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How we transform God's promise for a nation and make it all about ourselves.

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Talk about it...

Bruce Johnson

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Jefferson, good for you encouraging contextual analysis to a passage of scripture, but remember that every passage of scripture was spoken to someone other than us. So every passage is subject to the same problem you referenced, not just Jer. 29:11 (even the verses before 11 which you love). The job of the preacher is to first do the exegetical work of "What did it originally mean?" and then to find the PRINCIPLE to translate across the ages to us today. That is not a Jer. 29:11 issue, that's a 31,273 verses of the Bible issue.

Michael Van Velzer

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Yep. Yep. Yep. Right on.

Don Campbell

commented on Dec 30, 2013

I agree with all of you. Interpreting (what did it mean) comes before application (what does it mean to me). In making the application, we must be careful to avoid thinking that our thoughts are God's thoughts and our plans are his plans. Jesus' words to Peter about Peter and John should warn us of this danger (John 21:15-29). Verse 13, "..you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart," is one of those verses that--in my opinion--has a universal application, regardless of to whom it was originally addressed.

Tim Porter

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Yes, Bruce thank you. If we use that logic non of the 31,273 would ever apply to us.

Carial Gilbert

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Amen! Our job today is to know what the scripture mean and then to find the principl to translate across the ages to us today. The bible is more than a history book, it is also a revelation of God, His promises, His requirements of us, His love, His mercy and .... Christ is our hope and we can be sure we will have a future.

Neftali Z

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Bruce, there's a trend in our "tweeterized" culture in which believers tend to use one-liners and cliches to preach the Gospel and force Scripture to accommodate personal views. I agree with Jefferson that more often than not the tendency is to project our feelings and presuppositions as if we are the center of the narrative. The job of the preacher is not only doing the exegetical work but to establish the meaning of the passage in its original literary and historical setting before moving to its significance to contemporary hearers. I believe Jefferson did an outstanding job in presenting a passage in its historical and theological context and at the end provided a sound application: even though we might be going through difficult times, God has plans to prosper us. His plans might not come wrapped in a beautiful box or it might take years to materialize as the case of the people of Israel while in captivity and yet He is still in control. So I believe that Jefferson did make a good application of the passage that in your words "translate across the ages to us..." I think mentioning the 31,273 verses was unnecessary. The point I believe is that in their rush to "demonstrate" that the biblical passage is relevant to the hearers' felt needs some rush to ignore the context. One of the primary losses that preachers and teachers who do not apply sound hermeneutical principles is that they will experience errant applications that are outside the boundaries that the authors inspired by God intended. That is a large price to pay at a time of so much doctrinal error in the church. With profound respect...

Kenneth Cutler

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Bro. Johnson thanks so much for defining what interpretation is to Bro. Bethke.

Jeff Strite

commented on Dec 30, 2013

The promise of Jeremiah 29:11 was made to "covenant" people. Christians are "covenant" people and thus the same promise applies to us. I understand the concept of contextual analysis... but sometimes its overused... as in this case

Keith B

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Not the same covenant, though. Do you teach people to obey the Law of Moses?

Jeff Strite

commented on Dec 31, 2013

Keith, I understand what you're saying, but you've forgotten the comfort we have in Romans 15:4 which says: "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." I don't need to be part of the Old Covenant to realize that God has the same love for me as He did for the Israelites. And that He has the plans set in place for my life as a Christian in much the same way He had plans for Israel.

Keith B

commented on Jan 7, 2014

What of the plan that God has for someone ISN'T to proper them as he did for Israel? What of the guy that gets cancer and dies at 27, leaving behind a wife and 2 kids? God obviously DOESN'T plan to prosper Christians in the same way. We are in a different covenant.

Tim Porter

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Jeff, thank you for correcting. We are part of the fulfilled covenant brought by Christ which includes all the promises of the Old Covenant.

Neftali Z

commented on Dec 30, 2013

If the same promise applies to you then the 70 years of captivity also apply to you right? Because that is how long the people of Israel had to wait for the fulfillment of that prophecy. Reading Scripture in context is not ?overused? It is a sound principle to interpret God?s word. It takes time, dedication, study and prayerful reflection.

