The Use Of The Bible As A Source Of Divine Guidance On Matters Which It Does Not Directly Address: Is It Scriptural? -- By: Callie Joubert

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 24:1 (Sep 2017)
Article: The Use Of The Bible As A Source Of Divine Guidance On Matters Which It Does Not Directly Address: Is It Scriptural?
Author: Callie Joubert


The Use Of The Bible As A Source Of Divine Guidance On Matters Which It Does Not Directly Address: Is It Scriptural?1

Callie Joubert

and

Nick Maartens2

Abstract

Many Christians believe that the whole Bible is the inspired Word of God. In it, they believe, they can find God’s authoritative will for their lives and that it can be used as a source of divine guidance concerning matters which are not directly addressed in it. This belief has led to a practice that must be questioned: the decontextualising of scripture in order to recontextualise it to say something it was not originally meant to say. The recontextualised meaning is then taken as a personal message from God and used to legitimise beliefs, decisions and actions. The most unfortunate result is that this practice has led to the assumption that such guidance is not to be questioned, since it is ‘from the Lord’. This paper shows why both the practice and the actual and possible

assumptions underlying the practice are wrong. It then provides an alternative approach to the reading of scripture for ascertaining God’s will concerning everyday decision- making matters. The alternative approach is based on better assumptions and is less open to spiritual deception.

1. Introduction

Many Christians believe that the Bible is not only the inspired Word of God, but also that it has authority for their daily lives (Nel 2017:6). Knowing the will of God is, therefore, of no little importance to them (Fee 2004; Friesen and Maxson 2004; Mumford 1971; Pritchard 2004; Robinson 1998; Sproul 2009; Weiss 1950). There are several texts in the Bible that explain this, but arguably none referred to or quoted more than Romans 12:2.

However, many Christians, especially those in the Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions, believe that scripture can be used as a source of divine guidance concerning matters which are not directly addressed in it, for example, whether to further their education after school, which career to pursue or which offer of employment to accept, who to marry, where to live, which car or house to buy and even whom or where to evangelise.3 This belief has led to a practice that must be questioned.

2. The Practice And Its Problems

The way the Bible is appropriated as a source of divine guida...

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