The last few days have been filled with arguments over what the bible says about this and what Jesus said (or didn’t say) about that. It’s been quite the roller coaster as I have tried rather unsuccessfully to steer clear of some of the posts only to find myself trying to politely post a few words or bible verses, just to get sucked into debating the issues. So as I thought about all that had gone on, I kept hearing words and phrases which usually means it’s time to write a blog. So here it is…lol.
Have you ever taken 3 years worth of courses: College, technical school, or any other kind of extended learning? Imagine if I asked you to list for me EVERYTHING your professors taught you. Do you think you could write it all down? Do you think your professors could write it all down? You may get a bunch of stuff written down but at some point you will just not remember anything else. Of course if someone asks you a question on the subject you will likely remember that teaching and be able to expand on your list. What about things the professor didn’t specifically teach you but you learned because he pointed you to books written on the subject? Does the information in those books become invalid because the professor didn’t teach on it but simply pointed you to it? What if the professor pointed you to said books but told you that there were a few things in it that were outdated or no longer applied because of new information, and he taught specifically on those areas? Does it invalidate everything else in that book?
Okay, so a bunch of questions that some of you will see where I am going but others will dismiss as nonsense. So, let’s apply this to what Jesus said or didn’t say. Jesus taught His disciples many things but He often referred them back to the Old Testament Scriptures for answers. He also taught them that some of the information contained in those scriptures had changed because of new information (His coming).
These days when people quote (or misquote) what Jesus said they tend to focus ONLY on when Jesus spoke about love. Saying that it doesn’t matter what anyone does as long as they “love like Jesus did” and while that’s not completely bad, it leaves out the lessons Jesus taught on rebuking, correcting, teaching, and other areas that require us to recognize our faults and correct them. And where Jesus did not speak we are reminded:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18
So let’s look at this another way. How do we know that Jesus said anything at all let alone love? For all we KNOW Jesus could have been a rebellious zealot who preached about vengeance and retribution. After all, there is no Book of Jesus in the bible. Jesus didn’t sit down and record all of His teachings for us to learn from. What He DID do was teach 12 men the lessons and THEY recorded them through the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we too can learn from them. So…we have faith that Jesus’s words were accurately quoted when we read them in the gospels, which is where many people stop when it comes to His teachings. But we have to remember that just because John, Peter, James and even Paul (through the spirit) taught the church in their own words as is recorded in the New Testament, we must also realize that these lessons they taught were taught to them by JESUS.
So when we read;
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you…” 1 John 1:5-6
We have to recognize that they are speaking Jesus’ teachings in their own words as guided by the Holy Spirit.
Or when we read;
“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:3-6
We must understand that John is telling us to live like Jesus did and obey the commands His Father had set forth for Him.
So, just because the gospels don’t record Jesus as saying something specific, does not mean He never taught His disciples about it. After all, they lived life with Him for 3 years. They learned from His words and His actions and THEY teach us what He taught them. And again, where His teachings are silent we refer back to earlier lessons, taught by previous teachers (The Old Testament).
Right now some of you are saying to yourself…”okay, so tell me something I don’t already know.” To you I say…my wife LOVES pickles! For those of you who are still confused or stuck on “Jesus never said anything about…” I have 2 more verses for you.
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
I could read a physics book cover to cover several times. Memorize every word and be able to tell you in what chapter you will find what theory. But does that mean I can understand any of it? Not likely…lol. However if I had the professor there, explaining to me those theories and how they apply practically I imagine I could actually put it into practice. The bible is the same way. You can read it cover to cover. You can read multiple translations. You can memorize the entire bible and even learn some fancy Greek words to show off among friends but until you have the Spirit of the author inside you…leading you to understand and connect the words in context. You have nothing more than words on a page in your head, not Truth of God’s Word in your heart.