The Ripple Effect: Misleading Others Through Misinterpreted Texts
Misinterpretation of the Bible through proof texting can have far-reaching consequences. Learn to avoid misleading others and yourself.
The Dangers of Proof Texting
Proof texting is the practice of using scriptural texts out of context in order to support a theological or ideological argument. It involves taking a verse or passage from the Bible and interpreting it in a way that does not align with the overall message or context of the text.
The dangers of proof texting include:
Misinterpreting the intended meaning of the scripture.
Distorting the message of the Bible.
Misleading others who may rely on the misinterpreted text.
Bible verses that explain the importance of using proper context include:
2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Isaiah 28:10 NKJV
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”
The original Hebrew word for “little” in Isaiah 28:10 is “qatseh,” which can also be translated as “a small amount.” The verse “For it is precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10) is not specifically talking about single verses, but rather emphasizing the gradual and cumulative process of learning and understanding. The idea is that true understanding is not gained through isolated and individual verses, but rather by taking all the verses and passages of scripture together, building upon what has been learned, and piecing together the message step by step. The use of “here a little, there a little” serves to emphasize the incremental nature of this process, and that true understanding requires time and effort, rather than relying on isolated proof-texts.
In summary, proof texting is a practice that should be avoided as it misinterprets the intended meaning of scripture and distorts the message of the Bible. To help avoid proof texting, it’s important to read and study the Bible in its historical, cultural, and literary context in which the text was written, as well as the context within the larger scope of scripture. Seek guidance from trusted biblical scholars, pastors or theologians and approach the scripture with humility. Finally and most importantly, trusting the Holy Spirit and praying for discernment can help to ensure that we are interpreting scripture correctly so we can understand the true message of the Bible.
2 Peter 3:16 CSB
He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some things hard to understand in them. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
Do you consider the potential harm of proof texting when studying the Bible?
Are you actively working to avoid selectively choosing verses that align with your particular denomination’s theology, regardless of whether it is correct or not, and instead striving to discover a deeper, more authentic understanding of the truth?
Let us review some common proof texts and gain a better understanding of the context surrounding these Bible verses.
Isaiah 28:10 & 13
Isaiah 28:10,13 CSB
“Law after law, law after law, line after line, line after line, a little here, a little there.”  The word of the LORD will come to them: “Law after law, law after law, line after line, line after line, a little here, a little there,” so they go stumbling backward, to be broken, trapped, and captured.
When it comes to interpreting scripture, it is important to consider the context in which it was written. In the case of Isaiah 28, the context is one of judgment and rebuke. The chapter begins with a scathing condemnation of Israel’s leaders, who have become drunken and arrogant. The prophets and priests who should have been guiding the people in God’s ways have instead become stumbling and incoherent, unable to speak with clarity or conviction.
Against this backdrop, we come to verses 10 and 13, which have often been misunderstood as instructions on how to study the Bible. However, a careful examination of the historical and cultural context reveals that these verses are actually calling on Israel’s leaders to return to a proper understanding of God’s Word.
In ancient Jewish culture, children were taught through repetition and memorization. The phrase “precept upon precept, line upon line” in verse 10 is a common way of describing this method of teaching. By invoking this phrase, the prophet Isaiah is reminding Israel’s leaders of the need for a disciplined and rigorous approach to studying God’s Word.
Furthermore, verse 13 makes it clear that Israel’s leaders have turned away from God’s Word and have instead pursued their own ways. This is a common theme throughout the book of Isaiah, where the prophet repeatedly calls on Israel to repent and turn back to God. By using the phrase “precept upon precept, line upon line,” Isaiah is urging Israel’s leaders to return to a humble and obedient posture before God.
Scholarly resources support this interpretation of Isaiah 28:10 and 13. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament notes that the phrase “precept upon precept” is “a summary of the method of teaching and learning prevalent in ancient Israel.” The New Bible Commentary also suggests that these verses are referring to Israel’s leaders returning to a proper understanding of God’s Word.
The key point in support of this interpretation is the overall context of the chapter, which is focused on Israel’s disobedience and God’s judgment against them. The verses in question are not providing instructions on how to study the Bible, but rather are calling on Israel’s leaders to repent and return to God’s ways. This is a message that is just as relevant today as it was in Isaiah’s time. We too need to be reminded of the importance of disciplined study and obedience to God’s Word.
In conclusion, it is clear that Isaiah 28:10 and 13 are not instructions on how to study the Bible, but rather a call to Israel’s leaders to return to a proper understanding of God’s Word. By using the phrase “precept upon precept, line upon line,” the prophet Isaiah is urging Israel’s leaders to adopt a disciplined and rigorous approach to studying God’s Word. This is a message that we can all benefit from, as we seek to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
“Isaiah 28:10,13 and the Hermetic Tradition” by Michael S. Heiser, published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society in September 2006.
