Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Using the Bible to Interpret the Bible – 9:23 verses tell us to deny ourselves and do what is right

Mark 9:23 ".. All things are possible to him who believes"
The Bible's like referenced verses can be taken together as a set to help interpret a common theme found in the text. In this post I show how the Bible's 9:23 verses together tell us that we are to seek wisdom from God and then do what he asks of us. The KJV and similar bibles have 25 verses that have a common 9:23 reference. They can be found in the following books (Gen, Exo, Lev, Num, Deu, Josh, Judg, 1Sam, 1Kin, 2Kin, 1Chr, 2Chr, Neh, Est, Job, Jer, Dan, Matt, Mrk, Luke, John, Act, Rom, 1Cor, Heb).
Since the Bible’s “Like Referenced Verses” all will share some aspect of a common theme, we can use the theme we find in them to get a better understanding of what the Bible is telling us.  The common theme running through like referenced verses does not in any way change the message in the text and should not be construed to assume that all the verses all have the same message. Instead, the common themes in like referenced verses help put in context some teaching that is contained specifically in the verse’ text.

All things are possible to him who believes…

Mark 9:23 is often quoted “all things are possible to him who believes”. But when you understand how the context of 9:23 verses guides our interpretation, we probably will no longer assume this means that anything is possible if we believe enough. When you read other of the Bible’s 9:23 verses a clearer understanding comes into view…

Once you know the 9:23 verse reference helps you associate other similar passages you probably will draw a different conclusion regarding what God is saying.

·         Luke 9:23 If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me

·         1Cor 9:23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

·         Mrk 9:23 And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes."

·         Dan 9:23 "… so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.

·         Num 9:23 …they kept the LORD'S charge, according to the command of the LORD

·         Chr 9:23 ..the kings.. were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart.

·         Jer 9:23 "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, (don’t trust in your own strength)

·         Est 9:23 Thus the Jews undertook what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them.

·         John 9:23 ..his parents said, "He is of age; ask him." (we must make our own decision to do what is right?)

·         Deu 9:23 .. you neither believed Him nor listened to His voice.

·         Josh 9:23 "Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall never cease being slaves

What conclusion do you now think Mark 9:23 “all things are possible to him who believes” means?

My conclusion is that this verse is more correctly telling us that God has given us the ability to follow his word and keep his commandments. It is possible to do his will if we believe in him. We are to listen to, and comprehend the messages and teaching of God and do them according to his will…not our own.

The Negative side…

In every like reference verse pattern I see in the Bible I find different categories of how the theme is found; First, evidence of the theme itself; second, passages that show the theme being put into action; and also the theme as it applies negatively. Of course, there’s also usually about 20-30% of the verses that I’m uncertain of how they fit the theme. As always, the Bible is way too complex for us to fully understand, but as shown in this and other posts about Like Referenced verses, the patterns and themes found in these verses are too consistent to attribute to happenstance.

Following are 9:23 verses that speak to the negative side of

Judg 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, (there are spiritual forces that work to prevent us from following God’s will?)

Matt 9:23 When Jesus came into the official's house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder, (as a result of not following God’s will?)

Job 9:23 "If the scourge kills suddenly, He mocks the despair of the innocent. (not doing God’s will will leave us in despair?)

How this Number/Text Pattern Works

This is explained much more thoroughly in my book but the simplified explanation is that I believe that the many numbers associated with any text of the Bible have some influence on contents of the text. I personally suspect that the exact text of the Bible could be completely verified if we knew God's algorithm for how numbers fit the text (of course, we will never figure this out). Nonetheless, we can use numbers we do find associated with verses to find other verses with similar numbering. Similar numbering suggests we would find some similar contents in the text. I believe Bible patterns are strong evidence for this possibility.

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