It may be due to a misunderstanding of the purpose of the Bible that leads people to a Biblical conclusion which is not the intent of the writer. We have been influenced to read the Bible as if we are reading instructions from God. There are instructions in the Bible, especially in the books of the Law. On the other hand much of the Bible was written as a corrective and to point out the separation which existed between God and humankind.
The reader often comes from a background of “scripture plucking” or “cherry picking”. A scripture is found which fulfills an already preconceived idea an it becomes the foundation for a complete doctrine.
An example of this is the oft repeated statement that God can’t look on sin, despite any number of statements to the contrary. The most common use is to explain why Jesus cried out that he was Godforsaken on the cross. If that is the conclusion, then a passage is necessary to substantiate it. What is found is Habakkuk 1:13. “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.” (NIV) So there you have an answer and a doctrine about what God can and can’t (see) look at.
However, if the continuing context is read it says the contrary. The rest of verse 13 says, “Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” That and the rest of the book shows God being very aware of (looking at) the sins of the people.
In I Cor. 11:1-16 why does Paul address the length of hair, the wearing of veils, and the covering of the head in public worship when men and women pray and prophesy? Is he writing a manual on how to do church? No. He is dealing with a problem. What is the problem? If we don’t know that we can’t know what he’s talking about. We know it has to do with women, praying and teaching, (prophesying) the veil and the length of hair. The length of men’s hair is used as a comparison.
Why would this be a problem? The head covering, according to research (Tyndale Bulletin 41.2 (1990) p.245-260 by David Gil) was not worn by all women. It was worn by married women, but not exclusively. It was often seen as an elitist item. What was understood when worn by a married woman, was respect for her husband. If we note other issues involving women who are now “in Christ” in Corinth, we can see the “veil” problem had to do with leaving the wrong impression. If Jesus was their Lord, then they could, in essence, take off the veil (today it might be the wedding ring) and proclaim their first love was to the Lord.
In 1 Cor. 7 (a very revealing chapter) Paul address marital questions among these new converts to Christ. What about Sex? What about marriage itself? In v, 10 the question about a wife separating herself from her husband is addressed. Why would a new Christian entertain such a question? Why would Paul say she can? BUT it is not to get another man. She must remain unmarried. Counsel that! If the single life doesn’t work out she can only be reunited with her husband. What’s going on here?
At least two possibilities. One it may be related to Paul’s warning about the “present crisis” v.26, and the time being short, v.29. This explains the verses which advise against marriage. Which leads to number two. Are the women, wishing to spend what time is left in complete service to the Lord in this new-found freedom from earthly things, including husbands? Why else would Paul allow a marriage to be dissolved even if just temporarily?
As to the wearing of veils, the Gentile (Roman) women may have felt the same way. Jesus is now their Lord, first, not their husbands. Removing the veil would send the wrong message both to the husband and the community at large. Paul does not want that. There will be trouble enough . This was never instruction for how church was always to be done.
The same is true in I Tim. 2. The men are urged to pray. Did they not know that? Why be told? Because they were angry and disputing. V. 8. About what, can be seen in the previous verses.
The women were to dress modestly and decently with propriety and not with expensive jewelry and clothing. V.9,10. Why? Simply put, it delivered the wrong message. Again, research says the Roman government had laws (though not successfully maintained) against showing one’s wealth or standing with jewelry and clothing. Paul does not want these newly converted women to leave the wrong impression with their Gentile friends. The church was not an elitist group. These verses were not intended to become a manual for women’s fashion unless they address the motive for dressing in such a way. The problem Timothy is to deal with is Gentile women converts who are leaving the wrong impression. Carroll Osburn suggests that they want to look like independent women with Jesus only as their Lord. The dress of independent women was often associated with “loose” women. However, such proof is somewhat spotty.
Without going into detail, because it’s a long discussion, Can there be forgiveness without the shedding of blood?
In II Sam. 12 is the story of David and Bathsheba. When Nathan tells David his sin, and David confesses his sin, Nathan tells him the Lord has taken away his sin. Nowhere in the following story is there any blood offering.
In I Kings 21 there is the story of Ahab and Jezebel. When Elijah brings his sin in front of him he”tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and went about meekly.” V27
God sees his humility and granted him a reprieve of sorts, without a blood sacrifice.
The people of Nineveh did not offer blood sacrifices, but were forgiven.
How many times did Jesus forgive sins? (under the Old Law) without a blood sacrifice?
Looking at the whole Bible helps us not build a doctrine on a few misplaced verses.
CONCERNS: Judy Hall remains in ICU at Lewis Gale Medical Center. She is critically ill. Deanna McRoy continues with cancer treatment. Abby Keeting (treated for leukemia), Teryn Gaynor’s mother (cancer treatments), Melisha Scruggs friend, Jeanie who has a small child with health issues. Sheila Jansen and Daughter, Amber Weaver, Ray & Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jamie Cole, Alan and Joni Beach’s parents, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder
Please update those who have been placed on the Concerns list. We do want to know of progress and other issues.
We were saddened to learn of the death of Tolly Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s cousin. The Bolin’s are in Pennsylvania this weekend for his memorial service.
Also: We learned of the death of former member Diane Sumney’s father. It happened on New Year’s Day.
We have received cards and pictures from the Sturms and the Maharrey’s David and Stacy sent pictures from their trip to Paris and wrote a very nice note about their experience while they were with us. One problem, the pictures and the note have been misplaced. As soon as it is found it will be posted.
Next Sunday is Super Sunday. Plan to stay for the fellowship meal following the service. If you haven’t seen the annex since Judy McWHorter’s quilts are along the walls as an improvement both in beauty and in acoustics, come by and see it. There will be a fire in the fireplace unless we have exceptionally warm weather.
THIRD SUNDAY SERVICE
Next Sunday is also the Sunday we have an alternative service, either of singing and readings, preaching or a combination of all of them. The leader will be announced in that days handout.
A brief report will be given next Sunday concerning our financial situation for last year. The steering committee will discuss the budget for this year if we have enough members in attendance.