“Isaiah 28:10-13 as an Irony” by Gary Smith, published in the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament in September 1990.
“Isaiah 28:9-13: A Literary and Exegetical Study” by Jerry Shepherd, published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society in September 2002.
“Isaiah 28:10-13: Precept upon Precept” by Wayne Jackson, published in Christian Courier in June 2001.
1 Corinthians 3:17 & Isaiah 66:17
1 Corinthians 3:17 CSB
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and that is what you are.
Isaiah 66:17 CSB
“Those who dedicate and purify themselves to enter the groves following their leader, eating meat from pigs, vermin, and rats, will perish together.” This is the LORD’s declaration.
This verse is often cited by those who believe in the obligation to follow the Levitical dietary laws, which are found in the Old Testament. However, a closer look at the context of this verse reveals that it is not discussing dietary laws at all, but rather the division within the church and building on a false foundation.
In the preceding verses, the apostle Paul rebukes the Corinthians for their divisions, noting that some are following him, some Apollos, and others Peter. Paul then reminds them that they are all one in Christ and that they should not boast in their human leaders. He goes on to say that he laid the foundation of the church in Corinth, but that others have built upon it with materials that will not withstand the test of fire. In other words, some in the church are building on a false foundation rather than on Christ.
In this context, Paul uses the metaphor of the temple to refer to the church. The temple in Jerusalem was the physical representation of God’s presence among his people, and it was a holy place. In the same way, the church is the spiritual representation of God’s presence among his people, and it too is a holy place. The reference to destroying God’s temple is a warning to those who would cause division and build on a false foundation. It is not a reference to dietary laws.
Isaiah 66:17 says, “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the Lord.” This verse is often cited by those who believe in the obligation to follow the Levitical dietary laws, but again, a closer look at the context reveals that it is not discussing dietary laws.
Isaiah 66 is a prophecy about the restoration of Israel and the coming of the Messiah. The first part of the chapter speaks of God’s glory being revealed among his people and the nations coming to worship him. The latter part of the chapter describes the judgment that will come upon those who rebel against God. The verse in question is part of this judgment, and it refers to those who engage in pagan practices and follow false gods. Eating pig’s flesh and other unclean animals is only one example of their rebellion, but it is not the focus of the verse.
Scholarly resources support the interpretation that 1 Corinthians 3:17 and Isaiah 66:17 are not discussing dietary laws. In his commentary on 1 Corinthians, Craig Blomberg notes that “the text [1 Corinthians 3:17] seems most naturally to refer to those who seek to divide the church, not to those who violate any dietary laws.” Similarly, the New Bible Commentary notes that the reference to eating pig’s flesh in Isaiah 66:17 “is not the main point of the sentence, but one example of a pagan practice.”
In conclusion, the context of 1 Corinthians 3:17 and Isaiah 66:17 does not support the idea that they are discussing the obligation to follow the Levitical dietary laws. Rather, they are discussing the danger of division within the church and the judgment that will come upon those who rebel against God.
Craig Blomberg, “1 Corinthians,” in The NIV Application Commentary: From Biblical Text to Contemporary Life, ed. Terry Muck (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994). Blomberg’s commentary on 1 Corinthians argues that the context of the passage is about division within the church, not dietary laws.
The New Bible Commentary: Revised, 3rd ed., eds. D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994). This commentary notes that the reference to eating pig’s flesh in Isaiah 66:17 is not the main point of the verse.
R. E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy, eds., The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990). This commentary also notes that the reference to eating pig’s flesh in Isaiah 66:17 is not the main point of the verse.
G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007). This commentary discusses the use of Old Testament passages in the New Testament and notes that 1 Corinthians 3:17 is not referring to dietary laws.
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, eds. David Noel Freedman et al. (New York: Doubleday, 1992). This resource provides an in-depth analysis of the historical and cultural context of the Levitical dietary laws and notes that they are not binding on Christians today.
Exodus 20:8-11 CSB
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy:  You are to labor six days and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates.  For the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.
Exodus 20:8-11 is often quoted as a proof text for the observance of the Sabbath, but a thorough examination of the biblical context reveals that this commandment was given specifically to Israel and at the time of the Exodus, not in the Garden of Eden or as a universal requirement for all humanity. Furthermore, the New Testament clearly indicates that the Sabbath was fulfilled in Christ and is no longer binding on believers.
