This ought to be obvious, but I have found this bears stating: words and definitions are critical to understanding God's Word.
This blog is a Bible Commentary with two main objectives:
1) Help a person read the entire Bible by making the text easier to understand
2) Help a person get as much out of one reading of the Bible as they would learn in five readings of the Bible.
The key to accomplishing these two objectives is to help the reader understand God's Definitions for the words God used in His Word. The rest of this Introduction goes into detail about how this is done. If you would like to begin reading, then please proceed to the first post in this commentary: Day 1.
If you are the inquisitive or skeptical type, specifically about the principles of hermeneutics that are used in this commentary, please continue reading...
This commentary uses four God-given principles to properly interpret God's Word. These four God-given principles are currently used perfectly by everyone on everyone else, however, everyone avoids applying these principles to themselves. These four God-given principles, when used together, result in finding truth.
The four God-given principles are:
"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8)
Contradictions do not exist. Conflicts do. You can be both happy and sad at the same time, that is a conflict. However, you cannot be both happy and not happy at all, that is a contradiction. Everyone believes contradictions do not exist and it's proven every time they argue. Whenever a person thinks you are wrong, they are telling you that you have a contradiction. The belief that contradictions do not exist is so universally accepted, people do not state this when they prove you wrong...they state your contradiction and the fact that contradictions do not exist is self evident. If the interpretation of a verse contradicts another verse in God's Word, the interpretation is incorrect.
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7)
Every cause has an effect. A person who does not believe this is deceived and mocking God. However, people reverse this principle. They believe that an effect can only have one possible cause. People look at the effect (the appearance) and then state that effect had to come from the one cause they state. That is not necessarily a fact. For example, if a person drinks and drives, they may have an accident. The cause was drinking while driving and the effect was an accident. However, not every car accident (effect) is a result of drinking and driving (one cause). God's Word was written in this cause and effect fashion. The proper interpretation understands the cause, the effect, and direction of God's presentation of His Word.
3. Contrastive Thinking
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; But Jehovah weigheth the hearts." (Proverbs 21:2)
"If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know;" (1 Corinthians 8:2)
All we know for sure is what is not right. We can deceive ourselves by only getting facts that support what we believe. For example, I may live in a shack but you may think I live in a mansion. If I tell you everything that is similar between a shack and a mansion, you will feel more right with each additional fact. You would not know for sure that I live in a mansion. However, the second I tell you something that contradicts my living in a mansion, you will know for sure I do not live in a mansion. This principle is extremely powerful, very well known by past deep thinkers, and almost completely ignored today. Contrastive thinking requires a person to consider themselves wrong, to consider the opposite of the beliefs that they hold. Einstein said there is no number of experiments that will prove someone right, yet it only takes one experiment to prove someone wrong. Several passages, as well of entire Books of the Bible, are written in this powerful contrastive fashion.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth no fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (John 15:1-2)
Growth is the motivation for pursuing the first three God-given principles. God's measure for "good" is growth. The branch that is growing gets cut back more so that it can grow more. Notice, God's response to a person's growth is to cut them back, to make them uncomfortable. Everyone is either pursuing Growth or Comfort. Everyone is going to be uncomfortable, the question is whether they will be uncomfortable in the short term or the Long Term. The individual makes this choice. Notice, being uncomfortable (effect) does not necessarily mean growth (cause) is occurring. A person could be uncomfortable because they pursued comfort in the short term (destructive causes) and the Long Term effects are uncomfortable. However, throughout the Bible, those who grew first chose uncomfortable causes.
Throughout the Bible, God took people from bad to good through worse (ex: sinner - bad to born-again - good through killing the flesh - worse).
Man attempts to go from bad directly to good and they end up at worse. God references growth throughout the Bible with the words "fruit" and "profit."
Everyone in the world perfectly applies these four God-given principles on everyone else. However, everyone's flesh wants to avoid applying these four God-given principles on themselves. Choosing to apply these four God-given principles to one's self proves one's heart attitude.
