I mentioned to some friends that I would be open for them to provide me with some assistance in blogging between now and the Crossan debate, less than a month off, and the first one to submit something was my friend pastor John Samson, aka “SillyBrit2,” a former subject of the British Crown, now a true Yank (he has given up on the Empire ever getting the Colonies back). Here’s his submission:
We would be horrified to hear of a surgeon who had just two weeks of training operating on someone’s brain. As important as brain surgery is, I believe the job of the Gospel preacher is far more important. Eternal souls hang in the balance, and great care and attention is needed to ensure that a teaching is sound, healthy and accurate. A teacher of the Bible needs rigorous training in the science of biblical interpretation (hermeneutics). But that’s not just true for the preacher; everyone of us needs to know how to gain an accurate knowledge of the Word of God.
Some people think that if God wants you to know something about the Bible, He will just reveal it to you supernaturally. Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of cults get started. 1 Tim 5:17 says, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” Correct interpretation requires work; sometimes, a great deal of hard work.
We are also told to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15). Without diligent study, it is easy to wrongly divide the word; to believe and to teach error. The main way this takes place is because we draw illegitimate inferences from the text – when we read into the text things that are not actually said by the text, and draw out of the text things that are actually not there (known as eisegesis). Sadly, this happens all too frequently.