6 41-59 The Danger Of Misinterpreting The Bible

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                                                  liberty bible church          6/8/08 a.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“the danger of misinterpreting the bible”

John 6:41-59


Illus. of “Some Baby” That wouldn’t be the first time there has been a misunderstanding about Jesus. As a matter of fact, Jesus and facts about who He is, His life, and what He taught have been misinterpreted, misunderstood, and misapplied for thousands of years. The Bible is a very important document. It doesn’t just merely contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God. It is written in plain language for the common man so that we can easily understand it. Mark Twain once said, “When I read the Bible, the parts that trouble me the most are not the ones I don’t understand, but the ones I do understand.” Christians need to be careful to practice a hermeneutic or Bible study method so that our interpretation will be accurate; we will understand as God intended and be able to apply it as well. There are inherent dangers of not doing this. So, what are some of the dangers of misinterpreting the Bible?

OPEN to the passage.

Prop. In this passage, we see two dangers of misinterpreting the Bible.

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. Jesus in the midst of a long discourse. He is using bread as a metaphor for satisfying spiritual hunger and acquiring eternal life. The people are struggling with interpreting what He is saying. Cf. 30-40 What is the people’s response to this simple plan of salvation? That’s where we see the first danger of misinterpretation of God’s Word.

 i. the danger of missing the simplicity of salvation vs. 41-47

Illus. of recently I went to help Jess put together a table she had bought. I took my whole tool box, cordless drill, everything I thought I would need to do the job. What I found was that the table came with the only tool necessary to put the table together; an Allen wrench. One Allen wrench fit every screw. I didn’t need one tool I took over there. I forgot that everything in our now disposable world is so simplified that even someone with no tools can put a table together. So, when she needed two end tables assembled, she did it herself, with a little help from Noah. It seems that our world has simplified everything but salvation. We’ve created multiple religions with complex works systems to get us all to the same place…Heaven. The problem is, none of these man-made religions work. Jesus has a simple plan. If we misinterpret what He says, we are in danger of missing this simple plan.

a. The problem is they don’t believe Jesus

V 41    1. The unbelieving Jews, like their forefathers in the wilderness, complain about what God is doing. Because Jesus claimed to be the true bread from Heaven through which people could find eternal life. This was unbelievable to them. Why?

V 42    2. They didn’t believe that Jesus could have a heavenly origin because they knew His mother and father. They didn’t know His true origin. They didn’t know about the virgin birth. They didn’t know that He was not only man, but God as well. How could Jesus have come from Heaven? How could He be the way of life? To make it even plainer, Jesus lays out for them exactly how one comes to faith and believing in Him.

b. Salvation appears to be too good to be true

       Illus. of if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Not so with salvation. Jesus demonstrates that for them here.

V 43    1. “Stop grumbling.” God knows exactly what we are thinking. Jesus exhorts them to stop the complaining about God’s way.

V 44a   2. No one can believe in Jesus without the help of God. As we said last week, God must draw us. Cf. v 37a AS unbelievers, we are so deep in sin that we cannot be saved without the Father drawing us.

V 44b  3. The ultimate goal of salvation is victory over the grave. When we die, our death is not eternal. Someday, our bodies will be resurrected to be with Christ for all eternity.

V 45a   4. Jesus sites the OT to defend this teaching. Cf. Is. 54:13 This refers to God’s working in our spirit preparing us to receive the teachings about Jesus.

V 45b  5. All who listen to and learn from God, will come to Jesus and believe in Him.

V 46    6. This teaching form God is nothing mystical where we see or hear God. To know God or see Him, we must be exposed to Jesus through His Word. When the Word of God teaches us about Jesus Christ, who He is and what He did, God is able to work in our spirits to draw us to Jesus. Then we have a choice.

V 47a   7. Here’s the third time we see this assurance of truth phrase.

V 47b  8. “in Me” does not occur in older manuscripts. He “who believes” is a participle in the present tense meaning that believers are characterized by their continuing trust in Jesus. “everlasting life” is a present possession. It’s not something in the future and it relates to quality of life. A true believers life is of a higher quality than that of the world. At least it has the potential for that. When we live in sin, we don’t experience that blessing to it fullest.  

Trans. When we hear about Jesus, God can draw us, and then we choose to believe in Jesus or not for the forgiveness of our sins. This is a simple plan, but many are missing it and religion gets in their way. This religion takes many forms. That’s where we see a second danger.

ii. the danger of christian cannibalism vs. 48-59

Illus. of “The Mouth of Babes” Any distortion of the Lord’s Supper is unacceptable. This passage is one that has been misinterpreted and has lead to some malpractices of this ordinance. We need to answer two important questions here.

a. what is the bread of life?  

