Opinion or Fact?!?

Is it your “opinion” or a fact?

opinion or fact

If we look at Webster’s 1913 dictionary under opinion, we find the following:

O-pin’ion

n. [F., from L. opinio. See Opine.]

1. That which is opined; a notion or conviction founded on probable evidence; belief stronger than impression, less strong than positive knowledge; settled judgment in regard to any point of knowledge or action.

Opinion is when the assent of the understanding is so far gained by evidence of probability, that it rather inclines to one persuasion than to another, yet not without a mixture of incertainty or doubting.

2. The judgment or sentiment which the mind forms of persons or things; estimation.

3. Favorable estimation; hence, consideration; reputation; fame; public sentiment or esteem. [Obs.]

4. Obstinacy in holding to one’s belief or impression; opiniativeness; conceitedness. [Obs.] Shak.

5. (Law.) The formal decision, or expression of views, of a judge, an umpire, a counselor, or other party officially called upon to consider and decide upon a matter or point submitted.

Noah Porter, ed., Webster’s 1913 Unabridged English Dictionary, (Springfield, Mass.: G. C. Merriam Co., 1913), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Opinion”.

Several words in the definition above jump out here:

  • conviction
  • belief
  • judgment
  • sentiment
  • estimation
  • impression
  • views

Why do I point these particular words out in the definitions above? Simple.

It seems that many people, maybe even most people, consider and regard their own opinions so highly, that these “convictions, beliefs, judgments, sentiments,estimations, impressions, and views” more often than not, especially if they are held long enough over time, become more than than what they are . . . they become facts. This is where the other 2 words that jump out come into play:

  • obstinacy
  • conceitedness

This is especially true in a society that embraces the very thing which the text prophesied about as a warning concerning the end times: self-love . . . narcissism.

The problem is that opinions are NOT facts.

If they were facts, they would be called facts and not opinions.

As simple as that may sound, the reality is that when people are presented with an opinion, they make a judgment based on whether that opinion sounds, looks, or feels true. If it doesn’t, they discard the opinion. They rarely research to check to see if it is true. If it sounds good, or true, then they accept. The opinion becomes something more than a theory or opinion . . . it becomes a truth to them.

The Greek word in the text used for opinion is γνώμη gnōmē which phonetically is g-no’-may. It is listed in the Greek lexicon as judgment In the secular Greek (non-biblical Greek), it has varied meanings:

Its definition ranges in meaning from

  • a “means of knowing” (intelligence) to
  • a “purpose, decision, resolution.” Within this spectrum
  • it could denote a “judgment”
  • or “disposition,”
  • or an “opinion”
  • or “consent” (Liddell-Scott; cf. Moulton-Milligan).
  • The concept of “will” or “purpose,” also a dominant understanding,

must not, however, be judged by the Greek concept that “knowing” (the basis for decision, judgment, etc.) rests essentially upon observation (Bultmann, “ginōskō,” Kittel, 1:691; cf. pp.717f.).

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “1100. γνώμη,” in The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Alpha-Gamma, (Springfield, MO: Complete Biblical Library, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1100. γνώμη”.

How does the Greek biblical text use the word opinion γνώμη gnōmē ? In the Septuagint (translation of the Hebrew into Greek by 70 Jewish Torah scholars), it translates 3 words:

  1. ָת dāth decree
  2. טְעֵם ṯᵉ‘ēm command or discretion
  3. סוֹד s̱ôdh conspire

Would you like a couple of examples from the text of how the Greek word γνώμη gnōmē is used in the text?

1 Corinthians 1:10 (CJB)
10  Nevertheless, brothers, I call on you in the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah to agree, all of you, in what you say, and not to let yourselves remain split into factions but be restored to having a common mind and a common purpose.

1 Corinthians 7:25 (CJB)
25  Now the question about the unmarried: I do not have a command from the Lord, but I offer an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is worthy to be trusted.

2 Corinthians 8:10 (CJB)
10  As I say, in regard to this matter I am only giving an opinion. A year ago you were not only the first to take action but the first to want to do so. Now it would be to your advantage

As you can see in the 3 verses above, although an opinion can be trusted if the one giving it is trustworthy, it can also lead to splitting into different factions.

That brings us to the modern times . . . TODAY.

You want to know the saddest things for me about opinion from today’s standpoint? The doctrines of man are based upon opinions. The doctrines of man are based upon the following from the dictionary entry above. Based upon what they as men are

  • convicted
  • believe
  • judge
  • sentiment
  • estimate
  • impress
  • view

to be truth.

And although these doctrines may contain some truth, a lot of truth, or very little truth, religions are opinions none-the-less . . .

