Thursday, July 27, 2017

Numerical Correlations - Part 1

You may have noticed that I don't rely heavily on 'numerical correlations' in my interpretation of the scriptures. Some preachers do and they use that method wisely. Clearly, some numbers in the scriptures have great meaning and significance.

Twelve, for example, is used again and again. Israel had twelve tribes and many twelves in the Hebrew scriptures relate to that. Piles of twelve stones. Twelve loaves of show bread. Jesus has twelve disciples in the Gospels.

Ok, I see that. The number twelve represents something. The question is, 'How far do I take that?' because I see people go quite far down the rabbit hole and start finding 'numerical significance' everywhere and start using it to justify 'doctrinal significance.' They start saying things like, 'This person should be in elected into leadership because they have twelve letters in their name.' or they use strange arithmetic adding and subtracting and coming to conclusions.

I am very wary of that kind of teaching. Authoritative claims are made that are not found in a plain reading of the text. The scripture has one 'essential' doctrine and to understand that doctrine you don't need any understanding of the numbers of the Bible.

Salvation is the 'essential' doctrine.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." - John 3:16-18 ESV

The Bible is an amazingly symmetrical book like nothing else. There is much to be learned by examining the engineering of it but Christ must be central.

Who called the twelve disciples? He did. Who gave Abraham twelve children? It was God.

If someone does not have the core understanding of salvation by grace as central in their teaching I really don't care what else they have to say about the Bible or spirituality. Knowledge like that is a distraction and not a blessing.

So, I ask you. Do you have the 'essential' truth of the scripture? Do you know that Jesus came to Earth and died on a cross to save your soul and everyone who would believe in Him?

Let that be our foundation. If we have that we can study the Bible and it will blossom like a flower. Then the tools we have can be useful and helpful in watering the incorruptible seed that has taken root in our life and given us a brand new identity.


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