Does the Bible say what it means or not? This is a valid question. Christianity today by and large follows the allegorical interpretation of scripture. Once you assume for yourself what belongs to Israel in the Bible you create hundreds if not thousands of problems and contradictions that were not there before. Now you need explanations for all the verses that don’t make sense. Here is where the theologian steps in. We trust these men to make sense of the problems in scripture WE CREATED! We read the verses with our predetermined ideas and then wonder why we can’t understand the doctrinal issues in the Bible. Replacement theology has infiltrated ALL the denominations to differing degrees. ALL the denominations and non-denominational churches today I know of assume things that belong to Israel in scripture. Hence the need for commentators and highly educated people to tell us what the verses mean. I teach and implore people every Sunday to believe the verses AS WRITTEN. ALL the verses! This means being willing to believe the Bible OVER the years of denominationalism we have been indoctrinated into. Paul tells us we need teachers. Teachers should be held accountable to God’s word rightly divided. God’s word rightly divided is the answer to all the confusion we see today. We don’t need theologians held up as the be all end all answer to Bible understanding. Why, because they can’t answer all the questions. Jesus did not question the OT prophets so why are you? Jesus believed the OT prophets as I do. The apostle Paul was called a heretic as I am for believing my Bible. The OT teaches Messiah would come TO ISRAEL! Why then must you say that Jesus didn’t do this? Why then must you say Jesus EARTHLY ministry was to Gentiles when he said it wasn’t? My advice to you is stop listening to commentators, theologians and preachers and start believing the Bible EXACTLY as it is written. The OT teaches that when Israel ACCEPTED the Messiah that Israel would minister TO US. This is the plan Jesus came to fulfill. This is what the Bible actually teaches for itself. This is why Jesus WAS NOT ministering to gentiles, because ISRAEL COMES FIRST. This is exactly why Jesus had to come to Paul and send him to the Gentiles. Because our hope was resting in Israel’s OBEDIENCE. When Israel rejected the messiah that left us with NO HOPE, resulting is Jesus himself calling Paul and sending him to the Gentiles with a NEW MESSAGE of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. If you keep these two distinct and separate ministries where they belong, they both are clear and easy to understand, NO theologians needed. If you mix these two ministries, you better have a theologian on call because only confusion can result. Look around you. All the denominations arguing over BASIC doctrines. You can see clearly! You can understand! Separate what God has separate in the Bible and it all will make sense. YES it is this simple.
Wow, what a statement. No doubt some already took offence to this statement. The fact remains that your beliefs don’t matter. Christians today have learned the quick way to end any conversation about religion is to just say; “Well I just don’t believe that”. I have heard this one quite a few times. Let me be clear, God’s word rightly divided matters and what you or I believe does not. What is my proof? The FACT that within 30 miles of your house there are dozens of churches that read the SAME BOOK and believe DIFFERENT THINGS. What do we do, we simply just rattle off the phrase I don’t believe that; when you in most cases have NEVER studied the doctrine and beliefs of all those other churches. How then can you say you don’t believe it when YOU DON’T KNOW. As I have said before; do you really want the truth? If so, then why do you bury your head in the sand and pretend that you can’t be wrong when you really don’t know if you are? The fact is, if the other churches could show you your wrong would you have the guts to admit it and change? I can answer for you; Most of you by a long shot would not. At church you have friends, positions, titles, reputation, security, comfort, and people telling you, that you can’t be wrong every Sunday. Most Christians won’t even entertain the idea that they might be wrong about doctrinal things. But here is the truth; What about all those little things you read and heard over the years that didn’t make sense or you can’t understand? What about the times when you spoke with others and they showed you verses you can’t handle? All the questions you have but never ask or ever come to an understanding of? What about all the UNANSWERED prayer? What about all the “promises” you hear preached but you have never seen realized in your life or the life of others? Shall I go on? No, I actually will stop here. Please for once think critically about these things. Don’t you want an answer? The confusion comes from the lack of properly applying scripture written TO YOU. The confusion comes from falsely applying promises and scripture found in the Bible that IS NOT written to you. Rightly dividing the Bible as we do here IS THE KEY to understanding the Bible. Not just the verses pastors repeat over and over Sunday after Sunday! ALL THE VERSES. Paul tells us to rightly divide the Bible. You can pretend your preacher does this but I know better. I know how many churches actually do this. They are few and far between. This is because when you start to properly APPLY the Bible your tradition and pet doctrines start to fall apart. You start to see religion fall apart. You face YOUR PRIDE square in the eyes! For most this is where you turn back. We have to protect our pride at all costs. I was wrong about many things. Since I understand this, I understand pride is the main deterrent to a proper understanding of the Bible. PUT IT TO THE TEST. Give truth a chance. Your beliefs DO NOT COUNT because the dozens of churches that surround us full of sincere people CAN’T all be right. Right division brings clarity to all the confusion. ASK the tough questions! Stop hiding from those doubt’s you have. Apply the Bible as it tells you to and you will get the answers you are looking for. Beliefs don’t mean anything if they are based on scripture not written to you. As I like to say: YES, it is this simple.
Today is four years since we started our assembly. About seven years ago I looked for a church in my area that rightly divided the scriptures. There was none. I was surprised at the time that there were no churches that believed their Bible literally that way I had been learning to. Now four years after starting our church I am no longer surprised. It seams to me that most Christians today will fight for their beliefs but have no idea if they are fighting for the truth. Why? Christians today won’t listen to anything outside of what they currently believe to be true. This is akin to telling the Holy Spirit “I know it all, let me just coast through the rest of my life sitting in this pew and being content.” I know this to be true because in the last four years on numerous occasions I have tried to share the mystery of Christ with Christians and the pride of denomination, education, and experience shows up immediately. There is a reason Paul told Timothy to not let anyone despise his youth. Once Christians get older, they become so set in their ways they won’t listen to any criticism of their beliefs. When you become hardened to a challenge to your beliefs you have become cold to the Holy Spirits teaching in the worst possible way. You have decided you have nothing else to learn and you sit proud of all the years you have under your belt. There are people sitting in our church every week that have studied their Bibles for decades and sat under preachers with higher education that have learned something different. We have learned that sitting in church week after week for 40 or 50 years MEANS NOTHING if you were being taught the Bible so as to defend denomination and agenda instead of learning the Bible itself. Your experience as a Christian does not prove nor guarantee you know your Bible as written. The people in our church have learned to be open to God’s word and to let it have free course because we have seen the doctrines that we were taught fall apart when compared to the Bible believed literally. We have at the same time seen doctrines become so easily understood when you remove man’s ideas and agendas. Salvation is clear and easy to understand once man’s agendas are removed and God’s word is rightly divided. We are open to criticism because CRITICISM makes us prove whether we are standing in the TRUTH. I do not hide from criticism. In the last 4 years I have seen how easily people become offended when you challenge their beliefs over and over. I read the criticism others write about the literal interpretation of scripture. The problem is Christians will not listen to my critique of their trust in pastors that get paid to defend their denomination. Paul tells us “knowledge puffeth up.” We know the verse, so then why can’t we see our own pride as we so easily dismiss the critique of others. I understand we are conditioned to be prideful every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I understand when you sit in a building multiple times a week where everyone believes they are right it becomes almost impossible to listen to a challenge of your beliefs. All I can tell you is once you learn to rightly divide your Bible, you will never be the same. Only then will you come to realize how your pride has hindered your growth. Growth does not come by experience alone when is comes to scripture. Growth comes by understanding the scripture as God intended. Trust me, there is a big difference. Give yourself the freedom to be wrong, it might just change your life.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul