Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

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Daughter1
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by Daughter1 » 02 Jun 2019, 19:05

I used to get very upset by this, and it still can frustrate me. But over time, I came to realize that, as Jedi said, even in context most scriptures are open to multiple interpretations. What I still get frustrated on is when the ambiguity comes from the selected English translation. This is not the fault of the people quoting (or mis-quoting), but when they go on at length about something they haven't researched, then they annoy me.

The most striking recent example was the conference talk from last year about "certain" men and women in the New Testament. And how they were confident in their choice because "certain" means they knew what they were talking about and doing.
....
Nope. That's a double meaning of the English term "certain" that doesn't come from the original text. I had a professor at BYU who explained that a series of parables (starting with the Good Samaritan) are tied together by the use of this term that notates a person of particular note. It shows who we should pay attention to, and she interpreted the repeated use between parables as an indication that the parables and stories were to be read together to answer the question "What shall I do to achieve eternal life?" Using this interpretation, the story of Martha and Mary is part of the answer right along with the parable of the Samaritan.

Now, is her interpretation 100% verifiably correct? No. Is her interpretation based on the original writing as best as we can determine in modern times? Yes. It frustrates me when we treat the King James as the Adamic tongue. Jesus didn't speak English. He spoke Hebrew. And the same goes for the Book of Mormon. Only the D&C is cleared from this because it was composed so recently, relatively speaking. But every year puts it more in risk of the same dangers.

I'm all for taking things in a modern context. I just think that we should first find the intent of what was being said and apply that intent to our modern days.

When it comes to Come Follow Me, I have yet to attend a single Sunday School lesson. I haven't actually been to Sunday School in several years - it's never been my favorite. Instead, my sister and I do the reading and discuss every week. I have a beautiful companion book that talks about the world of the NT. It goes over cultural topics that are relevant to the stories. It explains the society of the time. My sister is an anthropologist and between the two of us, when something is unclear, we always try to put it in a contemporary context before taking the lessons from that to apply to our own lives.

Sorry this was a bit sideways of the primary topic. But the frustrations have been interlinked for me, so I'm guessing I'm not alone on that.
I don't think there could ever be just one single philosophy or one single religion. Since there are so many different types of people, with a range of tendencies and inclinations, it is quite fitting that there are differences between religions. And the fact that there are so many different descriptions of the religious path shows how rich religion is. - HH the XIV Dalai Lama

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nibbler
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by nibbler » 03 Jun 2019, 04:32

Daughter1 wrote:
02 Jun 2019, 19:05
What I still get frustrated on is when the ambiguity comes from the selected English translation. This is not the fault of the people quoting (or mis-quoting), but when they go on at length about something they haven't researched, then they annoy me.
I think we all like to have something new and profound to say when giving a talk. The scriptures have been picked over for centuries, so that becomes a tall order. Sometimes you have to stretch things.

I can imagine a scenario where Sister Burton read the phrase 'certain women,' a heavy Mormon filter caused her to interpret the word certain as 'to know beyond all doubt,' it became a real "ah ha!" moment for her, she interpreted that feeling as the spirit/truth, and now we have a talk about certain women.

That raises a question though. Do the scriptures have one true interpretation? Or stated differently, are there interpretations that are flat out incorrect? I think there probably are interpretations that are grossly inaccurate, but try telling that to the person that believes the interpretation.

You could argue that scriptures are "living" and open to new interpretations. That's one of the reasons I've heard for reading the scriptures every day - when we read scriptures we're meant to put them in the context of our life, every day provides a new context, we may learn something different from the same scriptures as the context of our lives changes.

Besides, is there anything more Mormon in 2019 than saying "certain women" means women that have a strong testimony, women that "know," women that do not doubt? :P In my opinion, modern Mormonism has an unhealthy obsession with getting everyone on the same page when it comes to beliefs.
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
― Jesus

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Heber13
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by Heber13 » 03 Jun 2019, 06:37

I have always chalked this up to how we practice our religion, which is very participatory...inviting everyone to share ideas and testimonies.

And by doing so...interpret scripture however is convenient for the point being made.

We don't really value accuracy of context as much as we do conformity in thought and supporting our current leaders' interpretations.

Perhaps there are several purposes for scripture...and bending meaning helps us "liken the scriptures" to our lives.

I think we are taught to try to do it, and we often get it wrong and no one corrects the true meaning of things.

I think we may have many doctrines in our church based on a history of someone applying their own view on a scripture that was never intended to be read that way.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Roy
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by Roy » 03 Jun 2019, 10:48

Heber13 wrote:
03 Jun 2019, 06:37
We don't really value accuracy of context as much as we do conformity in thought and supporting our current leaders' interpretations.
Yeah, I agree. We tend to value loyalty over accuracy.
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Cadence
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by Cadence » 03 Jun 2019, 17:16

I think all religions cherry pick the verses they want. In reality maybe 1% of the Bible gets used. The rest is just noise

I have often thought it would be interesting to pick a page at random and read it in Sunday School. Then try to explain everything it says.


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BJE
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by BJE » 03 Jun 2019, 19:32

Here is a verse that I believe is always taken out of context. To say that sexual sins are next to murder.

Alma 39:5 Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?

This is always used to show that sexual sins are next to murder but they forget to read the whole story leading up to this verse.

2 For thou didst not give so much heed unto my words as did thy brother, among the people of the Zoramites. Now this is what I have against thee; thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom.
3 And this is not all, my son. Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for thou didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel.
4 Yea, she did steal away the hearts of many; but this was no excuse for thee, my son. Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry wherewith thou wast entrusted.

5 Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?
11 Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots. Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words.
12 And now the Spirit of the Lord doth say unto me: Command thy children to do good, lest they lead away the hearts of many people to destruction; therefore I command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities;

I believe that a careful reading shows that the sin next to murder is leading people into destruction by our bad examples.

Murder being causing the physical death of someone and the sin next to it being causing someone’s spiritual death.

All the more reason to be careful on sites like this one to not lead anyone astray.

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Heber13
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by Heber13 » 03 Jun 2019, 22:19

BJE wrote:
03 Jun 2019, 19:32

I believe that a careful reading shows that the sin next to murder is leading people into destruction by our bad examples
Good clarification.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by DarkJedi » 04 Jun 2019, 05:17

Heber13 wrote:
03 Jun 2019, 22:19
BJE wrote:
03 Jun 2019, 19:32

I believe that a careful reading shows that the sin next to murder is leading people into destruction by our bad examples
Good clarification.
Yes indeed, I have also made note of that. If you leave out the line about the harlot (two sentence segments) it becomes very clear that scripture section is about leading people away from God by not doing what he was supposed to be doing.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by Curt Sunshine » 04 Jun 2019, 06:29

What Cadence said.

Everyone focuses on a few things they love and ignores what they don't want to mess with trying to explain or what they view as less important.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Heber13
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Re: Misquoting Scripture w/o Context

Post by Heber13 » 04 Jun 2019, 08:30

Curt Sunshine wrote:
04 Jun 2019, 06:29
What Cadence said.

Everyone focuses on a few things they love and ignores what they don't want to mess with trying to explain or what they view as less important.
And I don't think people are doing it to mislead or to try to manipulate others. Mostly intent is good. Mostly it is to inspire the soul.

It just isn't always correct. But then again...when were the scriptures written with intent for historical accuracy?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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