What happens when our Bible study gathers? Is there a concerted effort to learn and understand the real meaning of verses and passages?
Or do we just share our opinions?
How would your group determine the meaning of the word ‘love’ in this verse?
“But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 (New American Standard Bible)
Do we go around the circle and tell each other what we think it means? If two or more disagree on the meaning then what? Do we agree to disagree? Do we try to come to a mutually accepted meaning?
What if our opinions are wrong?
How do we know?
Is any attempt made to discover what the word means in the original language?
If you think that’s not necessary, I beg to differ.
Look at the above passage. What does ‘love’ mean?
The oldest manuscripts containing this verse were written in Greek. There are several words for love in the Greek language. Three of them are used in the New Testament.
Eros refers to romantic love. Phileo refers to brotherly love. Agape refers to unconditional love.
Which Greek word for love is used in this verse?
We have to go beyond expressing our opinions.
We need to find a reference book like Strong’s Concordance. Many online Bible study aids provide a quick link to Strong’s for a particular verse. Each word is displayed with its Greek counterpart.
Now click on G25 to the right of the word ‘love’. Notice the Outline of Biblical Usage. There we notice when this word for love is used for people it means to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly.
Neither my opinion nor your opinions matters. This is what this verse means when it says we are to love our enemy.
How much of the real meaning of scripture are we missing by not digging deeper to find the actual meanings of words and phrases?
Does this seem like too much effort?
We’re expected to understand in detail how to perform the tasks of our employment. We have to fill out various applications in detail.
Is our understanding of the Bible not equally important? The Bible is the only instruction manual for our Christian lives. How serious about understanding it should we be?