But the Bible says….

Anyone who opens up their Bible becomes an interpreter.  The task of an interpreter is to correctly interpret, to separate the Word for all time over and against that which is merely cultural or temporary.

For example, on Saturday I had a rare steak and it oozed with blood, contrary to Acts 15:29.  I have also never had my feet washed in church (John 13:14).  Both of these are scriptural New Testament commands, so the question becomes, as we interpret the text – how am I interpreting this text over and against another text?


Below is a list put together from a missionary who was (is?) based in Ethiopia, and so obviously had to contend with cross-cultural interpretation as well as basic biblical hermeneutics.  The point of the list is to raise the question of each text:  what is meant to be temporary and what is meant to be timeless?  It would be a great exercise to use in any Bible study with adults and I think, especially teenagers who are learning to read Scripture well, and help to prevent the classic line we often hear, “But the Bible says….!”

I came across the list when I worked with the mission agency YWAM, and we used it on the School of Biblical Studies.  Enjoy!

  1.  Greet one another with a holy kiss (Rom 16:16)
  2. Abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to adults (Acts 15:29)
  3. Be baptised (Acts 2:38)
  4. A woman ought to have a veil on her head (1 Cor 11:10)
  5. Wash each other’s feet (John 13:14)
  6. Extend the right hand of fellowship (left hand?) (Gal 2:9)
  7. Ordain by the laying on of hands (Acts 13:3)
  8. It is indecent for a woman to speak in an assembly (1 Cor 14:35)
  9. Have fixed hours of prayer (Acts 3:1)
  10. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Col 3:16)
  11. Abstain from eating blood (Acts 15:29)
  12. Observe festivals, new moons and sabbaths (Col 2:16)
  13. Observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:24)
  14. Remember the poor (Gal 2:10)
  15. Anoint the sick with oil (James 5:14, 15)
  16. Per mit no woman to teach men (1 Tim 2:12)
  17. Preach two by two (Mark 6:7)
  18. Speak Greek in the assembly (Acts 14:1)
  19. Eat what is set before you asking no questions (1 Cor 10:27)
  20. Prohibit women from wearing braided hair, gold or pearls (1 Tim 2:9)
  21. Abstain from fornication (Acts 15:29)
  22. Do not seek marriage (1 Cor 7:27)
  23. Be circumcised (Acts 15:50)
  24. Refuse to eat reptiles or birds of the air (Acts 10:12)
  25. Drink communion from a single cup (Mark 14:23)
  26. Take formal religious vows (Acts 18:18)
  27. Refrain from public prayer (Mat 6:5-6)
  28. Speak in tongues (1 Cor 14:5)
  29. Meet in homes for church (Col 4:15)
  30. Work with your hands (1 Thess 4:11)
  31. Lift your hands when praying (1 Tim 2:8)
  32. Give to those who beg from you (Mat 5:42)
  33. Pray before meals (Luke 24:30)
  34. Enrol no widow under 60 years old (1 Tim 5:9)
  35. Say “Amen” at the end of prayers (1 Cor 14:16)
  36. Fast in connection with ordination (Acts 13:3)
  37. Beware of dogs (Phil 3:2)
  38. Wives be subject to your husbands (Col 3:18)
  39. Show no partiality toward the rich (James 2:1-7)
  40. Use unleavened bread for communion (Luke 22:13, 19)
  41. Cast lots for church officers (Acts 1:26)
  42. Owe no man anything (Romans 13:8)
  43. Have seven deacons in the church (Acts 6)
  44. Abstain from the meat of animals killed by strangulation (Acts 15:29)
  45. If anyone will not work, let them not eat (2 Thess 3:10)
  46. Worship on Saturday (Acts 13:14; 42, 44)
  47. Sell lands and houses when one becomes a Christian (Acts 4:32-37)
  48. Have self-employed clergy (2 Thess 3:7, 8)
  49. Take collections in church for the poor (1 Cor 16:1)
  50. Refuse to take oaths, just say yes or no (Matt 5:33-37)


2015-02-20 11_57_49(I took this whilst at the YWAM base, The King’s Lodge, in Nuneaton, UK)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