Summary: The word IF is a little word that expresses a hypothetical truth that requires us to have faith.
Put a marker in Matthew 4 and turn with me to 2 Peter 1. One of the things I’ve encountered over the years is that many Christians believe they can take the Bible, read the Bible, and then say that “This is what this verse means to me.”
When you take that approach with the Bible, you might as well put God on a shelf and say “You’re not involved.”
The only way we’re going to come to an understanding of what this book is all about is understanding what we’re about to read in 2 Peter 1.
(20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
God really drives that point home with the word “no.” It’s the Greek word OU. It means “absolutely not,” “no possible way,” “no exceptions.” So here in Peter, it says that knowing this first, that no prophecy – and don’t take the word to mean something like “Thus saith the Lord.” It’s talking about the Bible that we hold in our hands.
The verse is telling each of us that we cannot read the Bible and then say “This is what it means to me.” Tabitha can say well, this is what this verse means to me. Stephen can say, well I see this verse this way. Ladies and gentlemen, the verse means what it means and God drives this point home with verse 21.
(21) For the prophecy came not – that word “not” is also OU – in the old time by the will of man:
[In other words, men didn’t just sit down and decide to write the Bible. So many folks in the Body of Christ believe that there are 66 books and all of them were written by men. Ladies and gentlemen, say this with me: “Man had nothing to do with writing the Bible,” and we see it in the next clause.]
“For the prophecy came not in the old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Holy men of God sat at the feet of the Teacher, the Holy Ghost, and took dictation.
When it comes to how we interpret this book, one of the things we’ve been taught over and over again is to never ever take a verse or passage out of context, out of its setting.
I wanted to mention all of this to you because there are so many times that we will read the Bible and we’ll see a word in the Bible and we think that we understand the meaning of that one singular word.
Over the past few weeks, the Lord has had me camping on some specific words. And one of those words we’re going to look at this morning is s the word IF.
When we see the word IF in a verse, and I’m limiting myself to the New Testament, as saying the same thing each time we see it. But there are two Greek word for the word IF. One is Ei (pronounced “eye”) and the other is Ean. Our focus this morning will be on Ei.
Ei “expresses a condition which is merely hypothetical and separate from all experience.” The person who is reading that hypothetical situation, and I’m going to use “hypothetical truth.” It’s really not a hypothetical truth. Let me explain.
Ei, in most cases, focuses our attention on truths that to us are “hypothetical” until we understand them, until we believe them and until we act on them. And the only way you can do it, ladies and gentlemen, is by faith. There is no other way for the “hypothetical truth” to become a reality in our lives but by faith.
Ei also identifies where we are in our obedience to God and where we are in our fellowship with God. Are you following me?
Whether or not we choose to act on the “hypothetical truth” does not negate the fact that it’s truth. Our response will either be one of faith or one of unbelief. I’m going to put it to you another way: Not acting on the “hypothetical truth” points to another truth – that there is a level of pride operating in us. By not acting, mentally we are saying “I don’t believe it or I don’t have to do it or It doesn’t apply to me.” Are you following me?
How many of you know that there are people in the Body of Christ who believe that the Old Testament doesn’t apply to them? That’s a big mistake ladies and gentlemen. A lot of what Jesus taught had its basis in the Old Testament. He used the Old Testament as a launching point to introduce the kingdom of God.