HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS
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