"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it." Matthew 7:13

Jesus said..."I am the way..." John 14:6




The Bible says, "There is no God."
Did you know that?
It really does.
Check out Psalm 14:1.

Get it?
Now go check those verses non-believers like to quote.






same old story...








Scientist: "I can make anything you can."


God: "Oh yeah? Make a man."


Scientist: "No problem." He reaches down for a handful of dirt.


God: "No, no, no. Go get your own dirt."






I've seen this letter all over the place. Typical of still other arguments down through the centuries. Wanted to respond. Finally did, for what it's worth. Wrote this quickly--probably needs editing. Thought I'd share and ask for thoughts. Here's one of the versions going around. My pretend letter follows.

So.... homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstances as preached by many, including a certain Dr Laura from a well known US radio talk show. The following was an open letter to that doctor! 

Dear Dr. Laura

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan,
James M. Kauffman,
Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia
P.S. (It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian.)



Dear James M. Kauffman (whoever you are),

Dr. Laura (whoever she is) is unavailable at the moment, so allow me to respond to some of these. (I got tired after a while and had to take a break.) I'm sure she would advise you to double check your Biblical references and place verses in context to be sure they mean what you seem to think they mean, and are addressed to you in the first place. (Are you a son, that is a descendant, of Israel living in Old Testament times who is being addressed at the start of most of these chapters out of which you have liberated verses?)

It is nice that you complement and acknowledge a radio talk show as the source of your “learning”. But did you know that God specifically honored the Bereans for putting his Word above what anybody told them, even the Apostle Paul? Even when Paul was telling them the central message of the Old and New Testaments and how it had recently been fulfilled? (Acts 17:11) “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

You are correct that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states homosexuality (not homosexuals, mind you) is an abomination to God. He is speaking directly here to His people who he had rescued from Egypt. And, unlike everything else you try to tie in with this verse, it is applicable to all people, being supported throughout the rest of Scripture. Just keep in mind that it is not our job as Christians to beat everyone over the head with this. Our job, our 'Great Commission' (Matthew 28:18-20) is to spread the Good News of Jesus' death and resurrection in order to pay the price for our sin and give us eternal life—the fact that God loves us so much (even though we all sin against him) that He would become flesh and blood and die on the cross in our place. Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, (which even as Christians in this life we still are) Christ died for us.” If God doesn't love homosexually active people, then we are all in a lot of trouble. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 2:23) “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)

1. Leviticus 25:44
 
2. Exodus 21:7 does not “sanction” slavery but it does lay down very specific protections and rights for people, especially women, who were slaves in a time when this was a common practice. Check out all the restrictions (ordinations) in the entire 21st Chapter or Leviticus. God is certainly not ordering you or in any way encouraging you to sell your daughter or anyone else into slavery. Where do you get such ideas?

3. Lev.15: 19-24. (see 6)
  1. Why do you insist on burning a bull on the altar as a sacrifice? Are you a descendant of Israel living in Old Testament times? And do you really believe the Lord wants you to smite your neighbors for not liking the odor? Where do you read of this in the Bible? (Admittedly, it is hard to understand neighbors not liking the odor. I very much like the odor of my neighbors' cook outs. Especially steaks.) BTW, did you know that according to I Samuel 15:22 – "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
5. Exodus 35:2 does clearly state to the congregation of the sons of Israel (Exodus 35:1—context, remember?) that any of them working on the Sabbath should be put to death. But rest assured, you are not morally obligated to kill anyone for this yourself. First of all, are you a member of that Old Testament congregation? And keep in mind that the Sabbath is not Sunday. Don't confuse the day New Testament believers got together to celebrate the risen Lord with the Hebrew Sabbath. And the new testament tells us – “... no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)

