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The Cart Before The Horse?
by Wayne Blank
Prove It First
As you guessed, I do write the studies "backwards" by first reading all that the Bible actually says about a chosen topic and then summarizing it in the opening paragraph. I hope that you would too because it is very easy to simply make a personal assumption and then "prove" it from the Scriptures by carefully choosing only the verses that seem to support an idea.
It has been suggested that "the Bible can be made to say almost anything" if one decides to do so, and that is surely very true (a sampling of Sunday morning TV preachers will provide you with as many examples of that as you want - hopefully, you don't want any). It's very easy to do. For example, by putting an assumption first and then "proving" it later, three hypothetical people, one rich, one poor and one middle class, can each claim to be "righteous" in God's sight because of their personal economic situation in life. Keep in mind that I am the actual writer of all three of these examples - and that this is not how I write Daily Bible Study:
Person 1: "I'm righteous because I'm poor. Here's my proof:"
"Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake" (Luke 6:20-22 KJV)
Person 2: "I'm righteous because I'm middle class. Here's my proof:"
"give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." (Proverbs 30:8-9 KJV)
Person 3: "I'm righteous because I'm wealthy. Here's my proof:"
"Blessed is the man that feareth The Lord, that delighteth greatly in His commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever" (Psalm 112:1-3 KJV)
Although these examples may lead some to believe that the Bible contradicts itself, it really doesn't because each example is based foremost on behavior (i.e. the italicized words in the Scripture examples), not the economic situation of the individual. There are righteous and wicked among the poor, there are righteous and wicked among the middle class, and there are righteous and wicked among the rich.
An example of that is the parable of "Lazarus and the rich man" (Luke 16:19-31) in which the poor beggar Lazarus watched the cruel and unrighteous rich man burn, while Lazarus was in the bosom of kind and righteous Abraham - and yet during his lifetime, Abraham was himself very wealthy, having tons of gold and hundreds of servants (Genesis 13:2, 14:14). It's the behavior that matters in God's sight, "for The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but The Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV)
Fact Finder: Is the Word of God ever to be misused for "private interpretation" (KJV)