The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Text
1. Promotion of the Trivial: The lesson is based on what is a passing comment in the text (Josh 9:13, they did not consult the Lord), a casual observation about the text (Moses persevered in going back before Pharaoh over and over) or even a deduction supplied in the text (Joshua and Caleb were brave and strong). The Bible is not being properly taught if we are teaching virtues that the text does not have in focus in that passage. We would like children to be virtuous, but we dare not teach virtues rather than the Bible. The plague narratives are not teaching perseverance nor is the feeding of the multitude teaching sharing (as done by the little boy in one of the accounts).
One young friend of mine (a truly good fellow, but young to biblical studies!) was recently planning to preach a message encouraging teenagers to be faithful in their labors no matter how mundane. Why? Because David, if you read 1 Samuel, kept going back to his sheep even after serving in the court of the king!
He overheard me talking about biblical theology and OT interpretation, and to his great credit he recognized that what I was saying called his message into question.
So he asked some relatives of his about it. They supported his initial plans. One argued that his sermon was perfectly justified because, after all, “The whole Bible is profitable for doctrine!”
So let’s get some feedback from my target audience, seminary-students-younger-than-me.
- What do you think I said about biblical theology that made my young friend think twice about his message?
- Was his relative right? If not, wouldn’t that mean that some details of the biblical text are insignificant? Doesn’t that shoot our doctrine of inspiration?