6. Your friend's question raises an interesting point. Since hating your brother is the same thing as committing murder from God's point of view (I John 3:15), and lusting after someone is the same thing as adultery from God's perspective (Matthew 5:27–28), I suppose eating shellfish is as much an abomination to Him as homosexuality. I guess there are no 'degrees' of sin to the Lord. Although I would not concern yourself with the shellfish issue since, again, these were dietary laws given to the children of Israel for their protection and health in an age that had little understanding of medicine, sterilization, refrigeration, or disease control.
  1. Lev. 21:20 is addressed to His priest, the sons of Aaron. Are you a priest in the Jerusalem temple that doesn't presently exist? Don't worry about it.
8. Are you a member of the tribe of Israel (Leviticus 19:2)? And though trimmed hair is expressly forbidden to them by Lev. 19:27, where does it say they should die? You seem obsessed with slaying people for sin.
  1. Lev. 11:6-8
  2. Lev.19:19 says nothing about stoning people who plant two different crops in the same field or wear garments made of two different kinds of thread. Lev.24:10-16 and Lev. 20:14 are other matters entirely. But, again, if you are not a descendant of Israel in Old Testament times you needn't concern yourself about cursing or blaspheming God or sleeping with in-laws. People do it all the time nowadays and rarely die as a result.

You are correct in saying that God's Word is eternal and unchanging. The best advice I can give you is to dig into the Word of God. Read the Bible the same way you read any other history, biography, poetry, song, letter, etc. The basic rules of solid, astute reading don't change suddenly when you open the Bible. The critical reading process (observing, inferring, analyzing, explicating, synthesizing, evaluating, and applying within textual and historical context) must still be studiously applied.



same old story...


Man: "When comes the revolution, there will be peaches and cream
            for everyone."

Little Girl: "But I don't like peaches and cream!"

Man: "When comes the revolution, you will eat peaches
           and cream and you will like it!"
My fantasy story, Finders Keepers (76 pages)*, is now available for 99¢ on Amazon. It’s part of a much bigger story I’ve been writing for a long time. Years ago, Emily Snyder published a different part of the story in her Tower of Ivory magazine (that I still miss). A major agent showed interest in the first book two years ago and generously spent time on the phone giving Ginny and I pointers—an answer to prayer. We'll resubmit soon. God willing she’ll remember who we are.


http://www.amazon.com/Finders-Keepers-Jorgans-Saga-Werner-ebook/dp/B01AMCEUYM/ref=la_B00NP4HTHU_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452992207&sr=1-5


                                      99¢


* I advertised the book as 90 pages earlier, because that is its length in manuscript form. Then I noticed Amazon has it on my page at 76 -- their estimate compared to print versions. Apologies to Goodreads' readers for my mistake.

Advice From Old Storytellers



 
Shakespeare quotes related to storytelling:





Source: 





RICHARD. Be eloquent in my behalf to her.
ELIZABETH. An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.
RICHARD. Then plainly to her tell my loving tale.

William Shakespeare, Richard III, (Act IV, scene iv)


 


 A sad tale's best for winter.
I have one of sprites and goblins.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) A Winter's Tale (Act II, scene i)


 


Yet by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnished tale deliver.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Othello (Act I, scene iii)


 


And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
And then from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) As You Like it, (Act II, scene ii)





But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand an end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Hamlet, Act I, scene v



 
Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me.
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Hamlet, Act V, Scene ii






Source:



Since brevity is the soul of wit and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief.  
–Hamlet: Act 2, Scene ii


 
You cram these words into mine ears against the stomach of my sense. 
–The Tempest: Act 2, Scene i


 
They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.
 –Love’s Labours Lost: Act V, Scene i


 
Have more than thou showest; speak less than thou knowest. –King Lear: Act 1, Scene iv




Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.  –Hamlet: Act 1 Scene iii




Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart. –Troilus and Cressida: Act 5, Scene iii








Check out this site.








“The Queen, my lord, is dead.”