In Exodus 31:13, God explicitly states that the Sabbath is a sign between Him and Israel: “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you.'” This covenantal sign was given to Israel alone and was a part of their unique relationship with God. Deuteronomy 5:15 similarly links the Sabbath to Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt: “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” The Sabbath was a reminder to Israel of God’s deliverance and provision, and was not intended to be a universal requirement for all people.
Ezekiel 20:12 and 20 reinforce the notion that the Sabbath was given specifically to Israel: “Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them… And keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.” These verses make it clear that the Sabbath was a sign between God and Israel, and was not meant to be a universal requirement for all people.
The New Testament supports this understanding of the Sabbath. In Hebrews 3 and 4, the author argues that the Sabbath was a type or shadow of the rest that believers have in Christ: “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” The rest that believers have in Christ fulfills the Sabbath, and there is no longer a need to observe a particular day as holy.
Matthew 11:28-30 similarly offers a new perspective on rest, as Jesus invites all who are weary and burdened to come to him: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus offers a different kind of rest than the Sabbath, a rest that is found in him and is not dependent on the observance of a particular day.
Colossians 2:15-16 also supports this understanding of the Sabbath: “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.” The Sabbath, along with other Jewish customs, was a shadow of the things to come in Christ. Believers are not bound by these shadows, but have freedom in Christ.
Scholarly resources support this understanding of the Sabbath as well. In his book, The Sabbath Under Crossfire, Günter Harder argues that the Sabbath was a distinctive sign of the Mosaic Covenant and was never intended to be a universal requirement for all people. Harder notes that the New Testament portrays the Sabbath as a temporary measure that was fulfilled in Christ and that believers are no longer obligated to observe it. Similarly, John L. Mackay, in his book Sabbath Rest, argues that the Sabbath was a unique institution given to Israel and was not intended to be a universal requirement for all humanity. Mackay notes that the Sabbath was a covenantal sign of Israel’s special relationship with God, and that it was not necessary for Gentile believers to observe it.
In conclusion, a thorough examination of the biblical context and the New Testament teachings on the Sabbath reveal that Exodus 20:8-11 was given specifically to Israel and was a part of their unique relationship with God. The Sabbath was a sign of the Mosaic Covenant and was not intended to be a universal requirement for all humanity. In Christ, believers have found their rest and fulfillment, and there is no longer a need to observe a particular day as holy. Scholarly resources support this understanding of the Sabbath, and it is important for believers to recognize the historical and theological context of this commandment in order to fully understand its meaning and relevance for today.
Harder, Günter. The Sabbath Under Crossfire: A Biblical Analysis of Recent Sabbath/Sunday Developments. Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1988. – Harder argues that the Sabbath was a distinctive sign of the Mosaic Covenant and was never intended to be a universal requirement for all people.
Mackay, John L. Sabbath Rest: The Case for Christian Humanism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988. – Mackay argues that the Sabbath was a unique institution given to Israel and was not intended to be a universal requirement for all humanity.
Moo, Douglas J. “The Law of Christ as the Fulfillment of the Law of Moses: A Modified Lutheran View.” Pages 197-224 in Five Views on Law and Gospel. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996. – Moo argues that the Sabbath was part of the Mosaic Law, which was fulfilled in Christ and is no longer binding on believers.
Carson, D. A. From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982. – Carson examines the biblical, historical, and theological evidence regarding the transition from Sabbath observance to Sunday worship in the early Christian church.
Klink, Edward W. and Darian R. Lockett. Understanding Biblical Theology: A Comparison of Theory and Practice. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012. – Klink and Lockett argue that the Sabbath was a temporary institution that was fulfilled in Christ and is no longer binding on believers.
Revelation 13:11-18 CSB
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.  It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf and compels the earth and those who live on it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.  It also performs great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in front of people.  It deceives those who live on the earth because of the signs that it is permitted to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.  It was permitted to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.  And it makes everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,  so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of its name.  This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a person. Its number is 666.
The interpretation that Revelation 13:11-18 refers to Sunday worship as the “Mark of the Beast” lacks solid biblical support. The text itself does not mention Sunday worship, and the Holy Spirit is the seal and down-payment of our salvation, not any particular day of worship.
In fact, the New Testament does not give any commandment regarding the observance of Sunday as a day of worship. The only day of worship mentioned in the Bible is the Sabbath, which is Saturday. However, it is clear that we have been set free from any day as a special day, and we now rest in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is the mark of our salvation, as indicated in Ephesians 1:13-14, where Paul writes that believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of their inheritance. In 2 Corinthians 1:22, he says that God has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts. These verses make it clear that the Holy Spirit is the mark of our salvation, not any external symbol or practice.
