SermonInterpreting Bible Passages
An all-creatures Bible Message

Interpreting Bible Passages
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
3 June 2018
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Mark 3:1-19
2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Interpreting Bible passages can vary quite a bit from one person to the next because we all think differently.
 
Even the Holy Spirit helps us with interpreting Bible passages as we apply them to our lives, or as we want to interpret them, and these may not be the same.
 
Sometimes people apply Bible verses and passages to prove or disprove a point.
 
Even the gospel writers didnít interpret events or things that Jesus said in the same way, which accounts for the variations; some accounts have things added that the writer thought were important.
 
Does this mean that we canít believe certain things?
 
Not necessarily, for there are two very important tools that we can and should use when interpreting Bible passages, which are the things that Jesus taught us and the heavenly will of God, but didnít we just say that even the gospel writers recorded different things that Jesus said?
 
Yes we did, but we didnít say the different things that Jesus said; weíre to follow everything that Jesus taught us and the heavenly will of God.
 
Think about something: we are told that there is no pain or suffering or death in heaven, and Jesus never taught us to inflict or cause any pain, suffering, or death to befall any other living being; in fact, Jesus taught us to do good and love God and the whole of His creation.
 
Letís apply these things to our interpretation of Mark 3:1-19Ö

1. And He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there with a withered hand.
 
2. And they were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, in order that they might accuse Him.

We hope we all can see the hardness of heart in the people that Jesus is referring to.
 
Nowhere in the Hebrew Bible are we told not to heal or protect someone on the Sabbath, whether they are human or animal, and nowhere are we told to plot against someone in order to bring harm upon them; these are things humans contrive in their own minds and hardened hearts.

3. And He said to the man with the withered hand, "Rise and come forward!" 
 
4. And He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent.

They kept silent because they really knew that what they were doing was against the heavenly will of God, but they wanted the people to look to them for Godly authority and not to Jesus.

5. And after looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

We may not be able to heal as Jesus did, but we can all do whatever we can to help the man and pray for him.
 
And, if we can do this for a fellow human being, then we should also be doing it for every other human being, as well as all the animals; in fact, we should be doing these things for the whole of Godís creation, for He created us all and assigned us to be His stewards here in earth to protect and do good for humans, animals, and the environment we all live in.

6. And the Pharisees went out and immediately began taking counsel with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.

And again, we hope that we all can see their hardness of heart and evil intent, which we also should recognize isnít in the heavenly will of God, and there are many people like them in the world today who work against all who live in the heavenly will of God, for we are a threat to their worldly life style, such as the eating of animal products.
 
Letís do a little more interpreting of Bible passagesÖ

7. And Jesus withdrew to the sea with His disciples; and a great multitude from Galilee followed; and also from Judea,

There is no benefit to staying in the midst of such hard of heart people, as Jesus demonstrated, and the people who truly want to hear the word of God and see it at work in our lives will follow us, too.

8. and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and beyond the Jordan, and the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude heard of all that He was doing and came to Him.
 
9. And He told His disciples that a boat should stand ready for Him because of the multitude, in order that they might not crowd Him;

A lot of people may be doing this for selfish reasons, such as receiving a personal healing.

10. for He had healed many, with the result that all those who had afflictions pressed about Him in order to touch Him.
 
11. And whenever the unclean spirits beheld Him, they would fall down before Him and cry out, saying, "You are the Son of God!"

If even the demons recognized who Jesus was and acknowledged it openly, then the religious leaders were acting more corruptly than even the demons, and we need to recognize these things when it comes to those who speak out against the animals and the people who care about them.
 
We need to be interpreting Bible passages in the heavenly will of God, and applying these standards to the corrupt things we see in the world around us, and unfortunately most of it seems to come from our governments and the religious institutions around us.
 
We need to remember that itís the peacemakers of this world who will be blessed and be called children of God, and those who are not, canít be children of God, no matter what they claim about themselves.

12. And He earnestly warned them not to make Him known.

Why did Jesus do this?
 
Because, He wanted the people to recognize Him from what they saw in Him, and heard from Him, and not because they were told about who He was.
 
Letís go on and take a look at another passage.

13. And He went up to the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him.

This was not for the whole crowd of people that had gathered to Him.
 
This was to be a semi-private gathering with a solemn heavenly-like atmosphere.

14. And He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach,
 
15. and to have authority to cast out the demons.

Jesus didnít want anyone else to know that their power came from Him. He didnít want to take the credit for what was bestowed upon the twelve, but if the multitude knew, some of them would selfishly want Him to bestow the same power and gifts upon them.
 
This is also why we are to cherish whatever gifts the Lord has bestowed upon us, and use them to help free creation from its present corruption and bring Godís heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven.

16. And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter),
 
17. and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, "Sons of Thunder");
 
18. and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot;
 
19. and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
NASB

We often wonder why Jesus allowed Judas to be among the twelve, and interpreting Bible passages hasnít fully helped in this area, because the Bible doesnít really explain it.
 
Jesus may have thought that Judas might change his worldly ways, and He sure gave him enough chances, but he never changed.
 
Could this be an example of forgiving others until they either repent or destroy themselves as Judas did; we simply donít know.
 
Letís close our discussion today by looking at 2 Corinthians 4:7-10Ö

7. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves;

This power is the presence of the Holy Spirit within all true believers.

8. we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
 
9. persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
 
10. always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
NASB

If we have the belief and faith to live as Jesus lived in the heavenly will of God, we will not fear the troubles that come from the corrupt world around us, even if we die in the process.
 
Interpreting Bible passages is not that difficult, as long as we remember that there can be more than one interpretation.
 
And we should also recognize the false interpretations and twisted facts to promote the corrupt and violent ways of this world, for they are not in the heavenly will of God.
 
We are to be the peacemaking children of God who help free creation from its present corruption.
 
Amen.

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