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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Twisting Scripture--PART 2

How often have you encountered some bizarre doctrine only to be stunned to hear a Bible verse quoted to support it? With new religious cults springing up almost daily and old ones growing rapidly, this is more and more common. How are they seemingly able to twist Scripture to mean something Christians have never believed it to mean in two thousand years?
James Sire, author of the Universe Next Door and How to Read Slowly, has isolated twenty separate kinds of reading errors which are characteristically made by cultists as they interpret the Bible. He covers the full range form simple misquotation to complex argumentation which links one slightly eccentric interpretation to another, mixes in a few orthodox readings and ends with a conclusion totally foreign to the biblical world view. Sire also handles twisted translation, over specification, virtue by association, ignoring the context and others. Scripture Twisting is a great book to pick up and read. I recommend it!

A more detailed or specific conclusion than is legitimate is drawn from a biblical text. Example: The Mormon missionary manual quotes the parable of the virgins from Matthew 25:1-13 to document the concept that "mortality is a probationary period during which we prepare to meet God." But the parable of the virgins could, and most probably does, mean something far less specific, for example, that human beings should be prepared at any time to meet God or to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

A word or phrase from a biblical translation is examined and interpreted as if the revelation had been given in that language. Example: Mary Baker Eddy says the name Adam consist of two syllables, A DAM, which means an obstruction, in which case, Adam signifies "the obstacle which the serpent, sin, would impose between man and his Creator."

Either (1) mistaking literal language for figurative language or (2)mistaking figurative language for literal language. Example of (1): Mary Baker Eddy interprets EVENING as "mistiness of mortal thought; weariness of mortal mind; obscured views; peace and rest." Example of (2): The Mormon theologian James Talmage interprets the prophesy that "thou shalt be brought down and speak out of the ground" (Isaiah 29:4)to mean that God's Word would come to people from the Book of Mormon which was taken out of the ground at the hill of Cumorah.

A predictive prophesy is too readily explained by the occurance of specific events, despite the fact that equally committed biblical scholars consider the interpretation highly dubious. Example: The stick of Judah and the Stick of Joseph in Ezekiel 37:15- 23 are interpreted by the Mormons to mean the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Here is the scripture verse out of the KJV:
15 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 16 “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’ 17 Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand. 18 “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’— 19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’ 20 And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. 21 “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

A writer says that the Bible says such and such but does not cite the specific text (which often indicates that there may be no such text at all). Example: A common phrase "God helps those who help themselves" is not found in the Bible.





  • the example you gave for " SAYING BUT NOT CITING" made me think of something that I often hear people say "singing is praying twice" I highly doubt it's in the bible and I've never heard anybody saying it refer to a specific verse, then again I don't know all the content of the bible. Have you heard people say that? Do you know if it's in the bible?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:57 AM  

  • Marguerite-

    No, that is not found in the bible. A handy and wonderful tool to search any translation of the Bible is to use www.biblegateway.com

    Type in the phrase or a couple of words and it will reliably search through the entire bible. It is the one of the few ways technology aids Our Christian faith...no more huge concordances to thumb through.

    The phrase; "singing is praying twice" was said by St. Augustine.

    Here is one link:

    God Bless!

    By Blogger Blogger, at 10:33 PM  

  • Thank you for clarifying and for the reference. It's just odd that so many people (even pastors) will say this phrase as if it came straight out of the bible. I had no idea it came from St Augustine.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:39 AM  

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