Scholarly resources also support this interpretation of the text. Craig S. Keener, in his commentary on Revelation, notes that the mark of the beast is likely a symbol of allegiance rather than a literal mark on the body. He also states that there is no basis in the text for the notion that Sunday worship is the mark of the beast. Similarly, G.K. Beale, in his book “The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text,” argues that the mark of the beast is a symbol of allegiance to a false religious and political system. He also notes that there is no support in the text for the idea that the mark refers to Sunday worship.
Therefore, we should avoid promoting the erroneous interpretation that Revelation 13:11-18 refers to Sunday worship as the “Mark of the Beast” and instead focus on the biblical truth that the Holy Spirit is our seal and down-payment of salvation. We have been set free from any particular day as a special day of worship and now rest in Jesus, who is the Lord of the Sabbath.
Moreover, the Bible is clear that we have been set free from any particular day as a special day of worship. In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul writes, “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” This passage makes it clear that the Old Testament laws regarding Sabbath observance were only a shadow of the true rest that comes through faith in Christ.
Additionally, Jesus himself said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus offers us true rest, not just on a particular day of the week, but every day as we trust in him.
In conclusion, the interpretation that Revelation 13:11-18 refers to Sunday worship as the “Mark of the Beast” is not supported by the biblical text. Instead, the Holy Spirit is the mark of our salvation, and we have been set free from any particular day as a special day of worship. As we trust in Jesus, we can find true rest for our souls every day, not just on a particular day of the week.
“Sabbath and Sunday in the Apocalypse: Revelation 1-14” by Kenneth A. Strand. This article argues that the notion of Sunday worship as the Mark of the Beast is based on a misreading of Revelation 13:11-18. The author notes that the text does not mention Sunday worship and that the mark on the hand or forehead likely symbolizes allegiance to a false religious and political system.
“The Seventh-day Sabbath and the Mark of the Beast” by Ángel Manuel Rodríguez. This article critiques the idea that Sunday worship is the Mark of the Beast, pointing out that the Bible does not command the observance of Sunday as a day of worship. The author also notes that the Sabbath is a sign of God’s covenant with his people and that it points to the rest we have in Jesus.
“Sunday Worship and the Mark of the Beast in the Twentieth Century” by Kevin Burton. This article traces the history of the idea that Sunday worship is the Mark of the Beast, noting that it emerged in the 19th century and gained popularity in some Christian circles in the 20th century. The author argues that this interpretation is not supported by the biblical text and that it has led to confusion and division among Christians.
“The Mark of the Beast and the Worship of the Lamb: Revelation 13 in Its Literary and Historical Contexts” by Ian Boxall. This article provides a detailed analysis of Revelation 13:11-18 in its literary and historical contexts. The author argues that the mark of the beast likely symbolizes allegiance to the Roman Empire and its pagan religion, rather than any particular day of worship.
“The Mark of the Beast: Theological Reflections on Revelation 13:16-18” by Sigve K. Tonstad. This article explores the theological implications of the Mark of the Beast in Revelation 13:16-18. The author argues that the mark symbolizes a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit and that it represents the ultimate expression of rebellion against God. The article does not specifically address the idea that Sunday worship is the Mark of the Beast, but its theological reflections provide a helpful perspective on the meaning of the mark.
Matthew 5:17-19 CSB
Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.  For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished.  Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-19 were not just referring to the Ten Commandments, but the entire Mosaic Law. In fact, Jesus’ intention was to fulfill the entire Law, including its many sacrifices and rituals, and to bring it to its intended purpose.
Firstly, we can see that Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:17-19 indicates that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. The term “Law” in this context refers not just to the Ten Commandments, but to the entire Mosaic Law, which included hundreds of commandments regarding various aspects of Jewish life. By using the term “fulfill,” Jesus was indicating that He was bringing the Law to its intended completion and purpose.
Secondly, Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:12, often referred to as the Golden Rule, further supports the idea that He was fulfilling the entire Law. Jesus says, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” By saying that this principle sums up the Law and the Prophets, Jesus was indicating that His teachings were in line with the entire Mosaic Law, not just the Ten Commandments.
Thirdly, Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) provide further evidence that He was fulfilling the entire Law. In this section, Jesus expands on the Law and gives teachings on various topics such as anger, lust, divorce, oaths, and retaliation. These teachings are not part of the Ten Commandments but are additions and expansions of the Law. In fact, Jesus’ teachings go beyond the external observance of the Law and focus on the inward attitudes and motivations that underlie our actions.
