See For Yourself

Doug Focht, Jr.

From Growing in Grace, Vol. 1 #18 April 6, 1997

 A great number of people think that the reason for division among religions is that the Bible can be interpreted any way one feels like interpreting it. Well, don’t all so-called "Christian" churches claim to be based on the Bible? And if they can’t agree what the Bible says, how can the average person?

The following statements are based upon what many churches teach or believe. After each statement of belief, Bible verses are offered comment so that you can see for yourself that it isn’t the Bible’s fault that religions are divided. All quotes are from the New King James version of the Bible.

We all are born in sin, because the guilt of Adam & Eve’s sin is passed on through birth.

Ezek. 18:20 "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."

A bishop of the church must not be a married man; OR a bishop of the church may be married, but he does not have to be married.

1 Tim 3:2: "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach…"

Jesus had no brothers or sisters because His mother Mary remained a virgin all her life.

Matt 13:55-56: "Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? "And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?"

Procreation is the only reason for sex in marriage.

1 Cor 7:2-3: "Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband."

Priests are necessary, because they perform important functions as intermediaries between God and men.

1 Pet 2:5: "…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

Rev 1:5-6: "To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen"

A priest is necessary to hear our confessions, and he can absolve us of our sins.

James 5:16: "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."

We can pray to Mary and/or the saints to intercede for us to God.

1 Tim 2:5: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…"

I Jn 2:1: "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins…"

It is good to abstain from certain kinds of foods on religious holidays, and it is good for us to observe certain religious holidays.

Gal 4:9-11: "But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain."

Col 2:16-17: "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ."

1 Tim 4:1-3: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth."

Women can be preachers and teachers and hold church offices, just like men.

1 Tim 2:11-12: "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

1 Cor 14:34-37: "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.

The Bible is too hard for the average person to understand.

John 20:30-31 "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

Rom 15:4: "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."

Eph 3:3-4: "…how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)…"

Col 4:16: "Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."

1 Tim 3:14-15: "These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

Heb 13:22: "And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words."

I Jn 1:4: "And these things we write to you that your joy may be full."

Rev 22:18-19: "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

Well, then, why are there so many different opinions about what the Bible teaches?

Acts 17:11: "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."

2 Pet 3:15-16: "…as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Heb 5:11-14: "…of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Few are Bible scholars who read this bulletin, but certainly you can see that although it may take some work to understand the Bible, it is by no means beyond the capabilities of the average person to understand. If you have managed to read this far, you can see that the Bible’s position on many things is not a popular position in today’s "politically correct" society. (And remember, there were no "interpretations" given along with the Bible texts.) It should not be surprising that churches, not wishing to "go against the tide," find ways around the plain truth of Scripture. Whatever the motivation, the fault of division lies squarely upon the shoulders of men who choose to live by traditions or personal desires rather than submit themselves to the authority of the Scriptures.

Closing thought: Isaiah 66:1–2

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