apologetics study

Scripture That Never Prove Your Point

At times, we find that our logic has limits so we reach to our Bible and our Strong’s concordance and find exactly how our opponent falls short of what Scripture Is Actually Saying. Unfortunately we go and use Scripture in exactly the way it shouldn’t be used and find that even though we might technically be making a good point we’re using Scripture in a wrong way to support that point. So I’ve decided to put together a post that shows the wrong way to use Scripture and although I use specific examples these are indicative of the types of things folk do all the time:

Ekklessia (or the Greek word for church) is made up of two Greek words. Kaleo which means to call or summon and ek which means out from. The Church is God’s Called Out Ones!
Wrong. Ekklessia is its own word that has a couple of root words. It just means assemblage or a gathering. For example in Acts 7:38 the word refers to the Israelites in the wilderness and in Acts 19:32 the same word refers to a confused and ticked off mob. We don’t do this in English: Butterfly is made up of two root words which is butter (the dairy spread we put on toast) and fly (the annoying aerial insect that ruins picnics). A Butterfly is therefore an annoying aerial insect that we can put on toast for breakfast!

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of God for it is God’s dynamite unto salvation.
I’ve heard this one enough times but I can still give D.A. Carson credit for including it in his book. Look just because the Greek word dunamis is the root concept word for dynamite it doesn’t mean that dynamite illustrates the point Paul is making years before the invention of the stuff. The Gospel doesn’t even work like dynamite (explosively destructive and volatile over time).

John 6:44 proves that God forces us to be saved. The Greek word there is used elsewhere to mean the forceful dragging of fishermen.
True and elsewhere it’s used to denote the attractive element of the cross: in other words, just because the word means different things in different contexts doesn’t mean it means the same thing across all contexts. Let me say that in English. Drag can mean drag across the floor and a really boring event. Sometimes it can even mean smoking. Making the word mean the same thing across every usage would be quite a drag (insert smoking here and suddenly my sentence makes no sense). The point here isn’t to dismantle the John 6:44 argument it’s to show that context determines meaning.

Since the verse refers to Brothers (and the Greek term is also a male referent) then it is speaking exclusively to men.
Not necessarily. God created Men, male and female He created them. Sometimes a generic male term is used to speak categorically to a group. Sometimes a singular male term can even be used to refer to a group comprised of men and women! Context is everything.

Colossians 2 proves X doctrine hands down; just read it.
Just because a favored proof text is in a single chapter does not mean that the proof is in the passage. In fact, many have read the same passage and have drawn a completely different conclusion. Worst, the chapter headings weren’t there originally and the chapter you refer to might be part of a larger argument which would leave your doctrinal stance gasping.

God’s foolishness is greater than our wisdom therefore we shouldn’t bother doing theology, philosophy or logic.
The purpose here isn’t so much the fallacious argument it’s the usage of Scripture to prove a point that the passage was never making. The passage in 1 Corinthians may be speaking to an altogether different situation but the user here has lifted it from its context and has recontextualized it in a place it doesn’t belong.

I’ll end with a quote followed by a book recommendation. The first is a rephrasing of Paul by one of my favorite Bible scholars-Dr. David Gooding-who had this drilled into his own head over time. It is in reference to looking at the literary structure of any material and the proper usage of that reading material and how, specifically, it’s important in Bible study.

Now there are these three; pattern, structure, thought-flow. Yet the greatest of these is thought flow.

And here, go now: pick up Carson’s book. It’s worth every penny.

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3 replies on “Scripture That Never Prove Your Point”

So, I was reading through the Rules of Engagement on Theologica again and came across this again. So, I have a comment and a question (neither of which draw from the points you are making):

Firstly, to your point about the word “drag.” The point (“context determines meaning”) is good, but a better example – or different a usage of “drag” – should have been used to make the point. The verb, in English, means (across the different usages) to “pull against resistance.” Whether one is using the word to describe moving a box across a floor or drawing smoke from a cancer stick, dragging is pulling against resistance. So, sometimes the meaning is fixed and the usage is different.

Secondly, a question: I got it that dunamis can’t be used to describe the Gospel as “dynamite” in the sense of TNT. I agree that the illustration fails miserably. What I want to know is whether you think that a using Dy-no-mite a la JJ Walker is viable?

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