The Shakespeare sentence that changed my writing – and can change yours






Here are a couple of old hymns I remember singing in church with my dad and mom. They had trained voices and used to belt hymns out. Fond memories. I always liked these two best. Figures! I never could carry a tune, but I always loved stories. These speak of the best story there is--and the one that happens to be TRUE!              --GKW

Public domain works from:


I Love to tell the Story Sheet Music


Blessed Assurance Sheet Music



Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade,

To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Tho stretched from sky to sky.


O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints and angel’s song.



by Meir Ben Issac Nehoria,
a Jewish Rabbi circa 1000 AD



For the full story on Nehoria, check out this great site:  
http://nickel-notes.blogspot.com/2012/02/hymn-history-love-of-god.html


Hi folks!

Check out Ginny's popular, prize-winning story, The Dragon Catcher, newly illustrated by the masters and available on Kindle.



http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Catcher-Virginia-Ann-Werner-ebook/dp/B014LB6I72/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


99¢

THANKS!
ADVICE FROM
OLD STORYTELLERS

 Chaucer in his General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales:


725         ...I pray yow, of youre curteisye,
           
  ...I pray you, of your courtesy,
726         That ye n' arette it nat my vileynye,
           
     That you do not attribute it to my rudeness,
727         Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere,
           
     Though I speak plainly in this matter,
728         To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere,
           
     To tell you their words and their behavior,
729         Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely.
           
     Nor though I speak their words accurately.
730         For this ye knowen al so wel as I:
           
     For this you know as well as I:
731         Whoso shal telle a tale after a man,
           
     Whoever must repeat a story after someone,
732         He moot reherce as ny as evere he kan
           
     He must repeat as closely as ever he knows how
733         Everich a word, if it be in his charge,
           
     Every single word, if it be in his power,
734         Al speke he never so rudeliche and large,
           
     Although he may speak ever so rudely and freely,
735         Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe,
           
     Or else he must tell his tale inaccurately,
736         Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe.
           
     Or make up things, or find new words.
737         He may nat spare, althogh he were his brother;
           
     He may not refrain from (telling the truth), although he were his brother;
738         He moot as wel seye o word as another.
           
     He must as well say one word as another.
739         Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ,
           
     Christ himself spoke very plainly in holy writ,
740         And wel ye woot no vileynye is it.
           
     And you know well it is no rudeness.


Courtesy of:


Gold THE GEOFFREY CHAUCER PAGE


 

Interlinear Translations of Some of The Canterbury Tales 

 

Hi Folks!

The third Clerk of Copmanhurst Tales, ROBIN OF BARNSDALE, is now available on Amazon. Robin and Marian actually meet this time, face to face (not to mention sword to sword!)--at last! And if you don't mind waiting just a few more days,
ROBIN OF BARNSDALE will be on sale for 99¢ from May 4th to May 11th.


http://www.amazon.com/G.-K.-Werner/e/B00NP4HTHU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1415495553&sr=8-2

In fact, to celebrate ROBIN OF BARNSDALE's publication,
(in which Robin and Marian really do finally meet—I promise!)
on sale for 99¢ each from April 27th to May 1st

What could be merrier for the merry month of May?

Thank you so much once again to everyone who has been following the Clerk's history of ROBIN HOOD and MARIAN FITZWALTER (who will definitely—well, you know).

Hope you enjoy their latest adventures.

Best Wishes,
GK Werner
Fire
by Tory Arnesen

What you burn for-
It’s evident in your life.
We can see the marks
As you cut with your knife.

What you burn for-
Passion is impossible to hide.
It spills into your conversations
bringing others along for the ride.
What you burn for-
Will it last?
spending your little time
In a universe so vast.
What you burn for-
People see the flames.
Those you love are forever impacted.
You know their names.
Will you humble yourself before the lord
Or continue playing games?
What you burn for-
I see the fire in your eyes
Choose the road that never burns out
Because there are no second tries.
If you understand the world
You know its endless lies.
Surrender to the king
And let your fire rise.

