When Scripture Contradicts Your Doctrine…

To perform Eisegesis, you must stick with what you already believe… No matter what the cost.

I am constantly confronted by people who are horrified that they have found (or worse, I have shown them) Scripture that contradicts and debunks their favorite doctrine…

Don’t panic! There is an answer! It is called…

EISEGESIS

This is a skill taught in the finest of Christian colleges and seminaries. Denominations have used it to “prove” their own distinctives… It is, however, a simple concept and quite easy to grasp…

To perform Eisegesis, you must stick with what you already believe… No matter what the cost. You are right and you know it. The Scripture is right but misunderstood. You go to the Bible with great determination and you find verses that prove that you are right and the common understanding of the passage in question is obviously wrong.

Having found at least two verses that prove that you are right, you must begin to think. (That is the really hard part.) If the painful and contradictory verse does not mean what it says, what does it mean? You must, by twisting logic and dumping common sense, come up with an explanation as to “what it really means.”

The Calvinists are masters at this. They know that Calvin was right and no Scripture that even hints at free will, can really mean what it really says… Problem is, there are a lot of those verses! They came up with a simple solution… redefine the words. Whosoever means Elect. All means Elect. None means Elect. Once you understand the concept, it is easy… Of course, Calvin was right!!!

Then, there is Romans seven. You know that Paul was perfect and could not sin… In Romans seven, Paul says that he sins… You spend months trying to explain why Paul could not have meant that he was a sinner when he said that he was a sinner. You come up with a five thousand word essay explaining how Paul did not mean that he was a sinner when he said that he was a sinner. Yea! You did it… And then, in a reply, someone quotes Paul again… “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15) Woops, this calls for another 5,000 word thesis… after all, we know that Paul was not a sinner.

When we have again proven that Paul was mistaken and that he really meant to use the past tense, that same pesky commentator comes up with another one… “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10) He notes that if Paul were to say that he was not a sinner, he would be calling God a liar…

What to do now? Simple, just keep at it… With good eisegetical skills you can prove anything…

David…

Let Scripture Speak

Eisegesis kills…

Exegesis Vs. Eisegesis

Sometimes a verse of Scripture is not clear or it seems to violate other Scripture and even the teaching of the rest of the Word… When we find that, we look carefully at what it says, we look at the context and we ask ourselves if there is a way to understand the verse that agrees with the rest of Scripture. That is called Exegesis and it is good.

Then there is Eisegesis… I look at all Scripture in the light of what my denomination or my church teaches and I bend all Scripture, warping it, twisting it, and interpreting it in impossible ways… all in order to force that Scripture to agree with what I already believe… That is bad…

Let me give you a couple of examples.

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

That sounds like maybe once I am saved, I cannot be lost… but there are so many Scriptures that disagree… Scripture speaks of falling from grace and being severed from Christ… Revelation speaks of having your name blotted out of the Book. Jesus parable tells of believers who received the Word with joy, but later the cares of this life knocked them out… How do I resolve that?

Exegesis: I look carefully at the verse in question. It says that “no one can snatch them…” but it does not say “No one can jump out of my hand…” Problem solved…

Eisegesis: I am a Baptist. Baptists believe Once Saved, Always Saved. This verse agrees with my church. This verse is right and all the others are wrong. Problem solved.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Exegesis: That is very straightforward, Jesus said it, I believe it… No problem.

Eisegesis: I am a Calvinist. Calvin said that men have no choice. Only the Elect are saved and everyone else is lost. Therefore, Jesus did not really mean that and we must understand “whosoever” to include only the Elect. What Jesus really meant to say is that those who are predestined to be saved will believe and they will be saved. Whosoever really means the elect. Calvin is happy, I am happy, problem solved.

Please… try to exegete Scripture… Eisegesis kills…

David…

CALVIN AND THE PROBLEM OF ROMANS 9

“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Calvin, probably due to a personality disorder often apparent in his writings, latched onto this passage as if it were the key to all of Scripture. His belief that this passage is the center and key to all of Scripture caused him to warp, distort, twist and misinterpret almost all of Scripture, forcing every verse and every passage to conform to his understanding of Romans chapter nine and this passage in particular.

