He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Luke 11:28
When I want to hear what God has to say, I read the bible. However when I go to church the words I hear are not always from the mouth of God. Several opinions of godly men have been written over the last hundred years that have changed the message of God from the pulpit and by church leaders. At the same time the pastorís responsibilities have grown with taking on the task of administrating of the church, in addition to tending the flock. In the attempt to keep the congregation interest, the pastor feels pressured to prepare and present two to three different messages a week.
Presenting several new messages a week places a tremendous strain on the pastor to find new ideas for the next sermon. There is also a time restraint as these messages must be ready at regular scheduled times. Over time preachers become efficient at gleaning ideas from study aids available to them. However these study aids can be misleading and still sound right to anyone who studies them. The outcome is the Pastor preaches the idea the way he understands them which may be misleading his congregation.
Of late my pastor has been teaching on the second coming and he believes that the rapture is different from the second coming. The bible says nothing about rapture or its relationship to the second coming and for this reason we must consider this teaching as one of the opinions turned into gospel and preached as truth. However the danger is that the congregation will believe the pastorís opinion over the scriptures as only a few Christians ever search the scriptures to know if they have been told the truth.
Including myself those who teach the bible mistakenly interpret what they teach because all men are capable of partially understanding Godís word. Letís face the music, men do not have the mind of God and we do not think in the same way as God does.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
God gave mankind the right to think independently of him. However man has not learned to consider that life was not about them but that there millions of other people in the same boat with him. Those people have the same need for respect as we demand from them. Still the majority of things we do are for our own benefit and when we are hurt the way we do things is always right and we blame the other person for what went wrong.
In the same way we interpret the bible from our eyes. In other words we attempt to understand God from our eyes rather than attempting to see or hear what God is expressing. There are always two sides to the story but the real truth is never known until you take time to hear the other personís story.
Our minds are patterned by the way we think and are influenced by what we see and hear going on in the world but we seldom see more than our side of the story. But to be influenced by God our minds have to be set on things above and the truth Godís word represents.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is ó his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
For us to understand God we need to spend time setting our minds on the things of God to transform the way we think. This is a process called renewing our minds. Renewing our minds demands that we learn how God thinks to know his good, pleasing and perfect will. Knowing the way God thinks is the only way you will ever be on the same page with God to learn what pleases the person that will Judge us when we give an account of our lives. It also put us on par with Jesus Christ when he said I know that his command leads to eternal life John 12:50. A renewed mind gives you a clear and unmistakable knowledge that you will spend eternity with the God who loves you in heaven.
We have the inclination to believe what another person says unless we have knowledge to the contrary. When we believe the beliefs of other Christians are we not attempting to know God through another manís opinion? Personal relationships are never built through a surrogate or by proxy which is an indirect method. Rather personal relationships are built in the presence of the other by exercising respect for one another. This face to face meeting has the ability to express and exchange differing ideas. The beauty of these differing ideas is that it gives us something that both of us can agree upon.
Agreement ushers in unity between us and the other person and the group once known as them becomes one of our group. In other words we can bond together in unity and by being of one mind speak the same language and begin to be productive with other people.
The Lord said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Genesis 11:6
The people of Bable were people who joined together and applied their individual efforts for a common goal. When everyone wants to achieve the same objective they learn to plan and work together for the success of their endeavors. Bible interpretation is an individual effort to know Godís plan of Salvation and it is working with God for the success and eternal life. Letís remember that there is a common goal in that you want to be saved as much as God loves you and does not want you to perish.
Itís very difficult to love anyone you cannot understand but making an effort to interpret scriptures literally brings you closer to God through the questions showing your desire to know what God is expressing. Still friends demonstrate their respect and express their love for another person by doing what they know pleases them. The outcome of interpreting the scriptures is to do what pleases the Lord and pleasing the Lord sows the seed of what God will do when he answers your prayers.