Explaining Colossians 2:16

Posted in Bible Study with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by Institute of Religion

 FOCAL TEXTS

Col 2:14-17 “…having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” NIV

COMMON INTERPRETATIONS

  • The written code refers to the Law of Moses.
  • The written code refers to the Ceremonial Law.
  • The Sabbath & Feast days were requirements under the ceremonial law, the ceremonial law is now cancelled, why keep the Sabbath then?
  • Vs. 14 shows that the Sabbath was against us, it was too burdensome, too many regulations, so, it was crucified with Christ.
  • Vs. 16 tells Christians that the Feast Days, Sabbaths & the dietary laws are all done away with.
  • The term “shadow of things” connotes something negative: A shadow is merely an imperfect reflection of a body, a shadow points to a solid reality; Proves that all these mentioned rituals are meaningless; Shows how distant those who keep the Sabbaths are from Christ, they have not only missed the mark, but also the messiah!
  • Shadow of things that were to come…The use of the past participle „wereshows that all these things are of the past. They played their role but since Christ came (the true reality) the shadows are no longer relevant and no longer needed. To live in the past means to deny the present, why are you denying Christ, why return to the basic principles of this world?
  • Sacrifices were always offered during the observation of a feast day, never on the weekly Sabbath! This therefore proves that the feast days were tied to the sacrificial system. Since sacrifices are no longer required, the feast days have now been annulled. Therefore, Colossians 2:16 does not speak against the weekly Sabbath, but rather, to the abrogation of the feast days. (7th Day Adventists view)

CGI ASSERTIONS – NUTSHELL

  • Colossians 2 has nothing to do with the abrogation of the Feast days, Sabbaths or dietary laws.
  • Paul wrote to the church in Colossae to combat the spreading gnostic & ascetic philosophy, he wrote to establish the supremacy of Christ, and that God did indeed come in the flesh.
  • Opponents incorrectly assume that the written code meant only ceremonial laws. What is the justification for saying ceremonial laws when the bible just stated „the written code‟(grk. Cheirographon)
  • Shadow of things” is not to be seen in a belittling/derogatory manner.
  • “Shadow of things that were to come” The greek word (esti) translated as ‘were’, should have been translated as ‘are’.
  • The words eat & drink (grk. brosis & posis) can & should have been translated as “eating & drinking”.
  • Col 2 does not abolish the feast days, it establishes it.
  • Sacrifices were also offered on the weekly Sabbath (Num. 28:9-10). This refutes the SDAs claim.
  • The view held by the C.G.I is that the ones who were keeping the Sabbath were the ones being judged (condemned) by the ascetics……………Essentially it equates to the following statement: I am keeping the Sabbath & feast days, eating, drinking & rejoicing,,, so why are you judging me?

 

PROVING OUR ASSERTIONS

 

To properly defend Col 2:16 we need to be cognisant that the argument did not commence with verse 16, neither did it end there. A rule of thumb is to always recall that the original manuscripts were never divided into chapters or verses, it was one continuous epilogue, or in this case, letter. This is pivotal to the understanding of scriptures, always note both the preceding and successive texts of any verse before forming an opinion, it is the best way to obtain the gist of what the writer was aiming to communicate.

Now with that said, let us consider which interpretation given for Col 2:16 would best fit into the entire chapter/book of Colossians. Was it abrogating the Sabbaths or combating Gnosticism?

Let us first define Gnosticism then re-examine scriptures.

SUMMARY OF GNOSTICISM

The doctrine of Salvation by knowledge. Gnosticism gets its name from its claim of higher knowledge (Grk “gnosis”) which it promised to its disciples. This spawned from a belief that the world was made by a demiurge (an evil „lesser‟god), and in order for humans to obtain salvation they had to avoid physical pleasure (asceticism) and come to understand some secret/mystic knowledge.