Jeff Strite

commented on Dec 31, 2013

Neftali, but I am warned by God about being punished as Israel was (just as I'm encouraged by the same kinds of promises as a covenant Christian. For example, in I Corinthians 10, Paul related the punishments which befell Israel in the wilderness, and then he wrote: "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come." I Corinthians 10:11 So, the 70 years of captivity are would also be "warnings to us upon whom the fulfillment of the ages has come."

Keith B

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Great point. It's amazing that no one quotes Jeremiah 29:17-18 and says that is what God will do to them. Funny how people like to apply the good stuff but say the bad stuff was for someone else.

Tim Porter

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Both the good and the bad apply to each of us.

Keith B

commented on Jan 7, 2014

So we will also face judgment just as Israel did?

Tim Porter

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Often times the contextual argument is used by escapist theologists to discount the personal responsibility placed on us by the personal act the Son of Man/God did for us.

Theresa Scott

commented on Dec 30, 2013

I'm glad somebody addressed this. I thought the same thing but it's good to hear somebody saying that! Thanks.

Scott Rodgers

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Lay off the guy gentlemen. His primary point is good. Don't claim that your plans are God's plans and that He is going to make everything work out to your benefit. While the nuances of contextual analysis are important to us and to a full exegesis of the scriptures, it is not to the nominal believer who thinks God blesses everything he does. In our evaluation of Jeff's comments we must ask the same question we do of other authors, "to whom does he speak?"

commented on Dec 30, 2013

Agree, of course God promises us a hope and a future. That doesn't mean there won't be trials and we have to stick his word, but 29:11 still applies to us today. Otherwise why even bother preaching from the Bible, b/c technically everything was spoken to someone else, in a different time and place than today.

Ian Collett

commented on Dec 30, 2013

It is helpful to ask what does the text say, what does it mean (then and now) and how it applies today (to me, God's people, etc) in the context of Scripture as a whole. This is consistent with asking God?s Spirit to guide and speak to us through the passage. Hermeneutics soundly applied, far from distracting from its personal meaning, can also strengthen the impact of this verse as the same God uses it in our lives today. I have heard a Christian financial advisor advertise on Christian radio that he will help fulfil this verse in your life as it's God's plan is to increase your wealth!

Susan Spender

commented on Dec 31, 2013

As a new Christian back in 1994 and during a time when I was going through a period of turmoil in my life, I cried out to God and asked him what was the purpose of the situation that I was then in, and how could that situation produce anything good. I cannot say that I heard an audible voice speaking Jeremiah 29 v 11, but I cannot think of another way of describing it either. I knew God was speaking to me through that verse, and I had to trust him, no matter what the circumstances looked like. Now almost 20 years on, I can see Gods hand in all things in my life, and continue to believe him when I don't understand the things that I see or experience.

Charles Clary

commented on Dec 31, 2013

My understanding of hermeneutics is that on any given Bible verse the interpretation is one, but the application can be many. I liked the way the young preacher discussed interpretation, but he has come too late to tell me that Jeremiah 29:11 is not mine. That verse has brought me through many a storm. Charles Clary of Hurley, MS

Kenneth Charles Ebong

commented on Dec 31, 2013

I am believing that in due season, God will mature the young man's spiritual revelatory biblical understanding of God's prophetic messages to the " children of Abraham " living in this dispensation through Christ. Give him time. These are words of hope and encouragement to every believer. Yes God may have spoken it then to Isreal but He is still speaking it today to " His chosen, and peculiar people of today, and that's you and me. REV KENNETH C EBONG, LOTT CAREY BAPTIST MISSION

Michael D. Gitchel

commented on Dec 31, 2013

You nailed it Ken . . . To apply this young man's logic would mean that only the Ephesian believers needed to put on the armor of God. After all the letter by Paul was written exclusively to them. I understand that many passages are taken out of context but when Isaiah spoke the words "Fear not for I have redeemed thee" I am definitely part of God's redeemed and can take the admonition contained in those words.

