There are many things, on one hand, which the Bible says which some would wish it didn’t say.
By Erasmus Makarimayi
On the other hand, there are others who wished the Bible didn’t say certain things it says.
The Bible is God’s mind to us.
As a follower of this column, you know that his mind is grace and this grace is Christ Jesus, who is God’s Word, which became flesh.
We don’t read our minds into the Bible (Eisegesis), but we read God’s mind from the Bible (Exegesis).
To answer the question, is the concept of spiritual fatherhood correct or wrong, we shall lay down basic Bible interpretation principles first.
This will help you and make your reading and studying of the Bible exciting and nourishing.
We shall take a very exhaustive approach to the subject.
While I shall be scholarly, I will keep things very simple.
Walk with me on this subject in this instalment and in the coming weeks.
Isn’t it an error to refer to another believer as your Father in The Lord?
In the perilous times we’re living in of apostasy and heresy many have been shaken and confused.
However, truth stands forever and a remnant of loyal followers of Christ is there in the earth.
We don’t disband our scriptural heritage because of rampant abuse by false religions.
False apostles, prophets and teachers will not squeeze us out of spiritual truths and realities.
Let’s quickly get going.
Those who speak against the doctrine of father in the lord or spiritual father usually use Matthew 23:9.
It reads: “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your father, which is in heaven.”
For starters, doctrinal books of the New Testament church are Romans to Revelations.
Please read correctly, we’re not saying other books of the Bible are discarded.
Jesus Christ directs us in Matthew 26:28: “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
The blood of Jesus is shed at the end of the gospels.
The book of Acts is a historical book recording the early days of the church.
Doctrine starts at the book of Romans.
Back to our story. We’re not throwing away Jesus’ authoritative words in Matthew 23:9 as quoted above.
Another important Bible interpretation rule is context.
Please always remember that context is king.
This simply means that you don’t pick out a verse in isolation of its thread.
Keep it married in its relationship.
Read the pretext – that is several verses before the text.
The best way is to start where the maker of the statement began or where the statement in issue takes its distinction from.
You also need to read the post text – that is several verses after the text.
This helps understand the destination of the statement.
You may know the familiar example used of irresponsibly picking portions of verses.
Here is it.
Judas went to hang himself … go and do likewise … whatever you need to do … do quickly!
Someone will commit suicide with the Bible in hand.
This is what reading scriptures out of context does.
Here’s the pretext to Matthew 23:9. Jesus starts speaking in verse 2. Matthew 23:2-8, New King James, “ saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
“ Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
“ For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
“ But all their works they do to be seen by men.
“They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.
“ They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,  greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’
“ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for one is your teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.”
It’s very clear that Jesus was referring to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
Here is the post-text. Matthew 23:10-14, New King James: “ And do not be called teachers; for one is your teacher, the Christ.
“ But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
“ And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
“ “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
“ Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers.
“Therefore, you will receive greater condemnation.”
Now notice that in between the pretext and post text is verse 9.
It’s, therefore, logical based on the rule of context and logic to say, call none of these (Pharisees) your teachers or your fathers.
Knowledge is power, you don’t need to live in fear.
With enough knowledge and illumination, Christianity is enjoyable.
Jesus says in John 8:32: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Please digest and make a date next week and grab your copy of NewsDay Weekender.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.
l All Bible quotations are from the King James Version unless otherwise stated.
Fellowship with Pastor Makarimayi on Facebook and on www.twitter.com/PEMAKARIMAYI. Telephone +263 712 332 632