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12 May '14

For those who need to proof-text all truth from Scripture

Posted by T.J. Addington in Proof texting, scripture
OK, so I will make some unhappy on this one. While all Scripture is truth, not all truth is found in Scripture! Don't get me wrong, Scripture is the final revelation of God until He returns and we realize His personal presence for eternity. The Scriptures give us what we need to understand God, ourselves, salvation and what it means to be transformed into His image. It is not, however, designed to prove all things. While you can reference many things back to Scripture (like theology), it was never meant to be the proof text for all things.

I am bemused by those who desire a verse to "prove" all things. Without the verse, some will reject any proposal related to the church or the Christian life. That is frankly an unnecessary exercise in many cases. Ironically, those who need a text for all issues often misuse that text. 

But there is another issue. The Scriptures talk a great deal about wisdom. In fact, one could argue that wisdom is the central theme of the book of Proverbs. What is wisdom? It is the application of intelligence, common sense, shrewdness, astuteness, judiciousness, judgement, prudence and circumspection to issues at hand. For the believer, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom for it informs all of our decisions but life and leadership is full of issues where we must apply our common sense, intelligence and wisdom to the issue at hand.

God gave us minds to think. He did not give us a manual to look up all situations in the Bible. In most cases, we must make appropriate applications to the issues at hand. 

In a recent blog I suggested that the New Testament gives us implicit and explicit suggestions as to who makes for a good leader in the church.

An anonymous reader left this message: "Perhaps you could add some biblical support to this article, so we know how you arrived at your conclusions, eg. A verse for each leader qualification. Thanks!"

I answered: "With respect, it is not necessary to find a proof text for each of these. For instance it is self evident that an individual who is not passionate about Jesus cannot draw others to him. It is self evident that a leader must love people as Jesus loved people. It is self evident that humility is a requirement as that is the heart of Jesus and in a team setting one must submit themselves to the will of the majority (speaking of healthy church leaders)."

Anonymous replied: "TJ, how do you know that that these things of which you write are self-evident?"

Evidently if there is not a verse this individual won't buy it. I don't get that. What I do get is applying good thinking to good theology and coming up with good practices.