If I was to say to you as a preacher:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)
And then go on to teach on why we should hate our parents - how would you respond?
1. You would read the verse in context. This is why expository preaching is important and that also that the preacher works his way through a book verse by verse (Yes - I realize the irony of using a topical blog post to point this out). Here we see that Jesus is explaining the radical cost of discipleship and is using what we call hyperbole to make a point. Hyperbole is defined as:
A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.
2. You can also check for a parallel verse in another Gospel.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)
3. Another rule of Bible interpretation is that it cannot contradict the rest of Scripture.
You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.' (Luke 18:20)
I could go on into the greek but I think you get the point that you cannot teach hatred of parents from Luke 14:26. How about the old favorite “you shall not judge” which is a popular response to people who make biblical assessments of sin. Do you realize that that verse is quoted from Matthew 7, the very same chapter where Jesus teaches how to judge between true and false teachers.
We need to be careful when listening to teachers (myself included) that the Scripture is being handled rightly. We also need to be careful in our own use of Scripture. There is so much bad use of Scripture I keep hearing today and there are several verses that often get used or abused for the sake of a false teacher’s agenda. I keep encountering it on Christian TV, in sermons, in books, and in conversations. I really believe it would be helpful to take a closer look at this for two reasons:
1. We need to test all teaching against Scripture.
2. The real meaning of the abused verses I will be examining over the coming weeks is something way more excellent and profound than the way they get abused.
This post is the first of a six part series. In each of the following five posts I will take a look at an often used and often abused verse from Scripture. I will show how the abuse is quite easily detectable. I will also show that this abuse serves to conceal far more glorious and profound truth than the carnal falsehoods that false teachers glean. We are going to take a look at five popular Bible verses that get used regularly and wrongly and focus on their real meaning. So stay tuned!
Go On To Part 2