Sunday, July 17, 2011

Isolated Texts

Sometime back I read an article in a popular evangelical magazine that told of a well-known personality who built his entire ministry on one, isolated passage in the Old Testament about Jabez. This poor man’s life and ministry, we are told, has now crumbled, along with many of his followers. He reportedly has said that the Jabez-type prayer didn’t work.

In almost fifty years of ministering, I have seen many fall into this tempting trap. Some have built an entire method of interpreting the Bible on 2 Timothy 2:15. Others teach the main goal of a Christian is “soul-winning,” based on Proverbs 11:30. The deeper life advocates use Galatians 2:20; and a popular prophetic group use a small, isolated portion of First Thessalonians four to convince their followers of the rightness of their position.

At the time when Jesus walked this earth, there was no New Testament, only the Old. But He built His entire life and ministry on the whole of it, not on an isolated text or small portion. We’d do well to follow His example, including, of course, the New Testament. Beware of anyone who uses an only text or an isolated portion to prove his or her point. If there is a thread of truth it will always be connected to the whole “spool.”

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