V 48    1. As we saw in verse 35, Jesus claims to be the Bread of Life. Remember, the Bread of Life is a Person, not a substance. Once a person enters into a relationship with Jesus, they are immediately satisfied. Once someone experiences Jesus, they are spiritually satisfied for all eternity.

V 49    2. Again, He uses manna as an illustration to show the difference between what they thought was bread from Heaven and the true Bread from Heaven.

V 50    3. If one eats the True Bread of Heaven, they will not die. Big difference! Jesus expounds on this in verse 51.

V 51a   4. Once again, to eat of this bread brings eternal life.

V 51b  5. Once again, Jesus is this bread. It is His flesh. It is through His flesh that the world gets life. O.K. this is where it gets sticky. What does it mean to eat this bread.

b. How is the bread of life consumed?

V 52    1. They start on the right track. How can we eat His flesh? This is not something that God would allow. Cf. Lev. 3:17 So, it can’t mean literally eating Jesus. Cf. v 35-40 indicate that belief in Jesus is the key. Eating is used as a figure of speech to relate Jesus to the manna providing physical food life in the wilderness. Jesus provides eternal life, but that life is provided by believing in Him, not literally eating Him. To take this to an even more absurd level…

V 53a   2. Here’s the fourth use of this phrase. These would have been shocking truths to these Jews.

V 53b  3. Jesus is not speaking of the Lord’s Supper here. That ordinance was not instituted for another year. There, Jesus made it clear that was a memorial of what He was doing.

            4. It is from this passage that two misinterpretations come into play.

                 a. Transubstantiation- the elements of the Eucharist turn into the actual body and blood of Jesus, with only the taste and texture remaining different.

                 b. Consubstantiation- the elements of the Eucharist contain the presence or essence of the Lord’s body and blood. Evidently, the Lutherans wanted to have a better explanation for the fact that the elements didn’t change.

                 A better explanation is that they are a memorial, as Jesus said they would be. If God wanted to us to drink blood and eat flesh, He could change the elements.

V 54    5. Even though man cannot drink blood, it is blood that atones for sin and gives eternal life. To eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood is to trust fully in His sacrifice on the cross.

V 55    6. As good food and drink sustain physical life, it is Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself that sustains our eternal life. It is in this that we are secure.

V 56-57    7. To abide in Christ is to abide in God. God abides in us through the HS. This is all possible because of the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus has life from the Father and we have life through Jesus. WE can enjoy an intimate friendship with Jesus and are secure in that relationship.

V 58    8. Once again, the Bread Jesus offers is for eternal life, not temporal.

V 59    9. This was taught in the synagogue in Capernaum. This would have been difficult for Jews to understand. See next verse. Jesus was saying that the Law didn’t save anyone. Eternal life can come only through believing in Jesus.


Without a literal, historical, grammatical, and contextual hermeneutic or method of interpretation, this passage is easy to misinterpret and thousands and millions have done it for centuries and have followed a dead religion into a Christ less eternity, if they never trusted in Jesus alone. If they trusted in there religious sacraments of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus, they are missing what Jesus was saying, the simple plan of salvation. GOSPEL What is our responsibility here?

1.      Apply and share the simple plan of salvation. GOSPEL

2.      Practice a literal, historical, grammatical, and contextual hermeneutic. Be careful not to take verses out of context.

3.      Don’t take any preconceived notions into your study, but make sure you don’t violate what you know to be true. Illus. of “Interpretive Bias”

Illus. of “Asking Her Age”

To misinterpret the Bible is much more dangerous than offending “old Mrs. Smith.” Be a good student of the Scriptures, a good communicator, and better yet, a doer of the Word. In this way, we will validate our salvation and draw others to God. It is there that they will choose to believe in Jesus. May that be our prayer and may that be our devotion.



“the danger of misinterpreting the bible”

John 6:41-59


Jesus and facts about who He is, His life, and what He taught have been misinterpreted, misunderstood, and misapplied for thousands of years. What are some of the dangers of misinterpreting the Bible?

 i. the danger of                                                           vs. 41-47

a. The problem is they don’t…

b. Salvation appears to be…

                Cf. Is. 54:13

ii. the danger of                                                           vs. 48-59

a. what is the bread of life? 

b. How is the bread of life consumed?

                Cf. Lev. 3:17




What is our responsibility here?




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