Gary summarizes more than a dozen common misunderstandings from his book, Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths on today’s podcast.

Jesus often corrected erroneous beliefs about the Bible. He did this with misunderstandings in four areas:

• An out-of-context reading and application of a text (Matt. 5:21).
• A misreading or an incomplete reading of a text (5:38).
• A misstatement of fact (5:43).
• Faulty reasoning from an incorrectly established premise.

Jesus was not declaring a new set of rules for the church to obey by discounting what had been written in what Christians know as the “Old Testament.” He was simply holding His first-century audience accountable for how they were misreading Scripture and urging them not to rely on what they had heard was written. For example, if you read Matthew 5:38–40 and compare it to Exodus 21:22, you will notice that Jesus did not replace capital punishment with a turn-the-other-cheek ethic. Exodus 21:22 clearly states that “judges” are to decide what punishment is to be imposed. Victims could not take personal vengeance (cf. Rom. 12:18–21; cf. 13:4). There were some in Jesus’ day who were taking a law that was meant for civil authorities to adjudicate and carry out and were applying it to personal situations. The consequences can be devastating (James 4:1–2). D. A. Carson gives a helpful interpretation of Jesus’ words:

Jesus says something like this: “You have heard that it was said . . . but I tell you. . . .” He does not begin these contrasts by telling them what the Old Testament said, but what they had heard it said. This is an important observation, because Jesus is not negating something from the Old Testament, but something from their understanding of it.

In other words, Jesus appears to be concerned with two things: overthrowing erroneous traditions, and indicating authoritatively the real direction toward which the Old Testament Scriptures point. [1]

These misreadings led to misunderstandings which resulted in creating a mythological tradition that had the effect of nullifying what God’s Word actually said and meant. Over time, the traditions were used by religious authorities to supplant the truth and misdirect the people down an unbiblical path. Jesus said the following to the Scribes and Pharisees: “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. . . . You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition” (Mark 7:8–9).

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths takes a closer look at God's Word and applies it to erroneous misinterpretations of the Bible that have resulted in a virtual shut-down of the church's full-orbed mission in the world (Acts 20:27). Due to these mistaken interpretations and applications of popular Bible texts to contemporary issues, the Christian faith is being thrown out and trampled under foot by men (Matt. 5:13).

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Gary summarizes more than a dozen common misunderstandings from his book, Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths. Christians and churches are often paralyzed into inactivity in political and cultural battles because they believe the Bible tells them not to be involved. God expects His people to bring truth to bear on every topic and activity in His world. Sin effects every area of life and needs the revelation of biblical truth.

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[1] D. A. Carson, The Sermon on the Mount: An Exegetical Exposition of Matthew 5–7 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1978), 39–40.