the intended meaning. In the case of the referenced passage, it has to do strictly with evangelization and how the Gospel message is received in all 3 Gospels. In Matt. Jesus limits this to dealings with Jews, in Mark we learn further that this was instructions to evangelizing pairs not individual apostles and meant on a corporate level. If any place (not individual people) would not give them an opportunity to preach the Gospel, generally a synagogue, shaking the dust off one’s feet for a testimony against those who were part of the synagogue as a corporate body. Jesus’ sending pairs was intentional because Mosaic Law required the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses in order to make a charge stick (Deut. 19:15). Therefore, on several levels it is not an appropriate for the context for which the author is trying to use it: It is instructions for evangelizing; the application is meant for corporate not individual situations; it’s not for individual use, and certainly doesn’t fit for the situation for which the author used it for. Plenty of application for today in the context of evangelism though.
Sarah, the link I clicked on was the one Tim put in below your name called “Joy filled days.” As to where I’m coming from, call me an evangelist for context. Both from the pulpit and Bible interpretation teacher perspectives, I stress the importance of context as the key to more accurate interpretation. The analogy I use is that as in real estate it’s about location, location location, with the Bible it’s context, context context. This equips you in 2 ways. 1.) It guards you against buying into bad theology and interpretation 2.) It keeps you accountable in and mindful of what you are teaching others. In preaching and teaching throughout the years, I can recall instances where I found a Scripture that seemed to just fit what I was trying to get across, but had to scrap because the context of the passage rendered it totally inappropriate. This is the difference between exegesis (ex–out of) and eisegesis (ei–from me). The former is letting the Scriptures speak out to you. The latter is “I” reading into and interpreting it from my 21st century perspective. Hope that clears it up and thank you for your gracious spirit
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