Friday, January 13, 2017

Plain Meaning, Right Division, and Feet Washing

I encounter a lot of Christians who insist upon the "plain meaning" method of interpreting the scriptures. They will often state things like,
You need to accept the 'plain meaning' of I John 2:2 - which says that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the whole world. When you do that it is obvious that the atonement is universal. (common statement)

The first thing that comes to my mind is always the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who said, "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." (John 13:14-15) I would ask - What is the plain meaning of this text? Clearly it is an affirmation that the Lord Jesus Christ literally washed the feet of his disciples and that he commanded his disciples to do likewise. It follows that to the extent that one does not affirm the literal washing of the saints' feet, as the Lord Jesus Christ both exemplified and commanded, one's claim to interpreting the bible based "plain meaning" is spurious.

God's people are to rightly divide the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15), not understand it via sheer "plain meaning." This involves comparing spiritual things with spiritual (I Corinthians 2:13), line upon line and precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:10) so that we may come to a proper, non-contradictory understanding of God's revelation to us. When we do that we find many PRECEPTS that undermine the commonly proffered "plain meaning" interpretation of I John 2:2 (John 10:11,26; Romans 8:31-39, Matthew 1:21, Ephesians 1:4-6), and absolutely NO PRECEPTS that undermine the "plain meaning" interpretation of John 13:14-15.

That is why it is important to rightly divide the word of truth... and to wash the feet of the saints.

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