The following may be regarded as the chief points in the Gnostic systems:

  • A claim on the part of the initiated to a special knowledge of the truth; a tendency to regard knowledge as superior to faith and as the special possession of the more enlightened, (for ordinary Christians did not possess this secret and higher doctrine.)
  • The essential separation of matter and spirit, matter being intrinsically evil and the source from which all evil has arisen;
  • An attempt to solve the problems of creation and the origin of evil by postulating a demiurge, i.e., a creator or artificer of the world distinct from the supreme deity, and emanations extending between God and the visible universe (the demiurge for the Gnostics being the God of the OT, an inferior being infinitely remote from the Supreme Being who can have nothing to do with anything material);
  • A denial of the true humanity of Christ; a docetic Christology which considered the earthly life of Christ and especially His sufferings on the cross to be unreal. (Since the flesh is evil, there is no way God could’ve come in the flesh.)
  • The denial of the personality of the Supreme God, and also the denial of the free will of mankind;
  • The teaching, on the one hand, of asceticism as the means of attaining spiritual communion with God, and, on the other hand, of an indifference that led directly to licentiousness;
  • A syncretistic tendency that combined certain more or less misunderstood Christian doctrines and various elements from oriental, Jewish, Greek, and other sources; [Source: The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) ]

Angel worship was also a fundamental aspect of Gnosticism. This took many forms, including celebration of special days and other religious customs based on astrological concepts of time.

EXAMINING COLOSSIANS

Now that we have highlighted some of the Gnostic beliefs let us re-read Colossians and ask: What was Paul‟ primary focus? Was it „Sabbaths‟or Gnosticism?

  • As early as Col 1:9 we see Paul making allusions to spiritual wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
  • Col 1:15-29 Notice key phrases about flesh, body, mystery, wisdom, powers & principalities…notice also how Christ is heralded as being fully God and that he had a physical body. (recall that the Gnostics did not believe that God could come in this evil flesh)
  • Col 2:2-3 Once more allusions are made to mystery, wisdom & understanding. Christ is seen as the one through whom you can attain all these wonderful mysteries & wisdom.
  • Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.NIV ——- Even if the Sabbath is abolished, can we honestly call it deceptive philosophy or human tradition?
  • Col 2:9-12 Christ who came in bodily form is being exalted once more.
  • Col 2:14 “having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.NIV —– Notice there is no mention of Sabbath, Feast Days or Law, all that was stated is the written code’. What is this written code? Research has shown that the term cheirographon was used to denote either a “certificate of indebtedness” resulting from our transgressions or a ‘book containing the record of sin’ used for the condemnation of mankind. The Greek word translated “handwriting” is cheirographon, and this is the only place the term is used in the Bible. cheirographo means a handwritten record of debt, or what we would today call an ‘IOU’. This word was used to designate a record book of sin, meaning a written account of our sins. It is assumed that what was nailed to the cross was all record of our sins that ‘was against us’, ‘which was contrary to us’.

Consider alternate bible renderings of this same passage:

NASU “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

TLB “and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.”

NLT “He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.”

Recall my initial premise, all of this was one letter written to the Colossians. In Col 2:13 we read that Christ’s death blotted out „ur trespasses’(not the laws that were being trespassed). Did Paul suddenly change the subject in the next verse?

 

Consider the ancient practice illustrating what some say is the curse of the Law: Num 5:20-23 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have defiled yourself by sleeping with a man other than your husband” here the priest is to put the woman under this curse of the oath — “may the LORD cause your people to curse and denounce you when he causes your thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells and your thigh wastes away.”   

  • Col 2:16 “Let no one, then, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of Sabbaths, which are a shadow of the coming things, and the body [is] of the Christ” —Young‟ Literal Translation— In light of the abundant evidence pointing to Gnostic philosophy it should now be obvious that the ones doing the judging were the ascetics. The Jews had a practice of observing both the weekly & annual Sabbaths celebrating with eating and drinking, it would be natural that those who adhered to an ascetic philosophy would frown upon this type of feasting and „gratifying of the flesh’. It is also noteworthy that the Greek words (brosis & posis) translated as food and drink in most bibles actually means eating & drinking. It has nothing to do with meat and drink offerings as some assume. It also has nothing to do with the laws governing clean & unclean meat…Think about this: If this text is about the dietary laws, then it should be easy for us to list at least two unclean drinks,,, after all the text did say ‘food & drink.’. Therefore the most logical assumption is that the ones doing the judging were the ascetics.
  • Col 2:17 “These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” NIV. The greek word (esti) rendered as ‘were’ here should have actually been ‘are’. Paul said they “are a shadow of things to come,” indicating they have a future fulfillment.

