Dec 5, 2021. I Thessalonians 5:21

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PROVING GROUNDS. I Thessalonians 5:21. 12/5/21. #19.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 [New International Version]

21 but test them all; hold on to what is good,

  1. Not by feel, but by fact
    1. Test or prove = certify, examine, confirm by evidence
      1. Spiritual truth is not ascertained by feeling, personal belief, wishful thinking, or speculation
      1. This passage negates the “direct revelation” approach of Pentecostal doctrine
      1. Truth claims can be tested by evidence & are not subject to private interpretations that others cannot evaluate
    1. Testing eliminates uncertain truth claims & untenable spiritual proclamations
      1. Revelation 2:1-3 the Ephesian church was commended for examining the claims of those who promoted themselves as spiritual teachers
      1. Deuteronomy 18 those who claim to speak for God, but who do not are accursed (Galatians 1)
    1. Key to examining truth claims are the Scriptures
      1. II Timothy 2:15 must know the Scriptures in order to examine what others are teaching & promoting
      1. Should know the basic doctrines of the faith & what supports those doctrines
      1. We know how to sequence & understand areas of our interest (cooking, computers, gaming, crafts, hobbies, pop culture, fashion, decorating, landscaping…), so we can do the same if we make the Bible a keen interest
      1. Learn to pull together pertinent passages that support major Bible doctrines
  2. The student pitfall
    1. Most people tend to accept whatever is taught them without critiquing the information
      1. Often they are taught contradictory things, but believe the contradictions without even realizing that they are contradictory, so impossible
      1. Celebrity speakers are authoritative in the minds of the undiscerning
    1. Each believer is responsible to guard own beliefs
      1. A “tell me what to believe” approach opens one to falsehoods & dire consequences
      1. It takes effort, discernment, skepticism, constant diligence, & meticulous study to know truth
    1. Categories of error:
      1. Proof texting – taking passages out of their context to make them say something they do not (a most common error built on desiring to prove an idea or teaching one believes in)
      1. Allegorizing – claiming that Bible texts are not literal, but merely illustrations or spiritual stories that can mean many different things
      1. Contextualizing – applying the Bible to modern circumstances in a way that changes the meaning & intent of the passages (liberation theology)
      1. Systemization – fitting Bible into a philosophy
      1. Fallacy of Categories – mixing interpretation of genres (figures of speech, prophecy, narrative…)
  3. Proper interpretive principles
    1. What is the historical & grammatical context of passage?
    1. Identify genre (historical, poetry, doctrine, parable…)
    1. What is the context in the chapter, book, testament, Bible?
    1. If the plain sense of passages is clear, don’t seek another
    1. If you have come up with a unique interpretation = wrong
    1. Make sure interpretation is consistent with rest of Bible.
  4. Holding firmly to what is good
    1. Bad influences & laziness will cause beliefs to erode
    1. Staying true to right beliefs is tedious (II Timothy 2:14-19)
    1. Satan, the world, & false believers attack your faith
    1. Holding firm = keeping a tight grip on truth & holiness

Key verse: 2 Timothy 2:14-19

14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”