God's Definitions for the words used in the Bible would come from applying these four principles to the text. God's Word came first. Dictionaries and concordances were created by man in response to God's Word. They are a man's attempt at determining God's meaning for the words used in the Bible, which means those resources are not infallible. Believing in dictionaries and concordances as a first cause is the same as idolatry: belief in something other than God.
Throughout this commentary, definitions will be presented, however, the reader is encouraged to look at the context and come to their own conclusions. This means the reader ought to state what he/she believes is the definition of the word in question or they could be committing idolatry and be in danger of hypocrisy.
The purpose of this commentary is not to prove these definitions. If the reader is interested in how the four principles along with the Bible were used to arrive at these definitions, they can read this: Jonathan Fries' Blog.
Furthermore, when these four principles are used together, we can understand God's Nature!
Causality proves that there must have been a First Cause. God exists! Every other question a person has about God is no longer concerning His existence but is in the context of God's Identity.
God's Identity is His Nature. God's Nature could not be anything physical, otherwise, He would not be a First Cause. A person could ask, "Where did the physical matter come from?" God's Nature is real (exists) and is intangible and is causeless. The only thing we know of that is both real and intangible are principles. God's Nature would be the causeless principles.
The Bible repeatedly stated "God is Holy." Holy meant "of one substance." The immediate result of this definition is that God is pure, clean, completely lacking darkness/dirt/dust. However, this still begs the question: What is the one substance made of?"
Moses, just before he died, wanted everyone to hear his description of God. Deuteronomy 32:4 concluded with: "...Just and Right is He."
The principles of Right and Just are causeless. They are not effects of other causes. They would exist even if nothing was Right and Just. Right is a qualitative description. Just is a quantitative description. Both of these principles can exist as one substance without contradiction. Every other description of God would either contradict or limit Right and Just. Right and Just determine all of God's attributes (effects) of His Personality. For example, God's Mercy is given when it is Right and Just.
There are many people who would state that God's Nature is: Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. Actually, those are effects of God being Right and Just. When the definitions of those three words are not an effect of Right and Just, those definitions contradict several Bible passages. The proper definitions for these words and the conflicting Bible passages are addressed throughout the commentary.
Make no mistake, for the first six days of Creation, God initiated His Will as a First Cause. There was nothing preceding His decision to create Light, or the stars, or the animals. However, on the Seventh Day, God rested. That word means that God "ceased from His occupation of being a First Cause." From Genesis 2 through the rest of the Bible, God allowed humans to be a first cause and God only responded through Justice. In the Bible, every time God moved for, against, or did not move, it was in response to where the human was relative to Justice. Again, this is addressed throughout the commentary, resulting in the removal of contradictions and a presentation of the story that is easier to understand.
Finally, taking the four God-given principles of interpretation together, we see that God is much more focused on the how and why than He is on the what. The what is an effect and can result from many causes (why/how). God is focused on the causes: the why/how. Understanding this is the key to understanding Truth:
-A fact is a right what.
-Deception is a right what with a wrong (or no) how/why.
-Having a wrong how/why leads to destruction, not profitability. So, deception is a fact that destroys.
-Truth is a right what with a right how/why.
-Having a right how/why leads to creation, profitability. So, truth is a fact that creates.
"Jesus said unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
Life is the ability to repair. God is not focused on us being without flaw. God is focused on our response to our sin. When a person confesses and repents, that repairs the sin. God is focused on life and Jesus is the ultimate way for us to repair. Notice, life has to have the ability to create in order to repair. The ability to create comes from the truth. Jesus truly is the way for us to have eternal life because He is the ultimate source of life because He is the ultimate source of truth. All of this begins with a person choosing growth and contrastively looking at their contradictions between their beliefs (causes) and actions (effects).
I hope you will embrace discomfort in order to intentionally grow while you are reading this commentary.
Here is the link to Day 1