As a member of the Church of Christ we are not forbidden to read the bible but many, like me, no longer read the bible (or never read the bible) because we accepted our doctrines as true and pristine. Instead, most members turned into God’s Message magazine, attend bible expositions, bible studies, GEM (Grand Evangelical Missions, now called VEM under Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo’s administration), The Message (a video teaching presentation) and listen regularly during worship services.
Another reason is that we have been taught that the bible is kept in mystery and only the ministers can interpret it correctly. In this blog I would like to explore if this doctrine is true and pristine.
Q. What are the teachings of the INC regarding the mystery of the bible?
- The bible is kept in mystery – Rom. 16:25.
- Non-messenger of God will never come to the true understanding of the bible – 2 Tim. 3:7.
- Those who will attempt to interpret the bible if they are not messenger of God will be put to destruction – 2 Pet. 3:16
Rom 16:25, NKJV – 25Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.
2 Tim 3:7, NKJV – 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Pet. 3:16, NKJV – 16as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
The Cornelius Theory of Equivocation
Rom. 16:25, NKJV – If we read verse 26, the teaching of INC regarding verse 25 is deceptive.
Rom 16:25-26, NKJV – 25Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.26but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—
The meaning of manifest is “clear” or “reveal” therefore the mystery has been revealed already and so every man has the wisdom to learn the bible.
2 Tim 3:7, NKJV – If we read 2 Tim. 3:1-12, the context of the topic is those who live ungodly. People who live in sins like those who are lovers of money, proud of themselves, disobedient to their parents.
2 Tim 3:1-12, NKJV – 31But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
10But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, perseverance, 11persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. – emphasis is mine.
2 Pet. 3:16, NKJV – If we read 2 Pet 3:14-18, we can understand 2 Tim. 3:16 better. What is being taught here is some things are hard to understand, not all things in the bible. But the “things” are what the untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction. We are taught and stable people mentally and spiritually therefore 2 Tim 3:16 do not apply to us. This can also be applied against the INC doctrine for not teaching everything. For example teaching Rom. 16:15 and omitting to read Rom. 16:16.
2 Pet. 3:14-18, NKJV – 14Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15and consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
17You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. – emphasis is mine.
There is no doubt the bible is not easy to understand but if the bible is kept in secret, it is a thing of the past. The mystery has been revealed to all the nations as stated in Romans 16:26.