 NKJV Col 2:17 “…hich are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ”

NASU Col 2:17 “…things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ”

This future fulfilment is made clear as ‘are’ it is in the present-active tense and means ‘to be’ or ‘is’. For Paul to have meant that the Sabbath and festivals were fulfilled and became obsolete in Jesus Christ, it would have been necessary for him to say they “were a shadow” and to have used an entirely different greek word (such as eien).

Further notes: Compare Eph 2:7 “ages to come”, Heb 2:5, “the world to come.”… „hadow of things to come‟is therefore not to be seen as something derogatory, but rather as a pointer to things which are to come.

  • Col 2:18 “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.” —– Notice: False humility & Angel worship…if Paul was advocating an end to the Sabbath why change the subject so suddenly? Hear an alternate rendition: Col 2:18-19 “Don’t let anyone declare you lost when you refuse to worship angels, as they say you must. They have seen a vision, they say, and know you should. These proud men (though they claim to be so humble) have a very clever imagination. But they are not connected to Christ, the Head to which all of us who are his body are joined; for we are joined together by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God.”—TLB.
  • Col 2:20-23 The Living Bible sums this up rather nicely for us: “Since you died, as it were, with Christ and this has set you free from following the world’s ideas of how to be saved — by doing good and obeying various rules — why do you keep right on following them anyway, still bound by such rules as 21 not eating, tasting, or even touching certain foods? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings, for food was made to be eaten and used up. 23 These rules may seem good, for rules of this kind require strong devotion and are humiliating and hard on the body, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires. They only make him proud.

Notice the phrase Human Traditions. Can any of the Lord‟ command, even those that are permanently done away with (sacrifices, circumcision) be called human traditions? Notice even the term „ard on the body‟,,, all of Colossians seems to be hitting out at Gnosticism & asceticism.

CONSIDERATIONS & CONCLUSION

If Colossians 2:16 was primarily concerned with instructing the new gentile converts that Sabbath & feast Days were abolished, why would the apostle Paul be making all these allusions to angel worship, voluntary humility, self-abasement…tc. Why would anyone, for that matter be writing a letter with the aim of refuting certain well indoctrinated ideologies, customs & practices use only three sentences to try to accomplish such a task.

If you were given the task to convert an entire group to accept Wednesday as the Lord‟ Day of worship, would use three or four sentences to prove your point? Highly unlikely, yet, opponents of the Sabbath would want us to believe that these three unclear & highly debated sentences abrogate a commandment issued by God himself.

Are you willing to risk your salvation based on a few misrepresented texts?

Rules of Biblical Interpretation

Posted in Bible Study with tags , on February 8, 2012 by Institute of Religion

Presentation by the Institute of Religion

EXEGESIS & HERMENEUTICS

What is exegesis and hermeneutics?
A very simple definition of exegesis is the interpretation of scripture. The careful, systematic study of the Scripture to discover he original, intended meaning, in other words, an attempt to hear the words of the Bible, as the original recipients were to have heard them. Hermeneutics is the set of principles or rules employed in interpreting scripture. Exegesis and hermeneutics are sometimes used interchangeably.

Why exegesis or hermeneutics?
Exegesis and hermeneutics are important because the bible is not an easy book to understand. Yes, some passages are pretty straightforward, but many are not so explicit. The books of the bible were written many years ago, in different languages (Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic), in a different culture and era. Even back then, persons had difficulties understanding portions of scripture. Peter recognized it and mentioned it in his writings (2 Peter 3:16). It is sheer folly then for some of us in this present time, in a completely different era and tradition, without training, to come to scripture purporting to know what the original writers intended for their audience. The numerous denominations in Christianity and their diverse, and many times contradictory doctrines reveal a lack of proper understanding of scriptures.

And yet there is an approach we can take in studying scriptures that will enlighten us and make the meanings of the bible clearer to us. We therefore offer the following principles, which if employed, should clarify aspects of the bible and open our understanding to the truths therein.

Guidelines for Interpreting Scripture:
 The very first thing we should do before we attempt to understand scripture or carry out a bible study is to pray and ask God to open our understanding (1 Corinthians 2:12-14).