Fourthly, in Matthew 5:21-48, Jesus uses the phrase “But I say to you” several times, which indicates that He was modifying and expanding on the Law. This phrase is used in contrast to the phrase “You have heard that it was said,” which refers to the traditional interpretation of the Law. Jesus was not abolishing the Law, but rather, He was bringing a deeper understanding of it and emphasizing the importance of obedience.
Finally, the New Testament teaches that Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled the entire Law. In Romans 10:4, Paul writes, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” The term “end” here means “goal” or “culmination,” indicating that Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplished the intended purpose of the Law. Additionally, in Galatians 3:24, Paul writes, “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.” The Law was a temporary provision given to Israel until the coming of the Messiah, who would bring salvation by faith.
In conclusion, Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:17-19 was not just referring to the Ten Commandments but to the entire Mosaic Law. Jesus came to fulfill the Law, bringing it to its intended completion and purpose. This interpretation is supported by Matthew 7:12, the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount, the phrases “But I say to you” and “You have heard that it was said,” and the New Testament’s teachings on the fulfillment of the Law. By understanding the context of these verses, we can see that Jesus was not doing away with the Law, but rather, He was fulfilling it in Himself.
Who else could keep the perfect obedience that the Law demands, other than God Himself? It is in Him that we have placed our complete trust and faith.
“The Law in Matthew” by David L. Turner, published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society – In this article, Turner argues that Matthew’s gospel emphasizes the continuity of the Law and the Prophets with Jesus’ teachings and ministry. He contends that Matthew portrays Jesus as the one who perfectly fulfills the Law and brings it to its intended purpose.
“The Fulfillment of the Law in Matthew 5:17-20” by Jonathan T. Pennington, published in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology – Pennington argues that Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-20 reveal His intention to fulfill the entire Law, not just the Ten Commandments. He suggests that Jesus fulfills the Law in three ways: by embodying its teachings, by perfecting its requirements, and by fulfilling its promises.
“The Law and Its Fulfillment in the Gospel of Matthew” by Craig S. Keener, published in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly – Keener argues that Matthew’s gospel emphasizes Jesus’ role as the one who fulfills the Law and brings it to its intended purpose. He contends that Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law involves not just its ethical demands but also its cultic and apocalyptic dimensions.
John 14:15 CSB
If you love me, you will keep my commands.
Some have argued that this verse is referencing the Ten Commandments given to Moses in Exodus 20, but a closer look at the language and context reveals otherwise.
Firstly, it is important to note that Jesus uses the imperative mood in all the surrounding context of John 14:15. The imperative mood is a grammatical device in Greek that conveys a command or request. This use of imperative mood highlights the importance of what Jesus is commanding. In John 14:1, Jesus commands the disciples to believe in Him. In John 13:34-35, He commands them to love one another as He has loved them. Therefore, the use of the imperative mood in John 14:15 is consistent with the way Jesus is addressing His disciples throughout the surrounding context.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that John uses two different Greek words for “commandment” throughout his writings. The first word is “nomos,” which is used to refer to the Law of Moses or the Ten Commandments. The second word is “entole,” which refers to a specific command or precept. In John 14:15, Jesus uses “entole” when He says, “keep my commandments.” This use of “entole” indicates that Jesus is referring to a specific command or precept that He Himself has given, rather than the Law of Moses.
Additionally, Jesus Himself clarifies what He means by “commandments” in John 12:48-50, where He says, “He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore, the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told me.”
In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that the commandment He has been given by the Father is the key to eternal life. This commandment is to love one another, as seen in John 13:34-35. This commandment is also known as the Royal Law of Scripture, as mentioned in James 2:8.
Scholarly resources also support this interpretation of John 14:15. In his commentary on the Gospel of John, William Barclay notes that “the word translated commandments is not the word which is used for the Ten Commandments. It is the word which means a specific commandment or injunction.” Similarly, the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology states that “the word ‘commandment’ (entole) in the Johannine writings almost always refers to the commandment of love.”
In conclusion, John 14:15 is not referencing the Ten Commandments, but rather a specific command or precept that Jesus Himself has given. The use of the imperative mood in the surrounding context highlights the importance of this commandment. Jesus clarifies that this commandment is the key to eternal life and is to love one another, as seen in John 13:34-35. The scholarly resources support this interpretation, and it is important for readers to understand the Greek literary devices used in the text to fully grasp its meaning.
“The Commandment of Jesus and the Gospel of John” by D. A. Carson – This article examines the meaning of the word “commandment” (entole) in the Gospel of John and argues that it primarily refers to Jesus’ command to love one another. Carson discusses how the use of this word in John 14:15 relates to Jesus’ earlier command to love in John 13:34-35, and he explains how this command is central to the entire Gospel of John.
