Archive for January, 2014

Did Paul Really Say That?

January 31, 2014


Title: Did Paul Really Say That? — Resolving Difficult Bible Passages


Text: Matthew 28:12-20, 1 Corinthian 1:10-17, Mark 16:15-16


Time: October 26th, 2013



Have you ever had the experience of reading the Bible and all of a sudden a passage strikes you as odd, strange or even not right? A little while ago I was reading along in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 1:17, where the Apostle Paul says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” I read it again, and thought to myself, “Didn’t Christ send the Apostles, Paul, and the rest of us to do both – preach the gospel and baptize?” So then why is the Apostle Paul saying specifically that Christ did not send him to baptize. Now remember, I’m a Baptist Pastor, so this is important. If Christ didn’t send the Apostle Paul to baptize, then maybe he didn’t send any of us to baptize. So it got me thinking, “What does Paul mean here in this passage as it relates to the rest of the Bible?” I knew instinctively that whatever Paul was saying it was in harmony with the rest of the Bible. I’ve been a Christian long enough to know that God’s Word doesn’t contradict itself. But I also knew that it’s easy for us to misunderstand it, or read and interpret it incorrectly, so I figured I’d get to the bottom of this with a little more effort on my part. Somehow the Apostle Paul here is not contradicting the Great Commission given by Jesus to his disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” What did Jesus mean when he gave the Great Commission? What did the Apostle Paul mean when he said he wasn’t sent to baptize? These were two things I wanted to get to the bottom of, because, like I said before, I’m a Baptist pastor, and if there anything us Baptists are known for it’s baptizing, so we’ve got to get this thing straightened out. Well, in the end, I did get it straightened out, as far as I’m concerned. It all comes down to context – and this is really important when reading and understanding the Bible. Every passage in the Bible has a context, or in other words, it’s surrounded by a certain situation. That specific situation must be taken into consideration or else we’ll be ripping passages out of context and making incorrect application, which will then be wrong and throw us out of balance in our Christian life. So this is a very practical lesson today, because it teaches us the importance of reading the Bible in context. Are you careful to consider the context of the Bible passage you are reading? Or do you just jump into any verse and quickly pull anything out of it you can? It’s very, very important to consider the context when reading the Bible. Let me explain further. (more…)