The Importance of The Originalist View of Scripture

This week has been another example of the intricate workings of our government with the process of a Supreme Court Nominee being confronted with questions about the ‘stuff’ she is made from. Some questions have been repeated in different ways and Judge Barret has answered each of the same questions with the very same answer. The revelation in general is that she is an ‘originalist,’ one who interprets the Constitution of the United States as it is written and this seems to infuriate those who are liberal-leaning politicians. Liberals are seemingly always offended by anyone who looks at something with a ‘black and white’ perspective; no matter the subject. So it is with the Word of God.

How many sermons and Bible Studies have you and I heard and attended concerning the verse from 1 Timothy 6, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” ? The example here reveals the fallacy of removing a singular text from the surrounding context to make a point. Chapter One of 1 Timothy is not specifically speaking to ‘the root of evil.’ Personally, I tend to think removing this verse of Scripture from the original context in which it is founded reduces the implication and full meaning of what Paul has written. The fact is simple, Paul is not speaking about the love of money per say and neither is he addressing ‘the root of sorts of evil.’ In order to know what this singular statement means it must be included within the original context. First of all, please read the entirety of 1 Timothy chapter 6and then study the content.

In verses 1 and 2 Paul is instructing Timothy concerning what or how Believers must adhere to the teaching of certain principles that he mentions in verse 3. The question then follows, “What principles?” By reading preceding verses and following verses we can find out. However, for our purposes here I will suggest only what we find in the verses found in Chapter 6. 

This is is a good place to refresh our thoughts and understanding about early Greek and Hebrew manuscripts because the writers did NOT use periods, question marks or any other kinds of punctuation that are used today. There were no numbered verses. All of these things were added, perhaps, in the 3rd century AD. In fact, all early texts were written in capital letters. That is correct, there were no lower case letters. This is sort of how it looked, “THISISSORTOFHOWITLOOKED.”

Returning to the subject at hand; Paul addresses the words of Christ and righteousness in verses 3-6 and the depravity of those who do not adhere to His teachings. In verse 10 Paul writes, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” This verse relates directly back to every preceding verse and each of them reveals the sin of unrighteousness and the results thereof. Constructing a Bible study from verse 10 is NOT necessarily wrong, but to do so removes the purpose and meaning of what has written to Timothy concerning Believers and righteousness. And neither is Paul addressing slaves and their owners about slavery. Paul is directly addressing the necessity of Believers to follow the instructions of Jesus that results in righteousness because of the principles found in His instructions. AND this is the importance of contextual studies. The removal of a singular verse from its context can be dangerous to the original meaning and intent of God’s Word.

Jesus is Lord.

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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