Tuesday, 14 August 2018 00:00

What Does the Scripture Say?

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When a Lawyer asked about inheriting eternal life, Jesus answered didactically with this question:  “What is written in the Law?”.  In response, the Lawyer quoted – verbatim – Deut 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18; and Jesus said this answer was correct.  

When tempted by the devil in the desert, Jesus quoted the Scriptures directly; He did not speculate.  Whenever tested by the Pharisees, Jesus referred them to the Scriptures and reasoned deductively, showing the plain meaning* of the Scriptures as foundational to His arguments.  In the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles, phrases like, “the Scriptures say”, “it is written”, and “have you not read” appear perhaps 170 times!  In every instance, the plain reading of the Scripture is clearly intended. 

Now the New Testament writers never read alternative meanings into the Scriptures.  However, fallen Man apparently has a propensity to do exactly that:  misinterpret the Scriptures by marginalizing their plain reading, and substitute alternative meanings that superimpose pet ideas; thereby he deceives himself.  This occurs often because he simply does not believe the plain reading of the Scripture:  it is easy for us to judge the Scripture by our own thoughts and observations rather than taking Hebrews 4:12 to heart. 

Is it then reasonable to presume that someone who is not an expert in ancient Hebrew can veraciously impose alternative meanings on Hebrew words and phrases, thus amending the plain reading of a scriptural passage?  In a proper translation, the words have already been defined in context, and the phrases interpreted, usually by a consortium of top-level Hebrew experts.  As proof of veracity, we find excellent agreement among all of the venerated translations, which were largely resolved independently of one another.  Therefore, the plain reading of a proper translation of any Biblical passage is the most reliable; and it is not subject to our own preconceived notions. 

Applying these understandings, we see that the narrative of Genesis chapter 1 definitively shows the creation to have taken place in six literal days – from the inception of a universal blob to the cessation of the Lord’s miraculous creationary process in its minutest detail.  And, the six days of Creation are again specified in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17, written in stone by the finger of God.  No scripture, anywhere, contradicts the six literal days. 

Moreover, the timeline of the creation account is monolithic and cannot be protracted.  Hebrews 1:10, says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands” (NIV), referring to Genesis 1:1, the inception of the creation.  And in Mark 10:6 Jesus says, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female’” (NIV), a clear reference to Genesis 1:27; which then places the creation of Man at the same beginning as the foundations of the creation. 

But won’t a strict adherence to the six days of creation drive people away from Christ?  NO!  It is the same Holy Spirit who witnesses both to the resurrection of Christ Jesus, and to the Creation.  He will not bare witness to a lie; He will not bare witness to any supposed creation account that detracts from or adds to the plain reading of the scriptures.  Jesus expresses it this way:  “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” – Luke 16:31 (NIV). 

* Plain reading takes into account the intent of the passage.  For example, when Jesus spoke in parables, we know from the context that the act of Him telling the parable was historical narrative but the parable itself was not.  Similarly, the plain reading of the creation account shows it to be historical narrative and neither poetry nor allegory.  Linguistic studies (even with computer analysis) confirm this; and scholars of ancient Hebrew almost unanimously agree that the creation account is historical narrative. 


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Rob Bracken

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