c) “The Bible Context” — There is yet a further area of context, namely, the remainder of the Bible. In pursuing that, one might continue this study by comparing the parallel passage of the Gospel of Luke 17:3-4: “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” It’s about “…gaining your brother…” (Mat. 18:15), not about the actual grievance.
One can also move on to the Epistles to the various Churches, for further instruction and development of a total doctrine of Church discipline. Read and memorize (word perfect) the following references: i) I Cor. 5:1-6:20; ii) II Cor. 2:3-11; iii) I Tim. 5:19-22; iv) Titus 3:1-11; and v) Heb. 13:17.
Work with these refs. til you know them intimately, and then imagine applications you can utilize them, esp. in your own or other’s personal experiences in your local Churches (Also, note that we are NOT advocating any form of Kantianism or subjectivism here when we say ‘personal experiences’. That’s a whole other subject that we will address later on in the course).
4. STEP FOUR — Cultural: The final step in our four step process is the culturalistic approach. This seeks to recreate the ‘setting’. Actually, this can be done all throughout the ‘study-process’.
There are three major areas of culture and for which tbey may be designated as follows: a) Social; b) Temporal; and c)Geographical:
a) Social (The Customs o/t Times) — There are two words in the Immediate context that have socially cultural implications. They are “…heathen man and a publican…” (“tax collector”)(Mat. 18:17). Why are those terms chosen as picturing the status of a brother who refuses the discipline o/t Church? In order to answer this, we must turn back to page 15, sec. d(i) “Cultural Context – Social”.
b) Temporal (The Period in History) — With respect to timing in history, this teaching of Yashua Messiah occurred early on, I. His fourth year of public ministry. It follows His prediction of His imminent death and resurrection (Mat. 16:21 and 17:22-23). Although He lived under the Mosaic Law and kept it perfectly (Mat. 5:17), He predicted this current ‘dispensation of grace’ (Jn. 1:17), and the birth of the Church (Mat. 16:18; cf. Eph. 3:1-21). Thus, Yashua was preparing His disciples, who were going to be part of the foundation stones in the Church (Eph. 2:19-22), that was established at Pentecost (Acts1:4-5; and cf. I Cor. 12:13). Again, for further ref., see page 16, d(2) “Temporal”.
c) Geographical – (“The Place on Earth): As concerning geographical setting, Yashua Messiah was teaching around d Capernaum, on the Northwestern shores of the Sea of Galilee. He bad recently been in Caesarea Philippi (today known as Banias), at the foot of Mtn. Hermon, one of three sources of the Yarden River (today known as the Jordan). In that beautiful setting, after He was transfigured in their midst, the voice of Yahweh, from heaven declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him.” — Mat 17:5(c)
Perhaps this is the appropriate suggestion for all of us as we now approach Yahweh’s WORD: “HEAR HIM!!!”
(See also, page 16, d(3) for more, and remember to consult MacMillan’s Bible Atlas. It is THE best ‘geographical’ tool you can have in your personal reference library).
Next: Continuation of Session 1, Pre-Sessional Reading Assignments:
“Citing Scripture: Butchery or Surgery?” By: Bernard Ramm
Old Bill Shakespeare put his scalpel on a raw nerve when he wrote, “In religion, what damned error, but some somber brow will bless it and approve it with a text, hiding the grossness with fair ornament” (Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene 2).
My personal study Bible has 1,512 pages. Somewhere in these 1,512 pages I can usually manage to find a text in order to damn or bless anything or any person I want to. Or, if I so choose, to take a verse or passage out of context, build ANY old doctrine I care to dream up around it, and start a cult.
Unfortunately, the history of the Church is filled with tragic episodes where gross sins, cruel practices, and/or silly rules, as well as a myriad of other mayhemic monstrosities, have been sanctioned with the citing of Scripture (Dear Father, Yahweh, forgive us one and all). It’s no wonder that one of the accusations theologians wish to avoid at all costs is, to be called a “PROOF TEXTER!”
Yet, all the great ‘Confessions,’ which came out of the ‘Reformation,’ say in one wording or another, that the Holy Scriptures are the SUPREME and FINAL AUTHORITY in all matters of faith and practice. How can we genuinely use the Holy Scriptures as such an authority and at the same time avoid the odious (hated) charge of being a proof texter?!
We do not wish to say an unkind word about butchers. It is a skill to be able to carve up an animal the proper way for cooking. Butchers and surgeons have in common knives and bodies. But a wonderful difference separates them! The butcher never loses a case. He does not bury his mistakes! Life is not at “stake” when he cuts a “steak.” However, with the surgeon, life is at “stake!” If the surgeon is careless, then his surgery slips into the category of butchery! So, when is citing Scripture surgery and not butchery? To use Scripture properly is to treat it as a good surgeon of the WORD of Yahweh.. To use it any other way — of which there are many — is to be a butcher of Yahweh’s WORD!
As Paul instructed the young minister Timothy, we are responsible for learning Yahweh’s WORD, and then “…rightly dividing the word of truth…” (II Tim. 2:15).
(End of S.1.3; cont. in S.1.4)
All praise and glory to Yahweh and our Lord and Saviour, Yashua Messiah…m
Categories: Mark Blain, religion
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