Answers to "Ask Mike" Questions
Question #38

38. Mike, could you explain ASV Luke 14:25-27?  The "hateth not" and "cannot" are what is confusing to me.

(Click on the verse reference above to view it in the RSV translation via GospelCom's Bible Gateway?  For more information, see below. -- Editor)

Jesus is using a figure of speech to draw a contrast. What he is saying is that an individual's commitment to discipleship -- loyalty to and love for Jesus -- should be so strong that all other human relationships would pale by comparison. Nothing, not even one's strongest human ties, should compromise one's loyalty to Christ. When loyalty to Christ and loyalty to family conflict, loyalty to Christ should prevail. He is not saying that his followers must despise his earthly relationships. He has merely used hyperbole to make a point.

One common mistake in biblical interpretation is the failure to recognize figures of speech. The biblical writers often used simile, allegory, metaphor, metonymy, hyperbole, and other figures of speech. A key for proper understanding is the attempt to discover what a passage meant to the original readers. Asking good questions of a text assists in that discovery.

Ask who wrote it, to whom did he write it, why was it written, when was it written, and what is the point. It is helpful to know as much about a passage's context as possible when interpreting it. With the plentiful resources available today such as Bible dictionaries, Bible atlases, Bible commentaries, and Bible handbooks, it is not difficult to find the answer to such questions.

Rick Warren, minister of Saddleback Church, says proper understanding of any biblical text requires three steps which he calls the "interpretation bridge." Those steps are:

  1. Discovering what the passage meant when it was originally written.
  2. Discerning the eternal principle from the text.
  3. Drawing an application from the principle.

Excessive literalism -- interpreting all biblical language as if it were literal as opposed to figurative -- is a breeding ground for trouble. On my desk, I current have a book published in 2001 which interprets the Bible so literally they have returned to the view of the universe which predominated prior to Galileo and Copernicus. Arguing from a literalistic interpretation of Scripture, these men affirm that the earth is stationary -- it does not rotate on its axis and it is not moving through space -- and is actually the "center of the universe." Others use literal interpretations to set dates and times for Christ's return. Seeking balance in interpreting Scripture is wise and is often the solution to apparently contradictory biblical statements.

Question #2. What do you think about evolution? Is this concept true? Can we rely on all sections of the Bible to be accurate?

Question #4. With all the translations of the Bible, how should I decide which one to use?

Question #1. Some of the people in the Old Testament were immoral and violent. They killed a lot of people in neighboring groups. Were they really in touch with our God of love?

Question #25. Why is the church so divided?  Why is the Bible so vague on issues that cause divisions?

Look up Bible verses at
GospelCom's Bible Gateway
On-line Bible verse lookup in multiple versions and languages

We have linked to GospelCom's Bible Gateway for your convenience in studying the Bible.  We hope that you will not only study the verses listed above, but also expand your study to other areas of the Bible. 

Question #37
What does the Bible really teach about Eternal Punishment?

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Question #39
What does God think about dating those of different religions?

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Answers to Ask Mike Questions