Thursday, February 13, 2014

Should We Be Like the Bereans?

Luke describes the Apostle Paul's missionary encounter with the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11:  "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with the readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."  This passage encourages Christians to read and study the Bible daily.  Likewise, Christians are further exhorted in 2 Tim. 2:15 to "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Passages like these inspire me to learn more about God's word.  As I continue my daily reading, I've found Strong's Comprehensive Concordance of the Bible to be a very helpful study aid.  I'm not looking to reinterpret the Bible; my goal is to clarify my understanding and make my knowledge more precise.

Last week I listened to the podcast of The Dividing Line aired on February 4, 2014During the program, Dr. James White answered a question about the word 'world' (translated from 'kosmos' in the Greek) in John 3:16.  He made the following statement (around 41:40):  "Any situation where you try to cram one single meaning of 'kosmos' into every usage, what I call the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Errant Methodology of Study, you are going to end up twisting the passages that your are in."

From my on-line exposure to Dr. White, it is evident that he is a very intelligent man.  He boldly defends the Gospel and has a history of debating Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Roman Catholics, KJV-Onlyists, and more recently, Muslims.  Yet, there's an arrogancy about him that I find incredibly offensive at times.  In the past Dr. White was able to properly use a resource and determine the biblical meaning of 'kosmos'.  But a Christian who uses Strong's Concordance does not know how to use it properly, and therefore, twists the meaning of 'kosmos'.

Christians who define biblical words out of context use many resources, not just Strong's Concordance.  Therefore, it is presumptuous to refer to this specific resource as the "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance Errant Methodology of Study".  This label implies that all Christians who use it are unable to think and read a biblical passage in context.  The academic elitist view that laypeople cannot read and study the Scriptures for themselves is clearly seen in Roman Catholicism.  Even those who debate against this heretical system can be blinded by the ecumenical move toward academia within the evangelical world today.

"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness," (2 Tim. 2:16).