The Bible, and the Bible only, should be the basis of our
discussions. Our aim should be to understand that which God has caused to be
recorded. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for correction, for instruction in righteousness".
2 Timothy 3:16.
To achieve this, we should appreciate that "No
prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation". 2 Peter
1:20. This means that my opinion (and yours) has no place in our
investigations. Neither does that of any church. We must leave our
preconceived opinions, our hereditary and cultivated ideas, at the door of
investigation. If we search the Scriptures to vindicate our own opinions we
will never reach the truth. Let us search to learn what the Lord says for us
In practical terms this means that when we are faced with
a difficult word or verse, the ONLY way to understand it will be by allowing
the Bible to explain itself. First of all, by its context, especially the
next few verses, and then by allowing another Scripture to explain the
problem one. The Spirit of God will guide us in this by showing us examples
in the life of Jesus Christ.
As we do this we shall accumulate a "spiritual
dictionary" of understandings which we can then use in other places and at
other times. "We have received... the Spirit which is of God that we
might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things we
also speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy
Ghost teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual". 1
Therefore we can use any translation we wish, ignore any
chapter and verse divisions, and punctuation, for they have all been added
by other men. We do not need to use archaic words such as "thee" and
"heretofore", but can translate them into their modern equivalent as we
quote. We do not have any of the original documents so we must trust our
heavenly Father that He will not give us "stones" when we ask for
"bread". See Luke 11:9-13. I will use the king James version as a
basis because it is accepted by so many, not because it is any better than
any other. We should show our references for the convenience of others, and
put Bible texts in quotation marks.
But that does not rule out sharing something we have just
found out through other channels. We can make statements, if they are Bible
based and corroborated by another "witness", for "at the mouth of two
witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be
established". Deuteronomy 19:15.
This "witness" idea is not, as so many suppose, another
place in the Bible where the same idea is expressed so that we can judge by
"weight of evidence". Those who think like this usually require two or three
verses to "prove" God's word. But His word stands alone. If He says it, then
it is so. It is written, "Your word is true from the beginning".
Psalm 119:160. What we want is another witness, or witnesses, to explain to
our dull senses what the first (true) one means. We may come across many
apparent "contradictions" in our search, but they are only "apparent", not
real. The "contradiction" is in our understanding, not in the word.
Therefore we will need to give regard to "EVERY word
that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD", including those which seem
to contradict what we want to believe. Deuteronomy 8:3.