 Do not come to scriptures with preconceived ideas (2 Peter 1:20). This is violated so many times when we try to interpret the scriptures. We have the tendency to impose or read into scripture texts our denominational beliefs and doctrines. We ought to divest ourselves of previously held beliefs and approach the scriptures with an open mind intent on finding out exactly what the author was trying to say. As a matter of general knowledge, the act of reading your own ideas into a text is known as eisegesis. Please note the spelling and do not confuse with exegesis. Examples: Hebrews 8:13, Romans 14 (The abolition of the Sabbath is usually read into these passages when no such reference is made).

 Equip yourselves with different translations of the English bible. Many persons possess the King James Version of the books of the bible. Sometimes however, a passage of scripture is easier to understand when it is rendered in another version. In addition, newer bible versions have corrected some of the errors which evidently exist in other versions, eg. the KJV. Some versions that can be helpful in bible study are the New King James Version, the New International Version and the Revised Standard Version. We have to be careful about some versions, as they are too liberal with their translations.
Example: Revelation 5:8 – 10 in the KJV and NIV translations.

King James Version
8And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

New International Version
8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

9And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

The first thing to note is that in verses 9 and 10 of the KJV the pronouns ‘us’ and ‘we’ are used indicating that the 24 elders around God’s throne were once men who lived on the earth. They died, but are now before God’s throne worshiping Him. This interpretation supports the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and that heaven is the reward of the saints.

However, notice the difference in the NIV, the pronouns ‘us’ and ‘we’ are absent and instead we have the 24 elders saying that Jesus has redeemed men or persons from the earth and have made ‘them’, not ‘us’ kings and priests. This rendering shifts the meaning of the text in that one can no longer definitively state that the 24 elders were men who lived on the earth. Hence, this text can no longer be used to support the immortal soul doctrine or the usual teaching about men going to reside in heaven.

The NIV, which is a more recent and modern translation, relied on older and more credible manuscripts. These older manuscripts do not contain the pronouns ‘us’ and ‘we’. The literal rendering of the text from these manuscripts for example is “…and have purchased for God with your blood from every tribe and tongue and people and nation…” The translators of the NIV inserted men and the associated pronouns as they sought to accurately express the original text. Revelation 5:8-10 would be questionable as a proof text for the immortal soul doctrine based on this information. Hence, reading from various bible translations is a profitable exercise.

 Do a literary analysis of the text. This means that we must determine what type of literary or writing style is being employed. There are various writing styles in scripture and they should not be treated or understood in the same manner (history, poetry, prophecy (apocalypse), proverbs, parables, simile, metaphor, irony, hyperbole, anthropomorphism etc.).

History – History passages recount events of the past in the way they actually occurred. Thus, history passages of scripture are generally interpreted literally e.g. Story of the children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt.

Parable – Not to be read in a typically literal way. A parable is a short story that illustrates a moral or spiritual lesson or truth. e.g. Luke 16:19-31. To understand a parable one must first understand the common idea and then seek the main point or emphasis of comparison.

Prophecies – Have to do with things that are yet to occur, cannot be read literally, use a lot of symbolism or figurative language e.g. Revelation 13:1. There are books of the bible, which are not about prophecy that use a lot of symbolism or figurative language. For example, Jesus used figurative language frequently. One such instance can be found in Matt 16:6.

Literary styles that can be found in the bible are:
Hyperbole – Literary exaggeration for emphasis or rhetorical effect. Lk 14.26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life— he cannot be my disciple.” (Our love for God must be so strong, that our love to others would seem like hate in comparison.)

Metaphor – A direct comparison of two items, eg., James 3.6: “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.”

Simile – A comparison of two items using a connective such as like, as, etc James. 1.23-24: “Anyone who listens to the words but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

Personification -Something inanimate is given human form, Prov. 9.1-6: Wisdom is personified as a woman calling out to those in need.

Anthropomorphism -This type of personification involves ascribing human characteristics (physical form, human-like emotion, etc.) to God in order to make Him more understandable to us. Gen. 6.6: “The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”

Types – Literary prefiguring: that is, one person or item serves as a metaphorical prefigure or type of another that is to come later in some particular respect. For example, Isaac in almost being sacrificed serves as a prefiguring and foreshadowing of Christ, the Sabbath is a type of the millennial rest.