Lutheranism, Catholicism, Calvinism, Arminianism, Baptist, Assemblies of God, Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists, Messianic, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Judaism . . . long, long list. Sometimes, there are so many differing opinions within a group that they form new groups within the groups . . . There is more than one type of Lutheran There is more than one type of Catholic. There is more than one type of Calvinist. There is more than one type of Baptist . . .

On other words,

I believe Martin Luther’s opinion of what the text says and does not say . . .

I believe the Pope’s opinion of what the text says and does not say . . .

I believe John Calvin’s opinion of what the text says and does not say . . .

An just so the irony is not lost on anyone, I want you to remember that these religions started out as the opinions of an individual . . .

The Lutheran religion is a result of individuals accepting Luther’s opinion as truth . . .

The Catholic religion is a result of individuals accepting the Pope’s opinion as truth . . .

The Baptist religion (most of them) are a result of accepting John Calvin’s opinion as truth . . .

The sobering part is that this didn’t happen over night. A man opined. People accepted. Over time, it became a religion that was followed according to the opinions these men opined. Here is the most sobering part:

Joel Osteen could be the eventual founder of Osteenism. Don’t laugh. He has 50,000 people in attendance at his congregation at any single service.

Joyce Meyers could be the eventual founder of Meyersism.

Creflo Dollar could be the eventual founder of Dollarism.

Mike Bickle could be the eventual founder of Bickleism.

Rick Warren could be the eventual founder of Warrenism.

Peter Horrobin could be the eventual founder of Horrobinism.

Again, a very long list.

How do we differentiate between opinion and fact?

How to we protect ourself from accepting opinion AS a fact?

The text gives us a very good answer and model concerning some Jews in Berea:

Acts 17:10-12 (CJB)
10  But as soon as night fell,

the brothers sent Sha’ul and Sila off to Berea.

As soon as they arrived, they went to the synagogue.

11  Now the people here

were of nobler character than the ones in Thessalonica;

they eagerly welcomed the message,

checking the Tanakh every day

to see if

the things Sha’ul was saying

were true.

12  Many of them came to trust,

as did a number of prominent Greek women and not a few Greek men.

You see, the major difference between Bereans and today’s Christian and Messianic circles is that

the TaNaKh was the final authority for what was truth and what was opinion

Until the Rabbi Sha’uls words were checked against the TaNaKh to see if what he said was true, to them, it was nothing more than an opinion. It didn’t become a fact (regardless of how it sounded or felt at the time) UNTIL it was checked against the TaNaKh!

Today, not so much. People know their doctrines very well. They know the opinions of the men they follow, however, there is an absolute ignorance of the text itself (apart from these opinions – these doctrines of men) in the assemblies today that is staggering. It is actually heart-breaking!

Their truth is literally someone else’s opinion of what the truth is . . .

Contrast and compare the above with the Bereans to the following:

On more than one occasion in, or during my teachings, I have had people tell me that what I was teaching was irrelevant because all they needed was the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide them.

On other occasions, I have had people state that “so-and-so prayed about it” so what I am teaching or correcting is irrelevant.

Sometimes, I get the “I don’t need to know history or culture or how the word was used in culture THEN because all I use is the text.”

On one specific occasion, I had someone actually tell me that “they didn’t need to know what was in the text because they were guided by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

The assumptions, arrogance and pride in theses statements actually exposes the heart of the individual very clearly. How so, you might ask? These are individual opinions. They sound right and even preferable to the opiner. Let’s add the opinion part (including the “implied” opinion part):

What you are teaching is irrelevant because all I need is the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to guide me.

(I have way more Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) in me than you do so your correction and teaching is of lower or no consequence to me because I am so anointed.)

“So-and-so prayed about it” so what you are teaching or correcting is irrelevant.

(I have way more Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) in me than you do so your correction and teaching is of lower or no consequence to me because I am so anointed.)

“I don’t need to know history or culture or how the word was used in culture THEN because all I use is the text.”

(I have way more Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) in me than you do so your correction and teaching is of lower or no consequence to me because I am so anointed.)

I do not need to know what was in the text because I am guided by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).

(I have way more Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) in me than you do so your correction and teaching is of lower or no consequence to me because I am so anointed.)

  • Forget the possibility that someone else besides you may be an instrument of the Creator of all things. Maybe specifically sent or used to help you see an error . . .
  • Forget the possibility that your opinion may be wrong . . .
  • Forget the possibility that since you don’t speak or write Hebrew or Greek that you ARE taking the opinion of someone else and passing it off as a fact (the translator(s) of the text you are using)
  • Forget the fact that the text itself was inspired by God through men (I don’t need the Holy Spirit, I just need the Holy Spirit) Nonsensical, huh?

The list of possibilities is very long in these “forget” statements . . .

