Hugh’s News & Views (Proof-Texting)



When it is insisted that what both the world and the church need today is plain, simple Bible preaching”book, chapter, and verse” preaching, it is not infrequent that the charge of proof-texting is made. Understandably, when one holds to a religious doctrine or practice that is shown by any number of biblical texts to be false, it is to be expected that the person will cry “proof-texting.” What else would one expect when a Bible verse is cited that knocks in the head a cherished yet palpably false doctrine or practice?

It is true that a biblical text can be misused and abused. There is an old hermeneutical adage that says, “A text taken out of context is a pretext.” By this it is meant that if a person has a theory, hobby, doctrine, or axe to grind (an agenda that he wants to promote) and lines up texts that he thinks support his view, but the texts when examined in their context lend no support to what the person is teaching, then he has no proof-text at all. He has a mere pretext!

On the other hand, for a preacher who has been diligent in his study of the text in its context to cite a single verse (or even part of a verse) in proof of what the Bible teaches on a particular subject is not to be guilty of proof-texting. Jesus frequently used a single verse of Old Testament scripture to drive home a point. (See Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 11:10; Mark 7:6-7; Luke 13:35; John 10:34; etc.) May a faithful preacher of the gospel today use the New Testament the way Jesus used the Old Testament? May a preacher today cite a single verse of scripture to drive home a point of biblical teaching? Continue reading

#hughfulford, #preaching, #proof-texting

Book, chapter, and verse

by Hugh Fulford

There was a time when all preachers in the church of Christ were known as “book, chapter and verse” preachers. By this it was meant that they endeavored to “speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11), and to prove every point they made by the Scriptures.They shunned the religious doctrines and commandments of men, they refused to preach their own opinions, and endeavored instead to set forth the will of God about any and every matter of which they spoke. I am thankful that we still have many such preachers, men who wish to be known simply as gospel preachers, men who can back up what they proclaim by a “thus saith the Lord.”

Unfortunately, “book, chapter and verse” preaching has sometimes been wrongly characterized as “proof texting.”Proof texting is an abuse and misuse of scripture.It ignores the larger context of a verse and uses the verse to “prove” a preconceived notion or point of doctrine. As someone has observed, a text taken out of context is a pretext. Every passage of scripture must be understood in the light of its larger context, including the total teaching of the Scriptures on a particular subject. For example, all the verses ascribing salvation to faith in Christ must be understood in the light of all that the New Testament teaches with respect to what one does in response to the saving grace of God. Continue reading

#preaching, #proof-texting, #sound-doctrine