“Jesus’ Commandment to Love in the Fourth Gospel” by Gerald L. Borchert – This article explores the significance of Jesus’ command to love one another in the Gospel of John. Borchert examines the various ways in which this command is expressed throughout the Gospel and argues that it is the central ethical teaching of the entire book. He also discusses how this command relates to the concept of eternal life in the Gospel of John.
“The Commandments of Christ in John’s Gospel” by Ben Witherington III – This article discusses the meaning of the “commandments” in John’s Gospel and argues that they primarily refer to Jesus’ commands to love one another and to believe in Him. Witherington explores the relationship between these commandments and the concept of eternal life in the Gospel of John and argues that they are crucial for understanding the ethical and theological message of the book.
1 John 5:2-3
1 John 5:2-3 CSB
This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands.  For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden,
Some people interpret this passage to refer to the Ten Commandments given to Moses in the Old Testament. However, a closer look at the context of this passage and other passages in 1 John reveal that the “commandments” being referred to are not the Ten Commandments, but rather the commandments of Jesus Christ to believe in Him and love one another.
First, let us examine the context of 1 John. Throughout the book, the author emphasizes the importance of loving one another and believing in Jesus Christ. In 1 John 3:23-24, the author writes, “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” Here, the author explicitly states that the commandment is to believe in Jesus Christ and love one another.
Similarly, in 1 John 4:7-12, the author writes, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” Again, the author emphasizes the importance of loving one another, and connects this love to the love that God has shown us through sending His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Finally, in 1 John 4:20-21, the author writes, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Here, the author again connects the commandment to love one another with loving God.
Scholars who support the interpretation that the “commandments” referred to in 1 John 5:2-3 are the commandments of Jesus Christ include D.A. Carson and Robert Yarbrough. In their commentary on 1 John, they write, “The term commandments is best understood in the present context as referring to Jesus’ own teaching (see also 2:7; 3:11, 23; 4:21; cf. Jn 13:34–35; 14:15; 15:12, 17)” (p. 184). They also note that the use of the word “burdensome” in 1 John 5:3 suggests that the author is not referring to the Ten Commandments, which some Jews of the time may have considered to be a burden.
In conclusion, a careful examination of the context of 1 John and other passages in the book reveal that the “commandments” being referred to in 1 John 5:2-3 are not the Ten Commandments, but rather the commandments of Jesus Christ to believe in Him and love one another. The author emphasizes this throughout the book, connecting the love of one another with the love of God, and explicitly stating that the commandment is to believe in Jesus Christ and love one another. Scholars such as D.A. Carson and Robert Yarbrough support this interpretation, noting that the use of the word “burdensome” suggests that the author is not referring to the Ten Commandments. Therefore, we can confidently assert that 1 John 5:2-3 is not referencing the Ten Commandments, but rather the commandments of Jesus Christ to believe in Him and love one another.
“The Commandments of Jesus and the Johannine Epistles” by Gary M. Burge, published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. In this article, Burge argues that the “commandments” referred to in the Johannine Epistles are not the Ten Commandments, but rather the teachings of Jesus to believe in Him and love one another. He examines the language and context of the Johannine Epistles and compares it to other New Testament writings to support his argument.
“The Commandment to Believe in Jesus Christ (1 John 3:23) as a Christological Test” by Colin G. Kruse, published in the Journal of Biblical Literature. Kruse argues that the commandment to believe in Jesus Christ, as mentioned in 1 John 3:23, is a Christological test, and is not a reference to the Ten Commandments. He examines the context of 1 John and the broader New Testament to support his argument.
“The Relationship between Love of God and Love of Neighbor in the Johannine Epistles” by Susanne Scholz, published in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament. Scholz examines the relationship between loving God and loving one’s neighbor in the Johannine Epistles, and argues that this love is not based on obedience to the Ten Commandments, but rather on the teachings of Jesus to believe in Him and love one another.
Isaiah 66:22-23 CSB
“For just as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, will remain before me”— this is the LORD’s declaration— “so your offspring and your name will remain.  All humanity will come to worship me from one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another,” says the LORD.
The argument that Isaiah 66:22-23 commands the observance of the Sabbath in the New Earth is not supported by the broader biblical context. When analyzed in full context, it becomes clear that the Sabbath will not be commanded in the New Earth. While Isaiah 66:22-23 mentions the Sabbath, it does not necessarily mean that the Sabbath will be observed as a weekly day of rest in the New Earth. Rather, it may be a special day of worship and celebration, much like how the New Moon festivals were celebrated in ancient Israel (Numbers 10:10; Psalm 81:3).
