CONTEXTUAL INTERPRETATION

The question was quite simple:  “Why so many denominations?”  While that question was simple, the answer was not as easy as one might suppose. 

In my library there about five books on Church History, most of them give insight from different angles while endeavoring to be 100% accurate.  However, I find that they are basically supportive of each other; identifying various stages of history and how many of the church Father’s where effected by the era in which they labored.

May I use the subject of “healing” as an example?  James writes about this in his Epistle. (5:13-18)  If I refer back to the verses that involve brother Job, or the prophets I can already realize that some sickness has behind it the activity of the Lord Himself.  You will recognize how the devil attacked Job because he had permission from God; he had accused God of putting a hedge around Job and saying that was the only reason Job was faithful to God.  In spite of the entire account, which encompasses the entire Book of Job, James asks a simple question concerning this event:  “have you seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealing, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful?” (v11)  Also, there is the option of one may “not fall under judgment”. (v12)

One of the first things we need to endeavor to discover is “can I recognize that God is in this?  Can it be that He is demonstrating just to the devil concerning our blameless walk before God?   Might it be a rebuke from the Lord that we are not walking in agreement with His desires?  The first part of this whole text can be interpreted from the standpoint: “I must not complain!  Though I might be suffering, I am to avoid complaining and endure with patience!

In the event that the sickness continues, following one’s own assessment, I am to then “call for the elders of the church”.  If you are in association with a local assembly of believers, you are to call for the elders of the church, to come and pray with you on the matter.  In light of what we have seen previously, they should carefully seek to find the reason behind the sickness.  Then, they are to listen to the confession of what you believe, or what they might have observed to be the cause.  With this determined, they are to anoint with oil and pray over you for healing.  This is the procedure that was to be used, not some “healing” meeting with a “healer”.

The verses following, confirm that the outline presented is simple and plain for all of us. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16) 

When reading and studying your Bible… use Contextual Interpretation.

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