20To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20, King James Version)
18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19, King James Version)
Is commentary really needed?
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My comment may not be necessary, but I would like to say that the verse quoted from Isaiah 8:20 is one of my favorite in the Bible. It is the litmus test of any church, minister, doctrine, or idea: Check the Bible and believe what God says.
I agree whole-heartedly with author; It seperates the honest from the dishonest when it comes to what the Scriptures actually say and reveal–Vs. those who just espouse their own ideas about what Scripture says and decieve the simple-minded.
@ author; "Check the Bible and believe what God says."
What difference will this make if someone–as anonymous indicates–is prone to come up with their own ideas of what that particular scipture might mean? we are told not to privately interpret the bible–but many in the ministry and also members of the COG have been doing this for years and preaching heresy.
Even people who claim to be led by the spirit of God do not understand nor teach the scriptures the same–but Paul said we are to be of the same mind! what do you do when you know the guy setting next to you in Church does not believe the bible the same way you do?
How do you apply that scripture (Isa.8:20) to try and help him?
“What difference will this make if someone–as anonymous indicates–is prone to come up with their own ideas of what that particular scipture might mean?”
We can certainly arrive at different conclusions, and none of us will understand all things perfectly in this life (1 Corinthians 13:9, 12). Yet, as we submit to God by being willing to believe and strive to obey what He says, God will help us understand more and more as time goes on, and we will grow in our knowledge of the Bible as God helps us understand by the power of His Spirit (Psalm 111:10, 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, John 14:26, 2 Peter 3:18). As time goes on, we will understand the Bible more and more accurately, IF we submit to God.
“we are told not to privately interpret the bible”
The scripture that is often used to support the idea of not privately interpreting the Bible is 2 Peter 1:20: “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation”. Some ministers have used this verse to teach that the Church and the ministry is to interpret the Bible for the members. Yet the next verse shows that this does not refer to the reading of the Bible but the writing of it, that the prophets who wrote were not writing from their private understanding of events, but God was inspiring them what to write: “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (is 2 Peter 1:21). I think Mr. Armstong spoke correctly when he said we should let the Bible intepret itself.
“but many in the ministry and also members of the COG have been doing this for years and preaching heresy.”
This is true, and God is judge over who are open-mindedly trying to understand and believe the Bible for what it really says and who are reading it in an attitude of putting their own ideas into the Bible and who are not really submitting to God.
“Even people who claim to be led by the spirit of God do not understand nor teach the scriptures the same–but Paul said we are to be of the same mind! what do you do when you know the guy setting next to you in Church does not believe the bible the same way you do?”
I think the ministry has the authority, not to command us what to believe, but to set the official teachings of the Church so there is no confusion with different ministers and member teaching different things. In other words, if you disagree with the ministry on a point of doctrine, you can take it to them, but if it is not resolved, then keep quiet about it and keep in between you and God. In time, God will show the ministry it is wrong or you that you are wrong, but don’t spread your idea to other members and criticize the ministry.
“How do you apply that scripture (Isa.8:20) to try and help him?”
I think there is a role for teaching others within the boundaries of the official teaching of the fellowship we attend with. So if you are attending UCG (or COGWA or any group), and a members confides in you that he does not understand a particular doctrine of that group, and you do understand it, you can help him by explaining it from the scriptures. But I think the primary application of Isaiah 8:20 is for each of us individually. Isaiah 8:20 is telling you and me that if we want to know if a certain group, teaching, or doctrine is true, we are to go to the Bible and see for ourselves.