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Exegetical Fallacies

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Before church began this morning I was thinking about exegetical fallacies. I’m not sure why this topic was on my mind but I was trying to think back to which of these fallacies I have written about on this site. I came up with three and promptly forgot one of them. I thought I’d collect the other two here for your reading pleasure.

Proverbs 29:18

The first of them is Proverbs 29:18 which you may have heard translated as “without vision the people perish.” A quick survey of my bookshelf turned up references to this verse in several books. The example I used in an article last year was taken from one of Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox updates:

MY IMAGINATION INFLUENCES MY ASPIRATION. In other words, your dreams determine your destiny. To accomplish anything you must first have a mission, a goal, a hope, a vision. “Without a vision the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18. I compared this verse to several other translations:

NIV – Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint
NLT – When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild
CEV – Without guidance from God law and order disappear
NKJV – Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint
HCSB – Without revelation people run wild
ESV – Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint
AMP – Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish

My conclusion was that, “It is possible that a brief, careless reading of one translation of the Bible could lead to confusion as to this verse’s meaning. But for anyone who rightly handles the Word of God, paying attention to the sense of the text and to the meaning of the specific words used, the meaning of this verse is obvious. This verse says nothing of the importance of having a church that is led by vision or a visionary. Ironically, this verse should underscore the importance of honoring God’s revelation, and warn those who would water it down by sloppy or deliberate misuse.”

You can read this article here.

Matthew 18:19-20

The second exegetic fallacy concerns Matthew 18 and in particular, the words, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

My conclusions about this verse were as follows: “Where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there. What this means is that Jesus is present spiritually to validate the decision that has just been made. Jesus will help guide the church officials and give them peace that the decision they were forced to make was the right one. I see no reason to expand this verse to mean that whenever two Christians are in the same geographic location, Jesus is somehow more present there than when they are apart.”

Read the article here.

As I remember other similar articles I have written I will append them to this list.


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