Study Bibles, commentaries and confusion

Posted: March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

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The sad thing about commentaries is how they can influence believers and doctrine. It must be understood that ALL commentaries by anyone, preacher or pastor or prophet, are based on OPINIONS of what they believe is true and sometimes they can be correct (to a degree) or, they can be error, which leads to greater Biblical error. Commentaries can be influenced or influence how people perceive truth, especially when it comes to end time events.

Most all commentaries, from Dake to Swaggart to Perry Stone, they are all based on their own, unique opinions and rooted in tradition. But are they correct on all matters pertaining to the word or prophecy? No, they are not.

The word of God stands on its own, meaning, you do not need commentary on the word when the word speaks for itself. Yet, men pride themselves in having their commentaries promoted as if they have the absolute truth – but they don’t – they simply have opinion. That is the difference and where we can get into all sorts of problems when we read the word WITH someone’s personal slant.

The best thing we can do is to read the Bible without the crutch (commentaries) and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into where we need to grow, it will come by itself. That is the perfect work of the Holy Spirit. The scriptures are not for private interpretation, meaning, one man (or woman) has their own unique brand on any one part of scripture. The way we interpret scripture is by scripture, if someone is called to teach, let them teach from the word.

Does this mean that all commentaries are wrong? Not at all. While many do attempt to bring about a true desire to explore the word and expound on particular subjects, it must also be understood that men will always be fallible, they are subject to error and will error on some degree, meaning, what they might expound on might be based on their traditional, Denominational teachings. Nothing proves this more than when we deal with the world of eschatology.

When or if you read someone’s views on end time eschatology, ask yourself this one question, “Whose teachings were they influenced by?” For most evangelical preachers and evangelists as well as pastors were or are influenced by past Denominational teachings, especially of the pre-tribulation sort. Nothing gets people more confused than the 3 stage theories, they are, (pre, mid and post). Every writer, preacher, teacher and expositor of Biblical truth has a position on the rapture, namely, when the rapture will occur. The problem is when we bring those aspects of teaching theories (and by the way, each 3 stage event are theories) into Biblical teaching, is when we fall into trouble because what happens is, someone begins to teach what they have been taught who, sometime down the past, was taught by someone else who in turn was taught by someone else. See the problem?

So what do we do? What should be our position when it comes to somebodies particular study Bible? The answer is found in 2 Peter 1:20 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.” All scripture was and is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16) and while the word of God is rightly inspired, commentaries are not, they are man’s personal opinion, they might be right, they might be wrong, but they are still subject to error.

So while we can and should read other points of view on a particular subject, get someone’s insight on a particular matter, we must understand that while they might be right from a historical sense of a particular word or subject in the word of God, when they begin to elaborate extra-Biblical opinion into a matter that has already been established in the word (remember, the word stands on its own), that’s when you run into possible trouble, why? Because a man might be right on a subject today, but 25 years from now, they might come to a realization that what they taught or believed then wasn’t the right idea. Yet people were then influenced. That is why every preacher, myself included, must always make sure that what we preach is based on the word, nothing added, nothing subtracted.

So while commentaries can be interesting to read, keep in mind, they are not holy inspired, they are not to be added to the word, irregardless of whose name is attached to the source, the only ting we should preach or teach is the word, not personal opinion. When we understand this, then we can go into someone’s particular study and realize we are simply getting another person’s perspective that may or may not be correct, but we just listen and if it lines up with the word, great, if not, throw it out. Then we’ll be walking in perfect truth.

 

Christopher Gregory

 

 

 

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