Let’s have a little fun over the next few days, as we look at some things that you’ve always been told (or assumed) were in Scripture that just aren’t there…
1. The Bible Commands Us Not To Judge Others
This one really is pretty easy to turn on its head. Matthew 7:1 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” So everyone uses it to try to make Christians think that its wrong to hold people accountable for their actions. But they don’t bother to read the next three verses that give the condition of this pervious statement.
“For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:2-4 ESV
The point Jesus is trying to make is that the same standard you hold others to is the standard that you will be held to. It’s also saying that before you can effectively help someone see to deal with the weaknesses they’re facing, you have to deal with you own. But it doesn’t mean that we are forbidden to guide others towards Scriptural obedience.
2. Jesus Never Dealt With the Issue of Homosexuality
Now, on one hand, this is true. Jesus didn’t directly address the issue of homosexuality. Homosexuality just wasn’t a part of the culture of Israel in Jesus’ day. But Jesus did address the issue of marriage, and in doing so, He made it clear what God’s intention was:
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:4-6 ESV
So, if God’s plan from the beginning (by the way, the Hebrew word for “beginning” is “Bereshit” – the Hebrew name for the Book of Genesis) was that a single male and a single female would be joined together into intimacy, then there’s not really any place for all male or all female relationships.
3. The Apostles Changed the Sabbath to Sunday
This one’s a lot of fun. You take Church tradition, add in a couple verses out of context and you get an entirely messed up doctrine. There are really only two verses in the Bible that indicate any possibility that the First Century Christians worshipped on Sunday:
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. – Acts 20:7 ESV
On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. – 1 Corinthians 16:2 ESV
“First day of the week…” There it is, in black and white. Maybe not. Remember, the name of this blog is “Context Matters.” So, let’s filter these two verse through a little historical and religious context.
The first thing we should understand is that the Jewish day does not begin at midnight. It starts at sundown the evening before. This is based on Genesis 1, when in the Creation story it repeatedly says, “and the evening and the morning were the …day.” The Jewish mind of Jesus’ and Paul’s day reckoned the start of the day at sundown. So, the “first day of the week” occurred from sundown on Saturday to sundown on Sunday. That’s the first important point.
Second, the Sabbath in Jesus’ day had three meals on it. The first took place in the home with the family on Friday evening, understanding that Sabbath began at that time. The second meal of Sabbath was a meal that took place in the synagogue among the worshipers at Sabbath lunch. And the final meal of Sabbath was a community meal in a home that began just as the sun set at the close of Sabbath, and continued well into the morning of the first day of the week.
Another important piece of this final meal of Sabbath was that there was generally a box placed on the center of the table, wherein a collection was taken for the needs of the poor in the community.
Finally, if a distinguished rabbi were present, he would undoubtedly be called upon to teach those in the house.
So take another look at the two verses we read that mention the Early Church meeting on the first day of the week…
In the first passage, the rabbi Paul is in a home teaching a group of Believers until midnight. Now, our Christian minds automatically assumes he started preaching at the 10am Sunday Worship Service. But CONTEXT leads us to conclude that it was much more likely that Paul was attending the third meal of Sabbath that began at the sundown and continued into the “first day of the week.”
And the second passage references Believers coming together on the first day of the week and taking up a collection for the poor. This too, fits nicely with the CONTEXT of what took place during the third meal of Sabbath.
Now, this is not definitive. The traditional interpretation could be correct. But CONTEXT fits much more closely with this being a gathering of Believers at the close of Sabbath.
And NOWHERE in Scripture does it give us a clear indication that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday.
NOTE: I don’t care what day of the week you gather with other Believers to collectively worship. But don’t pretend that Sunday worship is keeping the Sabbath, when Scripture doesn’t back it up.
That was fun! So much fun that I think we’ll do it again tomorrow. Here are three more Biblical myths we’ll tackle:
The Last Supper was a Passover Seder
Jesus Was Crucified on Friday
Jesus Rose From the Dead on Sunday Morning