This post describes an approach to writing a topic from the Bible that accurately articulates what the Bible actually says (WTBAS).
Communication between humans and groups of humans is notoriously difficult. There is always a chance that when one person tells another something that an error will be introduced. When you consider that humans have their own desires and inclinations that can motivate incorrect thoughts and actions, it is no wonder that there are errors in communication.
People today mislead others about what the Bible says. Authors present their own views in place of what the Bible says. They write out their views and interpretations and suppress the Bible to secondary importance by just using references to it. You read what they say, not what the Bible says. An example of this is:
Man says: The New Testament states that there is only one God (Matt. 23:9; Mark 10:18; 12:29; John 5:44; 17:3; Romans 3:30; 1 Cor. 8:4; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; James 2:19; 4:12; Jude 25). It goes on to make clear statements about the divinity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and, therefore, introduces the concept of the Trinity, although it does not actually use the word “Trinity”.
In this example, the author has conveniently left out the following information that conflicts with his view:
Bible says: (the one true God is the Father)
John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Romans 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
The Bible does not support the idea of a three-in-one we don’t know what it is! The Bible says the one true God is the Father. There are additional facts in these verses that are also ignored by authors. For now, just please note that a different mechanism than authors currently use is needed to help ensure that the Bible is correctly presented by them.
I refer to the approach used in this example as the self-centered approach. In the self-centered approach people focus on themselves and what they think rather than what the Bible actually says. This is accomplished by suppressing Bible information into just references to what it says. It is apparent that those using the self-centered approach consider that what they say is more important than what the Bible says. Using this approach, they relegate the Bible to secondary importance and present their view in the place of the Bible’s. This allows the generation of false information which misleads those who read the text that is created.
I suggest an approach that I call What the Bible Actually Says (WTBAS). I have already used this approach in the example above about how authors present their view and not what the Bible actually says. The approach is simple. It uses the Bible itself to establish what the Bible says. In the above example I used several verses and underlined the relevant words that provide WTBAS on the topic of their being one God – the Father where the author had conveniently ignored what the Bible said about this to establish his view of the Trinity.
The following ruleset defines the procedure for creating a WTBAS topic paper:
- Copy and paste scripture(s) to establish a fact from the Bible.
- Underline specific words in the scripture(s) to highlight the fact being established.
- Precede the underlined scripture(s) by your fact statement that captures the fact.
- Ensure the fact statement accurately represents the underlined scriptures.
- Provide brief comments to clarify the fact in the underlined scripture(s). Save more lengthy comments for a separate commentary section from the WTBAS section.
- Generate fact statements to flesh out a topic using steps 1 to 5.
- Create a topic header for the underlying list of fact statements.
- Ensure topic header accurately represents the underlying list of fact statements.
- Create a hierarchy of topics by creating topic headers for underlying lists of topics using steps 7 and 8.
Following this rule set produces a hierarchy of WTBAS topics like:
- Topic Header
- Topic Header
- Fact Statement/Sentence (i.e., Fact Header)
- Underlined scripture
- Fact Statement/Sentence (i.e., Fact Header)
- Topic Header
This ruleset, or an approximation, is used in the WTBAS topic posts on this website. Using this rule set you can create your own WTBAS topic papers and use these to compare against what others are telling you so that you may determine the truth of the Bible for yourself.
Once the topic paper has been created, it can then be summarized to facilitate using WTBAS about the topic. The summary can be used for comparison to what is taught be others. But care needs to be exercised so that the summary is WTBAS and can be related back to the scriptures from which it came.
The process is:
- Copy the topic hierarchy to a new location.
- Remove all scriptures and comments.
- Condense each fact header and its fact statements into a paragraph.
- Leave other topic headers as they are, but adjust the header highlighting as appropriate.
See the topic summaries on this website for examples of the result.
The following is a look at WTBAS example about the topic of man being in the image of God:
God created man in his own image
So [a & b] God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen 1:27)
Man’s body was created from the earth
And the Lord [a] God formed man of the dust of the ground, and [b] breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Gen 2:7)
Man’s spirit came from God
Then shall [a] the dust return to the earth as it was: and [b] the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Eccl 12:7)
Adam is the image of God as Seth is in the image of Adam
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: (Gen 5:3)
Even after the Fall, man is in the image of God
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. (1Cor 11:7)
Notice the markers a and b. The markers point out what the word image is referencing. The markers show that man’s image in God includes both his body and spirit (see both a & b markers). They also point out that man’s spirit was not created, but, rather, came from God and will return to Him at death (see marker b).
The headers (in bold) summarize the Bible teaching. The Bible teaching is underlined in the respective scriptures. Commentary can be provided to point out relationships between elements of scripture. The result is that the reader can verify every step along the way whether or not it is WTBAS.