Neftali Z

commented on Dec 31, 2013

"young man"? Come on brother. What does age have to do with it? That is condescending. The apostle Paul had a thing or two to say about the way people treated Timothy for his age. Jefferson's point is that we should not take passages out of context and indiscriminately use them when the original meaning does not give us that liberty. You are responding to his video as if he had said something heretic. I restate my comment below: there's a trend in our "tweeterized" culture in which believers tend to use one-liners and cliches to preach the Gospel and force Scripture to accommodate personal views. I agree with Jefferson that more often than not the tendency is to project our feelings and presuppositions as if we are the center of the narrative. The job of the preacher is not only doing the exegetical work but to establish the meaning of the passage in its original literary and historical setting before moving to its significance to contemporary hearers. I believe Jefferson did an outstanding job in presenting a passage in its historical and theological context and at the end provided a sound application: even though we might be going through difficult times, God has plans to prosper us. His plans might not come wrapped in a beautiful box or it might take years to materialize as the case of the people of Israel while in captivity and yet He is still in control. His point I believe, is that in their rush to "demonstrate" that the biblical passage is relevant to the hearers' felt needs, some rush to ignore the context. One of the primary losses that preachers and teachers who do not apply sound hermeneutical principles is that they will experience errant applications that are outside the boundaries that the authors inspired by God intended. That is a large price to pay at a time of so much doctrinal error in the church. With profound respect...

Gerardo B. Garmino, Jr.

commented on Jan 10, 2014

I understand what the young preacher is trying to bring across, Jer. 29:11 is intended for one nation that is Israel and yet in the application of this verse, some preachers of our time use this as though it belongs to an individual. But I do believe without referring to this verse, God has plans for each and everyone of us. On the other hand, if this verse cannot be applied to an individual then most preachers are also misinterpreting 1Tim and 2Tim for these two letters were sent by Paul to Timothy on a personal basis. I understand that the Bible were written a long time ago and yet its applications to the lives of Christians are endless which means, it is applicable since then and for the future Christians who are not yet born.

Marius Mazuru

commented on Jan 1, 2014

I don't know what some of you are criticizing him about. Jefferson is spot on in this: 1.The passage was originally written for the Jewish exiles; he doesn't say it doesn't apply to us, just that we need to remember who the intended audience is. 2. The passage has a command (v. 4 to 7), a warning v. 8 - 9) and a promise (v. 10 - 14). To take v 11 out of that context is to misuse the Bible. 3. Yes, this is about God - His plans for us - not about us and our plans. Read the passage again if you can't see that clearly in it.

Earl Smith

commented on Jan 1, 2014

Seems to me like he ended where he started. That is, he started by saying that this verse is not to be applied individually (because it was written to an entire nation), but he ends up applying it individually. I'm certainly not criticizing; this is how most of us end up dealing with this verse/passage. We caution that it is not necessarily individual in focus, but then we apply it as if it were. It is hard to be consistent in shifting our ME-focus on Scripture to Scripture's own WE-focus...but turning the ME into WE is crucial for a proper hermeneutic of a passage like this.

Jason Cardwell

commented on Jan 1, 2014

I read several of the comments, then started skimming, as the same arguments seemed to be coming up over and over. It seems to me that part of the problem is that we too often look at Scriptures as the end of our quest. We have to figure out "which verses apply to us" because ultimately we have to shape our lives by Scripture. But this is not what Jesus taught. He said [John 5:39] "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me." It is not ultimately the Scriptures which are supposed to shape our lives, but the Christ to which the Scriptures point.

Frank Jackson

commented on Jan 1, 2014

In verse 11 "Thoughts of peace" heb. shalom is a word frequently used to comprehend all the good things of life. It can mean not only peace but "completeness", "prosperity", "wealthfare", "health",friendship", etc. Plus, Shalom or salaam, is often used for many Eastern greetings today. Even the captivity of the exiles would be for their own good, (24:5). God assured and comforted His people with the promise that when the 70 years would end, His "eyes" would be "upon them for good" (24:6).

Frank Jackson

commented on Jan 1, 2014

Also, when we read vs 10 the seventy years, God again affirms that the Captivity will be for the full 70 in which 10 had atready passed by (25:1, 12).

Michael Sawyer

commented on Jan 1, 2014

I have read many of the comments here and think most of you are making some very good statements. But in regards to what my brother posted, I have nothing but good thoughts. He presented it well. We need to do more than just give context because context alone will not move us to change or adjust what God wants us to change. We also need more than Life Application because that alone has no foundation. We need both and that is what Jefferson brought to us. Good solid history and context with the tools to go out and apply it to our lives. Let's not forget that when we get to the person in the pew or in the street, they need to see and hear love. They need God. They need to know that there is One who loves and cares about them. One who will never leave them. Sometimes they need a simple message that meets them where they are.

Mac Yray

commented on Jan 27, 2014

You all have a point, very well said. The thing is, each of those has its own respective time in application. Praise God.

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