 Copyright © 2015 by Tory Arnesen. All rights reserved.
Hi folks! Just wanted to let you know:


ROBIN OF LOCKSLEY

99¢

from December 5, to December 12, 2014


https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Locksley-Tales-Marian-Copmanhursts-ebook/dp/B00MWZN0LW?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc#navbar


Robin Hood and Maid Marian—what is the truth behind the legend?

Robin's and Marian's tales intertwine, unbeknownst to them. But just when they are about to meet, Robin is outlawed for a crime he did not commit and Marian slips away from her guardian, the Sheriff of Nottingham, to avenge her parents' deaths.

Robin and Marian – the traditional tales as they've never been told before.



Help Us Believe
by Tory Arnesen

Help us believe.
Help us know.
Why You grieve
on earth below.

How You suffered.
How You died.
Yet few come
while most have denied.
On the road to destruction,
and the gate is wide.
Did Your Son
add to many a path?
If no battle to be won
then why suffer wrath?
I know it’s easy
being one with the crowd.
Disagreements make me queasy.
To society I have bowed.
But if He suffered for a reason;
not a pointless painful act.
So that in due season
all will know the one true fact.
Every knee suddenly bowed
with no other voice to hear.
Please step away from the crowd.
Realize the time is near.

 Copyright © 2014 by Tory Arnesen. All rights reserved.
Ode to a Genre Writer
by G. K. Werner

Oh William, oh William, oh here is our ode,
To the master of genre’s method and mode.
Historical, romance, or fantasy play,
They all put the chinks in your purse in their day.


You wrote of the wizard; you wrote of the wag;
You wrote of the faerie, the rogue and the hag.
You wrote of the lovers from this house and that,
The nurse and the druggist, the witch and her vat,
Assassins and gamblers, the prince and his mom,
The senators’ plotting, an orator’s calm,
The boaster, the hoster, the jester, the priest,
The king and his soldiers, the greatest, the least.
You penned the best women, the wit off their tongue.
You penned the best speeches (aside from the puns).


You wrote for the scullery, palace and hall.
Oh William, oh William you wrote for us all.


Now scholars would bind you in school’s mothy tome,
And label you serious lit’rature’s own,
But they have forgotten, lost touch of the ‘thing’,
The play and the actors, the story must sing.
And so we pay tribute to you, genre’s king,
Our word-hoard’s high bard-king whose lines still do ring,
The writer for writers forever outsold,
The wordsmith who fashioned our genres of old.

_________________________________

Copyright © 2002 by G. K. Werner. All rights reserved.
Originally published in Tower of Ivory, Vol. 2, Issue 3, 2002


OUR THANKS
TO EVERYONE
WHO BOUGHT

ROBERT OF WAKEFIELD!

  HOPE YOU
ENJOY IT.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK.



Hi folks! Just wanted to let you know:

75% Off








99 Cents
from October 29th to November 4th, 2014




Somebody Will
 by Tory Arnesen

We walk and we talk it's all the same
Work, the weekend, it may rain
Always asking how you're feeling
Mindless tasks that have lost their meaning
Empty gazes at the ceiling
New gadgets,
Looking down at our phone
When asked something important
Will anyone be home?
Remind me, Lord
Show me what will matter
Use me from time to time
To disrupt endless chatter
To speak the truth without fear
To give a soul hope
To tell him You're near
Remember, there is more to life than we see
The temporary will give way to eternity
Use me God
To show that You alone can give
What all of us search for
A true purpose to live
Use me Father
Don't let me be afraid
Don't let me be still
For if I don't listen and benefit from Your plan
Someone else will

 Copyright © 2014 by Tory Arnesen. All rights reserved.