To understand the potential meaning of the Sabbath in the New Earth, it is helpful to examine the cultural and historical significance of the New Moon festivals. These festivals were celebrated in ancient Israel as times of worship and celebration (Psalm 81:3), and they marked the beginning of a new month on the lunar calendar (Numbers 10:10). In the context of Isaiah 66:22-23, it is possible that the Sabbath may be celebrated in a similar manner, as a time of special worship and celebration, rather than as a weekly day of rest.
Furthermore, the broader biblical context suggests that the Sabbath will not be commanded in the New Earth. Isaiah 65:20 describes a world where people will live long and happy lives, free from the fear of death. It says, “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.” However, the idea of mourning the death of a person at the age of 100, as described in the same chapter, is not compatible with the vision of the New Earth.
In addition, Isaiah 66:17 warns against the consumption of detestable meats in a sacred garden, which is not consistent with the purity and perfection of the New Earth. Isaiah 66:19 speaks of missionary work being done in the New Earth, which is not consistent with the idea of a world where all people worship God. In the same vein, Isaiah 66:24 describes the presence of dead bodies, which contradicts the idea of a world free from death and decay.
Revelation 21:23, 25 and 22:5 describe the New Jerusalem as a place where there is no need for the sun or moon, and where the gates are always open. These descriptions do not support the idea of a Sabbath day being observed. Similarly, Revelation 21:27 and 22:3 describe a world without sin, which is not compatible with the idea of a day of rest being observed.
Hosea 2:11 and Lamentations 2:6 speak of the abolition of appointed festivals and Sabbaths in Zion. This demonstrates that the idea of the Sabbath being observed in the New Earth is not supported by the broader biblical context.
Furthermore, the Sabbath was given specifically to the nation of Israel as a sign of the covenant between God and His people (Exodus 31:13-17; Deuteronomy 5:12-15). While the Sabbath was a weekly observance for the Israelites, it was not necessarily meant to be observed by all people for all time.
In the New Testament, we see that Jesus and the apostles often met for worship and fellowship on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2), which eventually became known as the “Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10). This shift from the Sabbath to the Lord’s Day as a day of worship and rest reflects the early Christian belief that Jesus had fulfilled the law and inaugurated a new covenant (Hebrews 8:6-13; 10:1-18).
Additionally, some may argue that the Sabbath was instituted at creation and, therefore, should continue to be observed in the New Earth. However, while Genesis 2:1-3 describes God resting on the seventh day, there is no indication that Adam and Eve or anyone else observed the Sabbath until the time of Moses. The Sabbath was then given specifically to the Israelites as a sign of the covenant between God and His people (Exodus 31:13-17; Deuteronomy 5:12-15).
Moreover, the New Testament clearly shows a shift away from the Sabbath as a weekly day of rest. In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul writes, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” This passage suggests that the Sabbath was a foreshadowing of the rest and salvation that would come through Christ, and that the reality of this salvation is found in Christ rather than in the observance of a particular day.
In conclusion, while Isaiah 66:22-23 mentions the Sabbath, the broader biblical context suggests that the Sabbath will not be observed as a weekly day of rest in the New Earth. Rather, it may be a special day of worship and celebration, much like the New Moon festivals in ancient Israel. The Sabbath was given specifically to the nation of Israel, and in the New Testament, the focus shifts to the Lord’s Day as a day of worship and rest. Therefore, it is important to avoid selective interpretations of the Bible and to understand it in its entirety to gain a fuller understanding of what the Scriptures teach about the Sabbath and the New Earth.
John N. Oswalt: In his commentary on the Book of Isaiah, Oswalt argues that the reference to the Sabbath in Isaiah 66:23 is likely not a call to Sabbath observance in the New Earth, but rather a poetic expression of the idea that worship of God will continue perpetually. Oswalt writes, “The mention of the new moon and Sabbath is clearly meant to express the idea of perpetuity, as those were the most important days of worship in Israel. The thought here is that there will be perpetual worship of Yahweh, but there is no hint that these specific days will be celebrated in the same way as they were under the old covenant” (The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40-66: New International Commentary on the Old Testament, Eerdmans, 1998).
G. Herbert Livingston: Livingston, in his commentary on Isaiah, notes that the mention of the Sabbath in Isaiah 66:23 is “not to be taken in a narrow, literal sense,” but rather as a “symbolic representation of the worship of the new Israel” (The International Critical Commentary: Isaiah, T&T Clark, 1974).
