When sharing the truths of the Holy Spirit with those who have been educated under the umbrella of christianity (there are many different flavors, remember), this is a tenet that sometimes gets used to try to shut down the Holy Spirit’s truths.
It goes something like this: “You are adding to the scriptures—for that passage doesn’t say what you are claiming. You need to stick with the ‘plain reading of the text,’ as that is the standard of truth.”
Basically, the claim is that the literal meanings of literal words are the purpose of scripture. And, to those who believe that, they think the meanings that are deeper than the literal words are “adding to scripture.”
This assertion is very common among “fundamentalist” sects, and is widely touted by those who idolize the KJV (just one of the many translations of men) as the “perfect word,” even though the Word is not a book, nor is He anything that is written.
Here’s the problem with that: the literal meanings of words can be gleaned by both those who are led by the Holy Spirit, and by those who are not. They can be understood by believer and unbeliever alike.
But, scripture is not given to unbelievers. It is given for instruction, reproof, correction of error, and education in the doctrines of salvation to those who are led by the Holy Spirit (as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 explains—scripture is given for those who are Yah’s people, which, by definition, means they are led by the Holy Spirit).
In Luke 24:45, we are told of an event that differentiates “plain reading of the text” from “understanding scripture spiritually.” The disciples knew the literal words of scripture (the plain reading of the texts—and those scriptures were given in their native language, which was Hebrew), but they didn’t understand the spiritual meanings within those words until their eyes were opened, making them able to glean those meanings.
They were given an understanding that those who are not led by the Holy Spirit do not have, even though they understood the physical words in the scriptures. Consider this: in verses like 1 Corinthians 4:1, Paul speaks of being “overseers of the mysteries of Elohim (God).” Now, if a plain reading of the text is its purpose, then what are the mysteries of Elohim?
To understand the mysteries of Elohim, one must have that discernment illuminated by the Holy Spirit. That’s what happened to the disciples in Luke 24:45, and is what is missing in the teachings of christianity—the ones that proclaim that the best interpretations of scripture are those that are based on a “plain reading of the text.”
Let me give just a couple very small examples:
In John 3:29, John the Baptist is quoted, and he said, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.”
Now, I have asked many christians to explain exactly what John the Baptist was talking about there—according to the plain reading of the text. Without fail, they fail. It’s because they do not understand that the actual truth lies within the Father’s traditions. It is not found in the plain reading of the text, but in the perspective of the one who was speaking, based on his understanding of the traditions.
John the Baptist was speaking there of a very specific wedding tradition, and he identified himself, by what he said, as the “shoshben” (best man). You see, John the Baptist was indeed part of the friends of the Bridegroom (who are the OT saints). But, John identified a duty held ONLY by the best man at the wedding.
In the Jewish wedding traditions, the bridegroom and the bride were betrothed, which is to be legally married, but they were not physically married until the marriage was consummated. The bridegroom would tell his bride that he was going to prepare their dwelling, which would begin a mandatory period of separation.
When the father decided that the dwelling was complete, he would tell his son to go and get his bride (usually during the night), and the bridegroom and the best man would go to her home, get her, and bring her back to the wedding chamber. After a formal ceremony, the two would enter the wedding chamber (chuppah) to physically consummate their marriage.
The rest of the wedding party would then go about their business, but the best man would stay behind waiting to hear the voice of the bridegroom, who would yell out to the best man that the marriage had been consummated. The best man would then go notify the rest of the wedding party to begin preparing the wedding feast.
Without understanding those traditions, the reader would have no idea at all what John the Baptist was even talking about in that verse. It is not apparent to those who do not understand the meanings behind the literal words.
Another example is Revelation 3:20. For years, christian teachers have claimed that the verse is a metaphor for Christ knocking on someone’s heart. That is wholly false. Messiah doesn’t “knock” on anyone’s heart. The Bridegroom cannot have physical contact with His bride, as He went away to prepare the dwelling place, which began a mandatory period of separation.
No, what is shown there is an assembly, and its door is closed. Why would that matter, and why would Messiah say that, if they would open their door, He would come in and have a meal with them? What meal is tied directly to Messiah? And, during what meal would the front door be left open?
The Passover Seder is the only meal in scripture that is about Messiah. And during the Passover, the Jews would keep their front door open as an invitation to Elijah to announce the coming of Messiah.
The “church” blew off the Passover when christianity was invented (choosing, rather, an ancient pagan fertility ritual called easter/ishtar), and that is why the door is closed.
But, He says, “If you will open the door (keep the Passover–1 Corinthians 5:7-8), He will come in and eat the Seder meal with you,” meaning that, by identifying with the Passover sacrifice, which is the preparation for righteousness (Unleavened Bread), He will become a part of you through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who is the covenant of marriage given to Messiah’s bride.
But, not knowing the spiritual truth BEHIND what is stated by the plain texts, the Holy Spirit’s understanding will be absent. Again, the “plain reading of the text” is available to believer and unbeliever alike. The true meanings of scripture are available ONLY to those who are led by the Holy Spirit.
Those who claim that the true meanings in scripture are derived from a plain reading of the texts have never actually been led by the Holy Spirit. They are led by their carnal minds and hearts (see: Jeremiah 17:9). The true meanings of the scriptures always harmonize perfectly with the Father’s traditions, but those traditions were outlawed by christianity when it was invented after the New Testament apostles had all died, and then codified in the 4th century by the sun-worshiping emperor Constantine (which is why christianity’s holydays come from Babylonian sun worship–SUNday assembling, christ-mass, easter, etc.).
Those traditions being absent from christianity, they are not recognized in the plain reading of the texts. But, those who understand the Father’s traditions see them throughout the scriptures. That’s why Paul told the Gentile converts to hold fast and keep those traditions (“paradosis”) he had taught them. They are a compass for discerning spiritual truth within the literal words of scripture.
For more information: Christianity’s Holy Spirit–Some Water and a Book