What they do in fact do, is contradict a basic premise in the text concerning elevating one’s own thought process or estimation of self (again self-love – – – narcissism – – – the warning of the end times):

Romans 12:3 (AMP)
3  For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me

I warn everyone among you

not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought

[not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance],

but to rate his ability with sober judgment,

each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.

You see, we are told throughout the text not to elevate ourselves . . . to be humble.

Matthew 23:12 (AMP)
12  Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride]

shall be humbled (brought low),

and whoever humbles himself

[whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly]

shall be raised to honor.

And the humbleness to accept instruction and correction:

Proverbs 10:17 (CJB)
17  He who observes discipline is on the way to life;

but he who ignores correction is making a mistake.

Proverbs 12:1 (CJB)
1  He who loves knowledge loves discipline,

but he who hates correction is a boor (stupid).

Proverbs 15:10 (CJB)
10  Discipline is severe for one who leaves the way,

and whoever can’t stand correction will die.

Proverbs 15:31-32 (CJB)
31  He who heeds life-giving correction

will be at home in the company of the wise.
32  He who spurns discipline detests himself,

but he who listens to correction grows in understanding.

Proverbs 12:15 (CJB)
15  Fools suppose their way is straight,

but the wise pay attention to advice.

That leaves us with the final part of this post, the Greek word δόξα doxa. This is a word that has changed from its secular (non-biblical Greek) meaning to a different meaning because the Hebrew informs the Greek and not the other way around. It has the cognate (δοκέω dokeō) which means think, seem, suppose, appear. We have to understand this word before we can understand doxa.

Classical Greek

There are two basic functions of dokeō in classical Greek, and these largely continued to dominate throughout the early history of the term.

  1. First, dokeō is used with an object (transitive use); thus: “I think (that . . . )” or “I believe (something).”
  2. Second, dokeō is used without an object (intransitive use); thus: “It seems (to me),” “to be supposed.” Sometimes in this usage dokeō was contrasted with reality— the supposed versus the real. Such an antithesis marked its role in the language of ethics (Kittel, “dokeō,” Kittel, 2:232ff.).

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “1374. δοκέω,” in The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Delta-Epsilon, (Springfield, MO: Complete Biblical Library, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1374. δοκέω”.

With this in mind, lets look at δόξα doxa once again. Glory, splendor, radiance, fame, renown, honor. Notice the following secular understanding of δόξα doxa at the time the text was written:

Classical Greek

The Greek noun doxa is derived from the verb dokeō (1374), “to consider, to believe, to think.” The sense of the noun in classical Greek thus becomes: “belief, opinion,” and later “reputation.”

The “opinion” a person has about something may be involved, or it may refer to a belief someone has about another (i.e., “reputation”).

However, the secular understanding of doxa is rarely, if ever, present in the New Testament.

This provides another example of how the Septuagint and later the New Testament take a Greek term and radically alter it by invoking upon it the contents of a Hebrew counterpart.

It has absorbed the more objective and absolute character associated in the Hebrew term kābod which denotes the majesty and splendor of God.

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “1385. δόξα,” in The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Delta-Epsilon, (Springfield, MO: Complete Biblical Library, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1385. δόξα”.

It is important to understand these distinctions of how the Hebrew informs the Greek. Jewish thinking is different than Greek thinking.

Jews search for the proper questions,

Greeks search for the answers.

Jews don’t have to have all of the answers. Greeks need all of the answers and they need to fit properly in their box. We don’t learn Jewish thought in our colleges. We don’t practice the Judaic method in our theorems and hypotheses, we apply the Socratic method . . . the Greek method.

We could literally say that Jewish thinking is thinking “outside of the box.” All one has to do is look at Israel and all they have accomplished with so little and in spite of so much hostility worldwide to see some truth to this.

However, we don’t follow a Greek God or a Greek text.

We follow a Jewish text, a Jewish Messiah, Jewish talmidim (disciples) . . .

How can the Greek language and its mindset convey the Jewish mindset? It requires tweaking by the Jews writing letters (epistles) in the Greek to Greek speakers and writers, because although many Greek words were similar to Jewish words in basic understanding, the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob is expectedly absent from the Greek definitions . . . it is absent because they did not build their culture or language around Him or even acknowledge His existence.

Christ in its strict sense of the word (Christos) did NOT mean anointed of God to do his bidding . . .

it meant smeared with oil. The Greek did not and would NOT make a word concerning a God they did not believe in . . .

In Mashiach (Messiah) there is an understanding of smeared with oil in conjunction with raised up by God to do his bidding.

So δόξα doxa is different than γνώμη gnōmē . Although it may have started out as “belief, opinion,” ,

It’s understanding became glory. It is the part of the word orthodoxy:

Or’tho-dox’y

n. [Gr. ὀρθοδοξία: cf. F. orthodoxie. See Orthodox.]