 Do a grammatical analysis. A grammatical analysis would involve a study of the rules governing sentence structure, such as the relationships of the words in sentences, which might include such items as the use of adjectives for description, of verbs to denote action, switching between tenses to move between present and past, punctuations or any use of unusual combinations of words or phrases to create special effects. This is important because the slightest change in punctuation marks, misapplication of parts of speech or any such errors can radically change the meaning of sentences or statements, sometimes with serious consequences.

Simple Illustrations:
1 a. Did you see that man eating lobster?
1 b. Did you see that man-eating lobster?

2 a. Mary Jane and I went to see the latest action film.
2 b. Mary, Jane and I went to see the latest action film.

Biblical examples:
The meanings of the following passages change when the positions of the commas change.

Case 1 (a) – Mark 16:9

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Case 1 (b) – Mark 16:9
Now when Jesus was risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Case 2 (a) – Luke 23:43
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Case 2 (b) – Luke 23:43
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with me in paradise.

 Do a lexical analysis. Identify significant or key words in the passage and check their definitions, i.e., look up the meaning of the words in the original Greek or Hebrew. Some words have shades of meaning and sometimes only the context in which it is used would help us to understand what meaning should be applied to the word. There are also instances where the meanings of words change over time. Therefore if we only read the English version of the bible and never check up on the meanings of the Greek and Hebrew original words, we could misunderstand some serious points of doctrine.

Example: Revelation 3:14 (beginning)
The word beginning here seems to suggest that Jesus was the first one created, which is actually the interpretation Jehovah’s witnesses rely on in this passage to justify their belief that Jesus was a created being.

Definition of the word beginning from Thayer’s Greek Dictionary:
1) to be the first to do (anything), to begin
2) to be chief, leader, ruler
3) to begin, make a beginning

If we should apply another of the meanings given above, eg., ruler, then the sense of the passage changes. Instead of suggesting that Jesus was the first one created (as would be the case with the word beginning) we now see Jesus as taking precedence over the creation because he is the ruler and source of the creation. This concept lines up well with the text John 1:3, which reveals Jesus as the creator of all things.

 Context, context, context. Always examine the full context of a passage. When you interpret Scripture, whether it is a single word, a verse or a paragraph, you must always consider the Scripture in light of the surrounding verses, chapters and book in which it is found. At times one may need to go as far as considering the entire bible or theological framework. Your interpretation should never contradict the context of the book, chapter or paragraph you are studying.

Example 1: John 17:21-22 Here the passages speak about the Father and the Son being one and goes even further to say that the Son is in the Father and vice versa. The Jesus only adherents usually draw on texts like these as proof that the Father and the Son are one in that they are the same being. They further try to bolster the view by adding that the verse says that both are in each other. However, the context of the very passage invalidates that very view. Jesus prayed that the oneness (unity) of the believers parallels the oneness (unity) of Himself and the Father. We can clearly see that the ‘one’ spoken of here is not in terms of identity since we are unique individuals from our brethren. In the way that we are not the same person as out brethren yet we are one, it is in that manner that the Father and the Son are distinct from each other but are one. The context of the passage is very clear.