Based on Romans nine, his interpretation of John 3:16 becomes so convoluted as to be hilarious… The word “world” refers only to the predestined Elect. “Whosoever” applies only to a tiny group of the Elect. “Believes” is not the result of a choice but rather a forced response over which the Elect “believer” has no choice. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Calvin, based on his belief that Romans 9 is the focal point of all Scripture, insisted that both the word “all” and the word “any” in that passage must be limited to the Elect and that we must understand it to mean “…not wishing that any of the Elect should perish, but that all of the Elect should reach repentance.”

This is nonsense… Nothing in all of Scripture would indicate that Romans chapter nine should force such odd interpretations of passages from Genesis to Revelation…

Arminius, on the other hand, believed Romans nine to be in error and believed that it should not be included in Scripture. But it is in Scripture and it must be dealt with…

Most Christians have rejected the views of both Calvin and Arminius, deeming both doctrinal systems to be heretical. So, what do we, as Christians, do with Romans nine?

First, I must insist that Romans nine must be interpreted in the light and context of the rest of the Scripture and not the other way around. When you find a difficult passage, you do not use that passage to warp, twist and bend clear and plain Scripture. You must explain the difficult and obscure in the context of the clear and the plain. To force John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9 and a hundred other clear and plain Scriptures to agree with Romans nine is backwards. To redefine words like world, all, whosoever, any and none in order to make the Scripture agree with your perceived “Key Passage” is a clear indication of ignorance and mental instability.

God is omniscient or all knowing. God knows the beginning from the end. Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Predestination must be understood in the light of the foreknowledge of God. It is not those whom he predestined that he foreknew, it is those whom he foreknew that he predestined.

Understood in the light of Romans 8:29, Romans chapter nine makes perfect sense and does not disagree with any other Scriptures… In other words, by allowing plain Scripture to interpret the difficult, the Bible becomes a straightforward and clear record. Understood in the light of Romans 8:29, a very clear passage, you can understand Romans nine in a way that does not require you to redefine simple words and twist Scripture.

Yes, God loved Jacob and hated Esau. But that love and that hate were not simply the result of a random choice, devoid of any reason. When you understand that God knew, absolutely knew the DNA, the character, the personality of both men and could predict, infallibly, the actions both men would take under the same circumstances, along with how their descendants would act, it makes sense. God knew both men, inside and out, before they were born and God decided to love one and hate the other, based on that knowledge. If you follow the descendants of both men and compare the Israelites with the Edomites, you will see that God did indeed make a wise decision.

Joshua gave the people of Israel a choice. Joshua 24:14,15 reads, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

That choice was real. God calls all men, not desiring that any should perish but that all should come to repentance… That call is real. With the call comes the faith and power to believe. The choice is real, and God respects that choice… When Jesus said, ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” He meant “the world” in the most common sense of the word. He meant “whosoever” in the most common sense of the word. “Believes” is the result of a clear and plain choice. God predestines those whom He foreknew would accept him to be conformed to the image of Christ. Nothing would indicate that God predestines some to Heaven and others to Hell based on a random and mindless choice.

When God says that it is his will that none should perish, but that all should reach repentance, He means that in the simplest and most straightforward way, “none” means “none” and “all” means all. But God has given men the power to choose and that includes the right to reject him. This is consistent with all of Scripture. Even the angels have free will. When Lucifer rebelled, God let him go. One third of the angels chose to go with Satan, two thirds choose to stay with God. God honored their choice. When Jesus called the Rich Young Ruler, he walked away… Jesus let him go and honored his choice…

Romans nine, understood in the light of the whole of Scripture, does not oppose that. It is Calvin’s interpretation of Romans nine that opposes and contradicts the Scriptures, not Romans nine as it is written.

David…