Commenting on the Bible

I’d like to direct those of you who read this to the commentary section of my Rest of the Old, Old Story site. I’m going to start updating it, beginning with the things found in today’s blog on Jeremiah 6.

Why should you read a commentary put together by me (especially one as sparse as is mine is right now)?

No reason, really, unless you’re reading this blog because it helps you. If this blog helps you, then the commentary will, too. In fact, anyone busy with the Lord’s work of building the church in contrast to the clubs and institutions of modern Christendom will find the commentaries delightful and encouraging.

Commentaries are not the Bible. They are not timeless. Commentaries represent the time they are written in, and they apply Scripture to the present age. I can say things about the application of Scripture to our day that Matthew Henry never could because he’s no longer alive. He’s not seen our day.

Commentaries also provide historical and social information concerning Bible times. Matthew Henry does that better than me, so it’s worth reading more professional commentaries, too.

Okay, on to today’s topic:

Jeremiah 6

We can only do part of this chapter in a blog, obviously. Otherwise, it would be way too long.

v. 10: To whom shall I speak and testify, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot listen. Behold, the Word of the Lord is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it.

This verse speaks for itself well enough. There are those that wish to speak the Word of the Lord (in context, this is Yahweh himself), and there are those that just aren’t interested in it because it condemns them.

Let’s go on.

v. 13: For from the least of them to the greatest of them, everyone is given to greediness. From the prophet to the priest, everyone deals falsely.

Isn’t that the way it is today? Our well-known speakers—men like Creflo Dollar, T. D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, and Joel Osteen—are given to greediness and to teaching greediness to others.

It’s important to point out here that Jeremiah is not mentioning this as something good. Nowadays, that’s not clear. It seems a lot of Christians thin that a lust for fame and fortune is a good thing.

God has one more very important charge against these prophets and priests:

v. 14: They have treated the wounds of my people lightly, saying, “Peace, peace!,” when there is no peace.

This verse is significant. The wounds among those known as God’s people are great. They are significant. But when those wounds are pointed out, the priests of the present prosperity cry out, “Peace, peace!”

Listen some time to Christian radio. If you’re willing to listen for a couple hours to Christian talk and preaching, then not a day will go by that you don’t hear some preacher or radio host talk about the sad state of the churches. They’ll mention division, worldliness, a lack of care for one another, the immorality of church members and how very much like the world the churches are.

That’s alright for them to do because they are offering “light” treatment. They want you to pray a little more, or read your Bible a little more, or assuage your conscience by giving to this or that charity (or worse, to them to pad their pockets more than they already are).

Those of us, however, who are calling for radical treatment are not borne so lightly. We are outcasts, and when we point out the very same problems that the radio hosts point out, those problems are denied. The cry of “Peace, peace!” goes out with great vehemence, loud enough to silence us, much as the Ephesians silenced Paul with their shouts about their goddess Artemis.

And so they go merrily along, racing towards judgment because God does not take immorality, greediness, division, selfishness, and worldliness as lightly as the prophets and priests of our modern churches do.

I have mentioned prosperity preachers, but please don’t be confused. Worldliness, division, and lack of care is as apparent in almost all the churches of institutional Christianity. It is not limited to the prosperity churches.

Because the leaders of the people of God were not “ashamed” about treating their wounds lightly, God said, “They shall fall among them that fall.”

There will be a day of reckoning! Here or there!

God’s Solution

But God has a solution:

v. 16: Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the roads and look. Ask for the ancient paths, what is the good way, and walk in them. Then you shall find rest for your souls.

People hate restorationists. They prefer to adapt the message to the modern age.

Surely it’s apparent that there must be some adaptation. Every culture has problems and evils that are different from other cultures. However, their cannot be so much adaptation that the ancient paths are lost.

It is God who said, “Ask for the ancient paths … and walk in them.”

Today denominationalism is accepted even though it is such an obvious form of division that the world scoffs at the inability of “Christians” to get along. We should have known this would be the case. Jesus prayed that his disciples would be as united with one another as he is with the Father. He said that this would be proof to the world that the Father sent him (Jn. 17:20-23).

There is only two responses to this. One, we “Christians” repent and unite.

This course is impossible, as all “Christians” admit. Why is it impossible? Because things are the way they are, and “Christians” aren’t interested enough in pleasing Jesus Christ to actually ask for the ancient paths and walk on them. They’d rather have their wounds treated superficially, with a little more prayer and Bible study—or at least with talking about more prayer and Bible study.

Which brings us to the second response. Two, we admit that these aren’t Christians, but satanic counterfeits raised up by the devil to bring dishonor to the name of Jesus Christ. Then, we discontinue our fellowship with them, obey Jesus Christ, and deny ourselves enough to unite with those that we have difficulty uniting with.

Getting Down to Practicalities

Unite on what basis? Who are the true Christians, and who are the satanic counterfeits? Isn’t it arrogant to try and sort them? Isn’t that an attempt to divide the wheat from the tares, a process that’s supposed to wait until judgment day?

No, it’s not. It’s Biblically commanded. We are not to have fellowship with wicked people, but we are to put them out from among us.

Not only that, we are not to confuse a Christian club that meets twice a week to give long speeches about the Bible with an actual Scriptural church. Churches meet, that’s true. But a meeting—and certainly not a meeting place—is not the church.

The church is a family, the household of God. Use what you know about a functional family to form a picture in your mind of the church. Don’t use the Moose Lodge or Boy Scouts to get your picture.

Really, pause a minute and think. Do you get what I’m saying?

Okay, that said, on what basis can you unite. Who are the true Christians, and who are the satanic counterfeits?

Unfortunately, the answer to that is pretty long. But I’ll tell you what. Here in the next few minutes, I will put up an unfinished, unedited version of a booklet I call The Sure Foundation of God. You can open it up and download it for free. The formatting is pitiful at the moment, but it’s no problem to read. It’s also not done, but the unfinished parts will only provide smoothness, no additional information. It will make a great study guide, even if it’s a less than adequate booklet.

That booklet will provide a good start on answering that question.

It’s 1:38 Central Standard Time on Dec. 31, 2009. Give me about half an hour to get back here with a link for the booklet.

It only took 14 minutes: Just click here. It’s a .pdf, so you may need to right click and save.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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1 Response to Commenting on the Bible

  1. John Michael says:

    I must like drinking from fire hydrants. I love everything you write. It helps keep my mind going toward our father, dispelling the years and years of mind clogging garbage that kept me from growing in God, but, instead led me to get caught up in all their “unhealthy” sickness and death inducing silly divisive arguements, rather than believing that I really could begin to be changed now, and that the Kingdom could really come, and His will really could be done (by us living men) here on earth just like in Heaven.

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