2009-04-26

Watchout for Over Extrapolating & Spiritulizing of God's Word

It is very sad that Bible expositors, commentators and preachers tend to over extrapolate the original meaning of bible verses. Take this simple one, Mat 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour(taste), wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Most commentators just take note of the word "salt" mentioned and then begin to expound and extrapolate the meaning of salt. So the commentators said that salt is for preservation. It is to preserve the quality of food so that it will not be spoiled. Hence, Christians are to preserve the people from the corruption of the world. Some even say that the color of salt is white and white represents purity. Christians are to be pure and so forth .... create thirst, sting pain, ....

But of all the attributes of salt, Jesus only highlighted "saltiness taste" and stressed on it twice. Any exposition should concern itself with the salty taste of salt. What is the purpose of the salty taste of salt? It makes tasteless food tasty. It makes thing better. It brings improvement. To put it with greater emphasis, it transforms thing - from tasteless to tasty. Similarly, Christians should bring transformation to the world around it - from lifelessness to liveliness; from darkness into light (see v14 ye are the light); from hopelessness to hopefulness etc. Salty Taste is about Transformation to the better.

With this "transformation" in mind, using salt as preservatives become wrong. Saltiness is not used to keep thing unchanged but to change thing for the better... is is about changing and not keeping the status quo!

Looking at the other half of the verse - if one lost its saltiness, it becomes useless and is cast out and be trodden under foot. There are some people who use this verse to support the view that Christian could loose his salvation. Again, this is over spiritualizing the issue. Jesus simple said that salt without saltiness were useless and were to be discarded. Christians that are not impacting and transforming the world are not fulfilling their purposes and calling of God and are useless - i.e. no impact. Together with v14, ye are the light, the call is for Christians to boldly go and cause transformation to world - bringing life to lifelessness, bringing light to darkness. It is more of an encouragement and commission to go rather than a threat of losing your standing and relationship with Christ. The flow of the paragraph is to go, not to hide, to influence the world, and bring glory to God.

Let our mind be sharp and wise and not be misled by overly extrapolating and overly spiritualized teaching. Learn to know how to accurately understand and apply the Word of God.

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