2 Tim 2:14-16
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
One of the greatest problems people have in understanding the bible is that individual verses extracted as 'quotes' are held as truth when these are frequently not understood in their correct context and are then perceived to be as important as clear specific passages where the full truth is taught about that specific matter.
Perhaps this is best understood by looking at an example which we all know...."tithing"
Malachi 3 is quoted by almost every preacher who is trying to con people into believing that the New Testament believer 'must' tithe their income today...specifically to his 'local church'
The true context of this passage's teaching about tithing is NEVER preached....ie
Malachi is a prophet in the OLD testament...calling Israel back to the Law (under the New testament we cannot be cursed)
It is part of a rebuke to the Levites....
It was only the Levites who brought their tithe to the storehouse for the priests to eat....
It was only ever FOOD and never money
To know the doctrine we must examine the scriptures where it is taught...not incidental references
Tithing is only ever taught under the Law of Moses (Exodus to Deuteronomy) ....Jesus confirms tithing is one of the 'matters of the Law'...Hebrews also says it is the Law which 'requires the Levites to collect tithes of their brothers'
The scope or content or 'what is to be tithed' is taught in Leviticus 27:30-32...it is produce of the promised land only
The people to whom tithing law applies is taught in Leviticus 27:1 and 34...(and the whole book of Deuteronomy)
The purpose for tithing is taught in Numbers 18:20-26 (to support priests who forfeited their inheritance in the land)
The why they got the tithe is taught in Numbers 18:21-23 (to support the Levites who ministered in the temple ...only 2 weeks out of 48 per year ...NOT fulltime)
The how and when of tithing is taught in Deuteronomy 14:22-29 and Deuteronomy 26:12-15 (eaten by the by the giver and his family for 2 years and then given to the Levites in the third year only)
To understand tithing clearly we must also look at where and how it was practiced
(Abram did it once of spoils only....Jacob promised to but it is not recorded that he ever did....the Israelites only did it after they entered the promised land....and the Levites only received it because they HAD forfeited their inheritance in the land of Israel)
(The early church NEVER taught or practiced it and it was only taught as doctrine after almost 800 when the church had fallen into the 'dark ages')
To preach Malachi 3 outside of this context is clearly a deliberate intent to misrepresent what GOD requires of people and what HIS word teaches about the matter. The sole purpose is to obtain your MONEY.
Why am I so passionate about this you may ask.....
Well one day as I was driving home from a church meeting I was 'bemoaning' the fact that the above scripture was so frequently being used to beat up God's children ....I heard the audible voice of God in response to my complaint...emphatically defending HIS word with this statement
"In the mouth of two witnesses or three, let EVERY word be confirmed"
Those who choose to 'proof-text' with the intent to deceive WILL be held to account by God!
Later as I struggled to understand how tithing worked and as I was asking God what He meant by a certain passage....I again heard the audible voice of God teaching me how to know what He intended
"Who was I speaking to ....and what was I saying to them"
If we are ever to come to the place where we know what God wants we will need to know how to understand the scriptures
.... that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,.... NKJV
This brethren is where most of God's children STILL are today......the reason for this is the failure of the 5 fold ministry to do its work!
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; NKJV
Anointed ministry is that which teaches the TRUTH....and sets God's children FREE....to fulfill their God given destiny!
A challenge to those with 'pet verses'....or even those that have verses which really frustrate and perplex you
examine their correct context
examine the bibles full teaching on the topic
be prepared to let go of your pre-conceived positions if you want to discover what God is really saying
You may discover that some of your 'pet doctrines and scriptures' are really proof-texts....but at the least you will end up with a greater appreciation of God's ways and who He is.