 Research the historical and cultural background. The historical and cultural background has to do with issues such as when was the passage written and what were the circumstances, customs, concepts and prevailing ideologies of the time and how did the people understand and relate to them. There is a little principle that would be helpful in this area, the five “W”s, – when, where, who, why and what. Consider the epistle to the Colossians in this regard.
WHEN: the time was likely between AD 60 and AD 62, about 30 years after the crucifixion, when Christianity was spreading rapidly to the Gentile world.
WHERE: the epistle was written from prison in Rome, to the church in Colossae, a small city of Phrygia, around 100 miles East of Ephesus (Colossae is part of what is now western Turkey).
WHO: Paul, a former Pharisee and persecutor of Christians, who had been dramatically converted to Christianity decades before and who has been a major force in its spread throughout the Roman empire, is writing to a group of recent converts, almost all of whom are not Jews, but formerly pagan Gentiles. The church at Colossae was confronted with a philosophy called Gnosticism, which had crept into the church by false teachers. A basic tenet of Gnosticism is the idea that mankind is comprised of a material body and an immortal soul. The material body was thought to be evil, while the immortal soul was mankind’s spiritual good side. It was therefore felt that by conquering the evil material body, the spiritual side of man would be enhanced. The belief then was that the body should undergo suffering and was therefore subjected to strict restrictions such as abstention from food, drink, sex, and other physical pleasures, often accompanied by self-inflicted pain.
WHY: The Colossian church comprised basically new converts from paganism. The environment is one in which the church is surrounded by pagans and pagan philosophies. The new converts were being influenced by some of these pagan philosophies and so Paul had to write to strengthen the group by warning against the pagan ideas and to redirect their focus on to the right path.
WHAT: Finally, using the above historical & cultural context as a reference, we can read the epistle and have a chance of seeing exactly what it was that Paul was trying to say. So that in Col.2:16-17, for example, the converted Colossians were learning how to enjoy life as God intended, and were eating meat, drinking wine, and enjoying food and fellowship when observing God’s Sabbath and festivals. The people persuaded by Gnostic thought began to look down on them and condemn them. Paul was simply telling the converts that they need not be bothered by the attitude of the Colossian society and others in the church toward the practices and their way of life in the church, as Christ has conquered the world and all of its rulers, so they do not need to be concerned about what the world thinks about them.

Although the internal evidence within the epistle should cast some doubt on the popular belief that Colossians 2 was about a disagreement between Jewish and Gentile Christians, many would not readily understand or acknowledge that the conflict was of a different nature unless presented with research on the historical and cultural setting. Thus, we see how an understanding of the history and culture of a particular time can enhance our understanding of scripture.

 Consider all the passages dealing with a particular subject, and move from the clear passages to the not so clear or ambiguous ones. Remember, precept must be upon precept and line upon line. If we want to know what is the biblical view on a particular subject, then we need to examine all the scriptures dealing with that subject and bear in mind that the scriptures do not contradict each other. Then, interpret the ambiguous texts in light of the clear passages of scripture.

The importance of this step cannot be over emphasized. Serious errors can be avoided if this biblical study principle is applied eg. Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9 versus Romans 2:13; James 2:21, 24. Here we have a set of scriptures, both promoting ‘contradicting’ ideas on the same subject. It is cases like these that underline the need for serious bible study and proper exegesis that involves examining all the scriptures dealing with a particular theme.

 Consult secondary literature – the writings of historians, commentaries etc. A word of caution. These secondary literature or reference materials are not inspired works, so we should not use them to establish doctrine. They are beneficial in helping to increase our understanding on certain aspects or points of scripture. But that is as far as they go.

 Document your findings or overall analysis of the passage. Also jot down any application of this passage for your life (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This can be typed on your computer or written down in a notebook or on flash cards. Jottings can also be made in your bibles.

Bible Study Resources:
 Study Bibles – Harper Collins Study Bible, The NIV Study Bible
 Dictionaries – Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Harper Collins Bible Dictionary, Vines Expository Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary
 Concordances – Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, Nave’s Topical Concordance
 Greek/Hebrew lexicons – Thayer’s Greek Definitions, Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions
 Commentaries – Word Biblical Commentary, Adam Clarke Commentary, Matthew Henry Commentary, John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible
 Bible software – PC study, E-Sword, Bible Gateway, Preacher’s Software

Should Christians keep the seventh-day Sabbath?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2012 by Institute of Religion

Should Christians keep the seventh-day Sabbath?.

Should Christians keep the seventh-day Sabbath?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2012 by Institute of Religion

Pastor Ian Boyne presented a two part lecture answering the question “Should Christians keep the seventh-day Sabbath?”. You can access these presentations via the links below:

Sabbath (Part 1)

Sabbath (Part 2)

IoR Relaunch Teaser #1

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2011 by Institute of Religion

The Institute of Religion of the Church of God International, Jamaica

Posted in News with tags , on December 24, 2011 by Institute of Religion

On December 17, 2011, Pastor Boyne the relaunch of the Institute of Religion. The group is mandated to strenghten the congregation in the true doctrines of God, and to be the center of apologetics for the church in Jamaica.

The group consist of President Stacy-Ann Hall, VP Melissa Haynes, Shannon Henry, Stephen Scale, Sean Goldburn, Chester Coke, Erl Findlay, Andrae Dennis, Sandra-May Robinson.