I Praise the Lamb
By: Sean J. Carroll
Verse 1
I feel your presence in the morn
When the sun shines down on me
Thinking of your mercy and grace
Falling to my knees
Chorus
Raising hands I praise the Lamb
Adoration for the Lord
Thanking Him for the cross
So I can be reborn
Verse 2
Marvelous love and wondrous grace
Now I’m born again
No longer living for myself
Dying to my sin
Chorus
Raising hands I praise the Lamb
Adoration for the Lord
Thanking Him for the cross
So I can be reborn
Verse 3
Almighty God your loves so strong
It flows and covers me
Praising you, Oh wondrous Lord
You’re a marvelous mystery
Final Chorus (2X)
Raising hands I praise the Lamb
Adoration for the Lord
Thanking Him for the cross
So I can be reborn
________________________________________________




Selected Poems
By: Sean J. Carroll


Toil
Each day is harder, than the one before
Daily Toil ends, buried in the soil
Back breaking, heart wrenching, emotional distress
Sweat dripping off my brow, running down my chest
Sun burning – ever deeper – down into my soul
Digging ever deeper – in an endless hole
Work’ll cease one day for every one of us
Live life without delay, before you turn to dust

Breaking Day

Fractured sunlight, filters through curtains
Another day has dawned
Dust dances in the air
Stretching arms I yawn
Eyes open, squinting, struggling
To see what life’ll bring
Opening a window
Birds begin to sing
Blessings abundant, revealed, unfolding
Shining down again
Breathing deeply, standing slowly,
Another day begins

Stars

Gazing upward into night sky
Milky Way swirls before weary eyes
Comets blazing cross heaven on high
Amazing spectacle can’t be denied
Stars are twinkling and winking at Earth
Moon’s glowing and smiling again
See Orion, Polaris, and Mars
What an evening staring at stars



Beach Days
  
Ocean rising, waves a crashing, spray upon my face
Sun shining, children laughing, all about the place
Walking barefoot in the sand,
Warm breeze blows through my hair
Breathe deep the ocean air
People baking skin so fair
What a day to be outside
A glorious moment to be alive

?

Earth rotates and orbits through celestial realm
Who guides the planets from the heavenly helm?
Existence – is it happenstance or serendipity?
Flying through the universe
It’s such a mystery.

Copyright © 2014 by Sean Carroll. All rights reserved.
Like father like son? A little more so!

Check out:
The Clerk of Copmanhurst's Tales Volume II: Robin of Locksley.

Robin and Marian -- The traditional tales as they've never been told before.

You've heard the name. You've probably seen the movie. In childhood you may have pretended to be him. Or his feisty maid.

This is how it began.

Robin Hood's father --
Robert of Wakefield

At an Amazon.com near you.


Bible Interpreting the Way Your English Teachers Taught You
(even if they were atheists)

by GK Werner

The Bible is much more difficult to believe than it is to interpret.

Conversation with people who say the Bible can be interpreted many different ways usually reveals that they just don't want to believe the Bible says what it says. If they read the Bible at all, they read a verse here, a verse there, another verse somewhere else; and instead of using critical reading skills to determine the author's meaning, they interpret Scripture to mean what they already believe (which is no way to read anything at all). More often than not, these same people discredit the Bible's veracity even while quoting it.. Isn't it intellectually dishonest to claim that an author maintains something he or she does not, and then proceed to debunk it. That wouldn't fly in my students' argument papers for my college English composition classes. It's a logical fallacy called a straw-man argument. Why should the Bible be treated differently? It needs to be read the same way as any other document--any news story, history text, biography, or letter from a friend. So how do we use critical reading skills to interpret Scripture? Here's what I teach as an English instructor.

Interpretation is a step in the critical reading process that is taught in English classes (or should be):
          Observation = What does it say?
          Interpretation = What does it mean?
          Analysis = What is its thesis? Its purpose? What are its main points? How is it all supported? etc.
          Evaluation = What is its worth?
          Application = How do I use it--or don't I?
The interpretation step needs to be continuously and closely cross-checked with the observation  step. Also, to paraphrase Dr. David Reagan of The Christ in Prophecy Journal (http://www.lamblion.us/), if the text makes sense, don't look for any other sense or you'll get nonsense. 

