Is one permitted to interpret God’s commandments to bolster one’s point of view?


I came across your web site and find it interesting that

We are not to add to or take away from God’s commandments.


God also sanctioned self-defense as we read of the young David slaying both lion and bear in defense of his flock in I Samuel 17.  In verse 37 David said it was the Lord who delivered him from the attacking beasts and he would likewise deliver him in battle against the Philistine (Goliath.)  Remember the apostle Paul killing the attacking viper in Acts 28:1-5?  It must then be obvious that “Thou shalt not kill” means “You shall not murder.”  

Is one permitted to interpret God's commandments to bolster one's point of view?

After all, the Bible doesn't mention air conditioning and hymnals but I know Church of Christ members who have added these to their services while judging other church people who use musical instruments in worship services.

By the way, is there a "commandment" in the New Testament about musical instruments? I'm not aware of one. My Church of Christ acquaintances state the New Testament doesn't have anything about the use of musical instruments in worship services so they "don't add to God's word." When I mention "make a joyful noise", they respond that is Old Testament and they belong to a New Testament church.

So somewhere between the Old Testament and the New Testament, God quit liking musical instruments in worship services!

That same David that slew lions and bears also played a musical instrument (lyre) in worshiping God.


"Interpret" means "to make sense of, to assign a meaning to, to understand, to give an explanation of." Since God said, "So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17), the answer is yes, we are to make sense of what God said, to understand it and to give an explanation of it. "Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" (I Peter 3:15).

From your statement, I must assume that you believe "interpret" to mean "to assign arbitrary meaning to." Such doesn't match the definition of the word, nor is it what I do. "Interpret" does not mean "alter." I carefully document what God says about matters. "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11). Thus, the definition of "murder" in Exodus 20:13 was proven by several means as not meaning "kill" in general. You seem to find it objectionable, but you present no evidence that I misguided anyone.

In regards to instrumental music, it is clear you don't know your history. The use of instrumental music was a recent innovation in worship among denominations. See "The Amazing History of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship."

Your question has been addressed on this web site: "Where in the Bible is Instrumental Music Forbidden?"

In regards to air conditioning and hymnals, your argument is an empty one. First, since you have such in your worship, it is clear that you find authority for these things. The flaw is that you assume the authority comes from men adding to God's word despite God's clear injunction against additions; additions which you find acceptable. Please see: "Finding Liberty in Silence" to see why this line of argument is false and why hymnals and air condition is not additions to God's commands. If you are going to present a counter-argument, you really ought to use something you believe in. Giving false arguments only makes your position look bad.

In regards to the difference between the Old and New Testament, see "Why We Don't Follow the Old Testament." The claim that God quit liking instrumental music is a facetious argument. The Old and New Testament are two different covenants with different terms and conditions. There are similarities, but there are differences -- if there were, they would not be different covenants. For example, the Old Testament required males to be circumcised. The New Testament does not. It isn't that God quit liking circumcision. His New Covenant has a different way of marking who are God's people. "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:1-4).

The simple fact is that the Old Testament commanded the use of instrumental music in worship (see Psalms 150 as an example). It was not an addition that men added to God's laws. The New Testament, as you admit, does not command the use of instrumental music. We respect God's wishes. What are you going to do?

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