Wednesday, October 16, 2013
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1,2 KJV).
Although a stumbling block to many, today’s Scripture is not difficult to understand when we consider the context….
Can our soul salvation unto eternal life be lost? Today’s Scripture is often used to deny the “once saved, always saved” position because it reads: “[we] are saved, if [we] keep in memory what [Paul] preached unto [us], unless [we] have believed in vain.” Does that mean we will go to hell if we forget Paul’s Gospel? What does it mean to “believe in vain?”
Interestingly, the (Roman Catholic) New American Bible reads in 1 Corinthians 15:2: “Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.” The NIV agrees: “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” These perversions do not make the Bible easier to understand; contrariwise, they intensify the confusion surrounding today’s Scripture. Must we “hold firmly/fast,” lest we lose our salvation, as these modern translations suggest?
Verses 12-17 provide some insight into the meaning of today’s Scripture: “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
Let us continue scrutinizing the context to understand today’s Scripture….