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The Bible is explicit – Satan is a murderer and a liar. In John 8:44, Christ warns the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil…He was a murderer from the beginning…[and]…he is a liar and the father of lies.” This might not be as concerning were it not for the fact that according to 2 Corinthians 4:4, this very same Satan is “the god of this world [who] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ….”
The upshot is this – Satan powerfully influences our world, blinds the minds of unbelievers, and is both a murderer and a liar. Shocked? We see it every day, and more and more so, as the end, times approach. Indeed, we have been lied to so often that we seldom even recognize it.
“I cannot tell a lie.” Remember that from grade school? Supposedly spoken by a young George Washington after he cut down a cherry tree. No! His 19th-century biographer actually fabricated it.
How about “Let them eat cake.” Marie Antoinette never said this; French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau did. And it wasn’t about Marie or cake; he wrote, “Let them eat brioche!”
Finally, “The end justifies the means.” Machiavelli? He never said this; he did say, “One must consider the final result,” but that’s not quite as catchy.
Lying, nevertheless, is not limited to just historical figures, politicians lie all the time, and they often cite the Bible to support their lies and appeal to a higher power.
Take Luke 12:48 “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” This is often quoted to support higher taxes. The parable actually refers to the principle that the degree of punishment is related to the extent to which the unfaithful behavior was willful.
Some, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, even quote bible verses that don’t exist. Between 2002 and 2018, Pelosi recorded the following quote in the Congressional Record twelve times: “To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.” It’s not even in the Bible.
Finally, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently launched an abortion campaign that included billboards with a quote from the greatest commandment found in Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” Apparently, we’re to believe that God loves killing babies. Go figure.
False religious leaders lie the same way as politicians – they commonly distort the Bible. Can we know the truth of the Bible?
2 Timothy 2:15 affirms that to interpret the Bible, we need to “be diligent to present ourselves approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” If we can “accurately handle the truth,” it must be assumed that the Bible can be correctly interpreted.
But how do we go about doing this? Here are four principles to consider:
Some practical examples
Here are two common misinterpretations that can be resolved using the above guidance.
1) Matthew 7:1 – Judging
Matthew 7:1 – “judge not lest you be judged.”
Misinterpreted: Don’t pass judgment on others! This is something we hear all the time, and it corresponds with our “love, don’t judge” culture, which has been influenced by the existential belief that there are no absolute truths even to judge (except, apparently, the absolute truth that there are no absolute truths).
Interpreted correctly: If we look at the context of this verse, however, what Jesus is condemning is hypocritical judging. The Pharisees were famous for seeing others’ sins while being blind to their own faults. In fact, Jesus in verse 5 encourages judging when He states, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
How to understand this correctly? When this is read in context, it becomes evident that Christ is condemning hypocritical judging and that we are to judge. There also are several supporting verses that state we must be discerning. Finally, historically the Pharisees were devout hypocrites; which also offers a clue.
2) Matthew 16:18 – Peter and the rock
In Matthew 16:18, Christ tells Peter, “I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
Misinterpreted: This is the foundational verse for establishing the Roman Catholic Church, the Papacy, and Peter as the initial Pope. Right?
Interpreted correctly: Contextually, this verse continues a conversation between Christ and Peter in which Christ asks, “who do you say I am?” and Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Christ then uses a play on words by saying, “My Father who is in heaven…revealed this to you,” for “you are Peter” [Greek Petros – you are a little stone], and yet you have revealed a foundational truth that “upon this rock” [Greek petra – foundation or cornerstone] “I will build my church….”
The “upon this rock…” which Christ refers to is not the Catholic church, Rome, or even earth; it is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. This is further supported in 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Christ is the foundation stone upon which the Christian church will be built.
How to understand this correctly? Read contextually; this verse is more clearly understood. Knowing the original words – “Peter” – little stone and “rock” – cornerstone, shed additional light on the meaning. Finally, other supporting verses reinforce Christ as the cornerstone, while no other verse speaks to establishing a Roman Catholic hierarchy or Pope.
Who do you trust?
We have been lied to continuously by politicians and false teachers throughout history. The only foundations you can absolutely believe are God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), and His accurate word (John 17:17).
Make sure that the only absolute truth doesn’t pass you by.