My Christian experience gets ever so unbelievably disturbing. Christians that are shocked, angered, or dismayed by the conditions of our American society have probably never opened a Bible much less read it. Pharisees have a place in the ivory tower, to make the Scriptures something only the holiest of the holiest can understand. And that is not true. It is the Spirit of God that gives understanding. To gain a college degree requires years of college, but understanding the Scriptures and teaching the Scriptures, does not require any formal education. Attending a school of theology is not required to understand the word of God. It is in that instruction that one learns various biblical interpretations, but that too is not necessarily a need to know. Biblical hermeneutics is the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation. The word most often refers to how to interpret the Bible or other sacred texts from other religions.
Understanding scripture is a lifetime goal. The Pharisees were well versed, extremist in a way in their beliefs. They rejected Jesus. They had the Son of God in their presence and they did not recognize Him. They crucified Him. That does not say much for the pharisaical man.
Recall the rich young ruler? I do.
“As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do so that I may inherit eternal life?” But Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not give false testimony, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth.” Looking at him, Jesus showed love to him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But he was deeply dismayed by these words, and he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property (Mark 10:17-27).”
This rich young ruler had lived his life in obedience to the law, but he was not prepared to do what Jesus was asking of him. What is Jesus Christ asking of us?
2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13
“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
So, who is the real enemy? The enemy loves conspiracy theories. They enjoy giving false hope. They love the praises of men. And yet…
Next: A Tale of Two Stephen’s