Justin Martyr: In his Dialogue with Trypho, a second-century Christian writer, Justin Martyr argues that the Sabbath was given to Israel as a temporary observance, and that it was never intended to be a permanent requirement. He writes, “Moreover, the Sabbath was given to you as a sign, which the Lord of all things wished to foreshadow by it—that you should keep the Sabbath with a clean conscience, and should be abstinent from all evil. But this Sabbath is mentioned to you alone, since you are righteous, that you may know that we, who have been engrafted in God by His Christ, cease from the course of sinning” (Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 23).
Ignatius of Antioch: In his Letter to the Magnesians, Ignatius of Antioch, a first-century Christian bishop, describes the Sabbath as a “shadow” that has been replaced by the reality of Christ. He writes, “Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, and rejoice in days of idleness; for ‘he that does not work, let him not eat.’ For say the [holy] oracles, ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread'” (Letter to the Magnesians, chapter 9).
Barnabas: In his Epistle of Barnabas, a first or second-century Christian writer, Barnabas argues that Christians should not observe the literal Sabbath day but should instead focus on its spiritual meaning. He writes, “We keep the eighth day (Sunday) with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead” (Epistle of Barnabas, chapter 15). Barnabas believes that the Sabbath was given to the Jews as a temporary institution and that Christians should focus on the new covenant brought by Christ, rather than adhering to the old laws. His letter provides valuable insight into early Christian beliefs and practices.
2 Peter 3:16
2 Peter 3:16 CSB
He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some things hard to understand in them. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
In 2 Peter 3, the apostle Peter is addressing his readers about the return of Jesus Christ and the end of the world. Peter reminds his readers of the prophetic words of the holy prophets and the teachings of the apostles, which all pointed to the coming of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. In verse 2, Peter urges his readers to remember the commandment that was given by the holy prophets and the apostles of the Lord and Savior:
“ I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.”
This commandment is to believe in the name of Jesus Christ and love one another. As 1 John 3:23 states, “And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.” This commandment is at the heart of the Christian faith and the teachings of the apostles.
Peter’s warning about false teachers who twist the Scriptures to suit their own purposes is consistent with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. For example, in Matthew 7:15, Jesus warns his disciples to beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Similarly, in 1 John 4:1, John writes that “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Furthermore, Peter’s emphasis on the importance of faith in Jesus Christ and love for one another is consistent with the teachings of the apostles. As Paul writes in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Similarly, in 1 Corinthians 13:13, Paul writes that “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
It is important to note that 2 Peter 3:16 does not support the idea that we are to keep the Law. The context of this passage is focused on false teachers who are misinterpreting and misusing the teachings of the apostles, particularly those of Paul. While some may argue that this passage is a rejection of Paul’s letters or the authority of Scripture, this interpretation is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.
Instead, the emphasis in the New Testament is on faith in Jesus Christ and love for one another, rather than strict adherence to the Mosaic law. As Paul writes in Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Similarly, in Galatians 2:16, Paul writes that “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
In conclusion, Peter teaches us to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus, not the law. His warning against false teachers who twist the Scriptures and his emphasis on faith in Jesus Christ and love for one another are consistent with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. As believers, we should hold fast to the true teachings of Christ and the apostles, which focus on faith in Jesus Christ and love for one another, as well as the grace of God. As Peter states in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever! Amen.” Let us therefore strive to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus, and to follow his commandment to believe in him and love one another.
Richard Bauckham – In his commentary on 2 Peter and Jude, Bauckham notes that the false teachers in 2 Peter are characterized by their immorality and their rejection of the lordship of Christ. Bauckham writes, “Peter is not reacting against the law itself, nor against obedience to God’s will as expressed in the law, but against the false teachers’ legalism, which was a serious perversion of the law” (Bauckham, 1983, p. 187).
Douglas J. Moo – In his commentary on 2 Peter, Moo notes that Peter’s warning about false teachers is similar to Paul’s warning in Galatians about false teachers who distorted the gospel. Moo writes, “Peter and Paul both saw the threat of false teachers who twisted the gospel for their own purposes, and both were passionate about preserving the integrity of the message of salvation” (Moo, 2018, p. 278).
Peter H. Davids – In his commentary on 2 Peter and Jude, Davids argues that Peter’s emphasis on the teachings of the apostles is not a rejection of Paul’s letters or the authority of Scripture. Rather, Davids writes, “Peter’s emphasis is not on rejecting Paul but on the need to stay with the teachings of Jesus and the apostles that were passed on by those who heard them” (Davids, 2006, p. 305).
Scot McKnight – In his commentary on 1 Peter and 2 Peter, McKnight emphasizes the importance of the command to love in 2 Peter, writing, “Peter’s entire point in 2 Peter is to call readers to be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he understands to be expressed in love for one another” (McKnight, 2011, p. 251).