1. Soundness of faith; a belief in the doctrines taught in the Scriptures, or in some established standard of faith;—opposed to heterodoxy or to heresy.

2. Consonance to genuine Scriptural doctrines;—said of moral doctrines and beliefs; as, the orthodoxy of a creed.

3. By extension, said of any correct doctrine or belief.

Noah Porter, ed., Webster’s 1913 Unabridged English Dictionary, (Springfield, Mass.: G. C. Merriam Co., 1913), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Orthodoxy”.

It could be said that orthodoxy is the “correct” opinion regarding the Creator, the Messiah, the text.

Is there a biblical support for this statement?

Acts 18:24-26 (CJB)
24  Meanwhile, a Jewish man named Apollos,

a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus.

He was an eloquent speaker with a thorough knowledge of the Tanakh.

25  This man had been informed about the Way of the Lord,

and with great spiritual fervor

he spoke and taught accurately the facts about Yeshua,

but

he knew only the immersion of Yochanan.

26  He began to speak out boldly in the synagogue;

but

when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,

they took him aside and explained to him the Way of God in fuller detail.

“thorough knowledge of the Tanakh” and yet, still needed correction . . . as we ALL do. There is another example where we are told told about a curse on ANYONE who teaches CONTRARY to what Sha’ul taight:

Galatians 1:6-9 (CJB)
6  I am astounded that you are so quick to remove yourselves from me,

the one who called you by the Messiah’s grace,

and turn to some other supposedly “Good News,”
7  which is not good news at all!

What is really happening is that certain people

are pestering you

and trying to pervert the genuine Good News of the Messiah.

8  But even if we — or, for that matter,

an angel from heaven!—

were to announce to you some so-called “Good News”

contrary to the Good News we did announce to you,

let him be under a curse forever!

9  We said it before, and I say it again:

if anyone announces “Good News”

contrary to what you received,

let him be under a curse forever!

Sobering warning – sobering result.

Is forever cursed worth the pride and arrogance that comes with thinking too highly of one’s or someone else’s opinion? We are shown about worldly division in Corinth – human standards and opinions over Goldy ones which is Holy:

1 Corinthians 3:4-8 (CJB)
4  For when one says,

“I follow Sha’ul” and another,

“I follow Apollos,”

aren’t you being merely human?

5  After all, what is Apollos?

What is Sha’ul?

Only servants through whom you came to trust.

Indeed, it was the Lord who brought you to trust

through one of us or through another.

6  I planted the seed,

and Apollos watered it,

but it was God who made it grow.

7  So neither the planter nor the waterer is anything,

only God who makes things grow —
8  planter and waterer are the same.

However, each will be rewarded according to his work.

This is a reiteration of an earlier rebuke in the same letter by the Rabbi Sha’ul:

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 (CJB)
10  Nevertheless, brothers,

I call on you in the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah

to agree, all of you, in what you say,

and not to let yourselves remain split into factions (Split, division, dissension, schism)

but be restored to having a common mind and a common purpose (γνώμη gnōmē )

11  For some of Chloe’s people have made it known to me,

my brothers, that there are quarrels among you.

12  I say this because one of you says,

“I follow Sha’ul”; another says,

“I follow Apollos”; another,

“I follow Kefa”; while still another says,

“I follow the Messiah!”

13  Has the Messiah been split in pieces?

Was it Sha’ul who was put to death on a stake for you?

Were you immersed into the name of Sha’ul?

Common purpose . . . Common judgment . . . Common opinion. – – – Common orthodoxy

What if we parody this?

12  I say this because one of you says,

“I follow John Calvin”; another says,

“I follow Martin Luther”; another,

“I follow The Pope”; while still another says,

“I follow the Messiah!”

When we do this, we have no common purpose. No common judgment No common opinion.

We are nothing but factions valuing our OWN opinions over all others.

We are nothing but factions valuing the opinion of someone who says the text says . . .

We are nothing but divided . . .

Orthodoxy is relative to our own theological suppositions, theories and dogmas or the theological suppositions, theories and dogmas of the person or religion that we follow . . . .

Doctrines of men –

We think therefore it is . . .

Don’t confuse opinion with fact.

Doing so is NOT the model of the Bereans . . .

Confusing opinion with fact is how eisegesis becomes accepted as exegesis . . .

When opinion becomes the model that we measure biblical truth by instead of the text,

that model is nothing more than the shifting sand of a fool.

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About Even If Ministries

Dani'el 3:17-18 (CJB) 17 Your majesty, if our God, whom we serve, is able to save us, he will save us from the blazing hot furnace and from your power. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will neither serve your gods nor worship the gold statue which you have set up.”
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