Did you know that the Bible says there is no God, even though the Bible claims to be written by God (2 Tim 3:16)? Does the Bible contradict itself? Check out Psalm 14:1: "The fool has said in his heart, 'there is no God'." To borrow an old business proverb relating success to location, there are three keys to interpretation:
          1. context
          2. context
          3. context
Words and phrases need to be interpreted within the verse, the passage, the chapter, the book, the Bible's other books, and the Bible in its entirety. Understanding is further enhanced by examining the historical, linguistic, and cultural context. Also, since God certainly does not contradict Himself, difficult, more obscure passages must be interpreted in light of the Bible's clear, straight forward statements--not the other way around.

There is also something called esoteric interpretation. This form of interpretation is not based on the above criteria (although I have worked with fellow English teachers whose instruction incorporates it mostly out of laziness). This is an anything goes interpretation based on the reader's beliefs, the world's philosophy of relative truth, or someone (especially in the cults) who claims special, divine powers of interpretation or reliance on supernatural authority such as spirits or aliens. Spiritualizing the plain sense meaning of Scripture began with Augustine and others hundreds of years after the New Testament events took place. Often for political reasons and to strengthen the church in Rome, they began teaching that the Bible was largely symbolic; a teaching that continues to this day. For example, my father was taught that Israel has been permanently set aside by God, and that all prophecy related to Israel will be fulfilled by the Church which has taken its place, that the Bible used Israel symbolically for the Church. Then in 1948, miraculously against the most impossible odds imaginable, Israel became a nation again and my father witnessed, as we all have since, one 'end times' prophecy after another related to Israel actually happening to Israel, not the Church. Boom! Hard to argue for esoteric interpretation when the plain sense meaning of Bible prophecy is being fulfilled in the news.

Of course, there is symbolism in the Bible, all forms of figurative language in fact. But did you know that most of the Bible's symbolism is explained by God in nearby verses? For example, the description in Revelation 1:12-16 is explained in Revelation 1:20; Daniel explained the king's dreams to him in Dan 2 and 4; and Jesus often explained His parables to His disciples. And besides, most of the Bible's figurative language is not difficult to figure out. We use figurative language every day with no problem at all. Can you find it in my first paragraph? Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11) Even people who never read the Bible know Jesus was a carpenter, not a shepherd. Many people even know that the Bible claims that Jesus died to purchase our forgiveness and give us eternal life. What's not to get in that verse if you read it in context? If you know something about sheep, Jesus' metaphor becomes even more meaningful.

Now here's where your English teachers won't help you one bit. This is a little strange. Why do bright, perfectly rational, normally adept critical readers suddenly lose all common sense and reason when they open a Bible? True, many people have been taught that there is some special way to read the Bible or that only certain people like pastors, rabbis, and priests know how. But it's more than that. And this should be the scary part: "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing." (I Cor 1:18). Are you perishing?

But here's the good news--and I do mean the Good News! Unlike any other ancient document, we can ask the Bible's author for clarification. He's alive. And you know what else? Even if you don't know whether or not to trust Jesus that he is God in the flesh (I John 4:1-3), that he died in your place and rose from the dead (I Cor 15:3,4), you can still ask the Bible's living author to show you the truth. Ask sincerely with an open mind and you'll be surprised at the result. God says that those who diligently seek Him will find Him (Prov 8:17, Isaiah 55:6, Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9, Heb 11:6, Deuteronomy 4:29). Just ask!

And once you do believe that God demonstrated his love toward you in that even while you were still a sinner (which we all are, Rom 3:23), Christ died for you (Rom 5:8), you will instantly be given eternal life (Rom 6:23) and the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13,14). And guess what. The Holy Spirit is our teacher (John 14:16, 17 and 26). He will begin teaching you as you prayerfully read God's Word.

But don't take my word for it, or any English teacher's. Do what the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). Check it our for yourself.

In context of course!

Copyright © 2014 by G. K. Werner. All rights reserved.