The most responsible form of topical Bible study involves what we might call, for lack of any better term, “3-dimensional” study. This sort of study not only zeroes in on particular passages that are relevant to the topic at hand, but also surveys the entire Bible on the topic, especially with a view toward finding an interpretation of the topic that takes all the facts into account. In this sort of study, therefore, the idea is not only to go “deep”, but to go “wide” as well.
Will it do us any good to have a detailed theory on a Bible topic that makes great use of a single passages of scripture, only to find that several other passages tend to disprove the theory? A great example of this would be Ephesians 2:8-9, a passage that many people study “deeply”, and from which they conclude that Paul taught a salvation that had nothing to do with the behavior (or “works”) of the believer, and that flowed solely from the “grace” of God. Here’s the passage, for your convenience:
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Indeed, if all we had to go on for this question of “works” and salvation were this passage, it would be tempting to consider ourselves having a good understanding of the original teachings on it. But when we take our investigation “wide”, throughout the remainder of the scriptures, we find several passages that would seem to deny the notion that man’s behaviors and actions have nothing to do with whether he will go to heaven. Here’s one such passage, as an example.
1 Corinthians 5:9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
If we have both of these passages in view, and if we are really interested in understanding what was originally taught, then we will certainly take a different view of Ephesians 2 than we would have had that passage been the only one we had. Further, given what might appear to be a conflict of ideas between these two passages, we should naturally want to explore every passage that touches on this subject. That’s what this “body of language” section of the website is about.
You will find in this category of posts listings of passages based on topics that are relevant to the Temporary Ekklesia Theory. They are a study aid, meant to help the reader think through the bigger picture of the entire topic.
If you are like me, you will find your understanding of certain topics growing considerably as you attempt to study both “deep and wide”.