Two Perspectives and Exegetical Fallacies

Ed Sharrow
6 min readMay 23


A common refrain heard throughout Christian communities large and small is “The church is the body of Christ.” The scripture which is the primary basis for this statement follows:

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. — Ephesians 5:23 (See also Colossians 1:18)

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Unfortunately, I’ve heard too many preachers proclaim the essential nature of their church using faulty human reasoning to expound on the meaning of this scripture. I will paraphrase a couple of the statements I’ve heard from Christian leaders over the years. “You must attend church. The church is the body of Christ.” Or “We don’t give to buy our salvation, We give to build the body of Christ on earth.” Consider these and any related statement where the emphasis is on “church” and not on “the body of Christ” to be false statements.

Several Christian organizations have arrived at this theological mistake due to choosing the wrong perspective and the incorrect application of scriptural study.

Two Perspectives

For the Christian, there are only two perspectives that are significant. First, the there is a category of perspectives born of human life which are to be repented and abandoned. Second, in the unity of God is the eternal, universal, singular perspective every Christian progressively adopts in their deepening relationship with Christ.

The First Perspective: The Lie

The most familiar worldviews and rationalizations for scripture are the kaleidoscope of insights offered by humanity. Human perspectives are so embedded in practical secular living that few can neither separate nor comprehend that the human way is the fallen way of life. Human life follows the dictates of the Liar. Human understanding from science to intellectualism to activities of daily living are based in the Liar’s cyclical battle of duality.

Humanity perceives a positive or negative, black or white view with many shades of gray. It is this duality that creates the lie. The rationalizations of what is good or bad, desirable or forbidden create confusion regarding the nature of light and darkness. The lie is a law-based perspective. The Liar must operate within the confines of creation that have been established by God. Before Christ Jesus, religions were concerned with fulfilling this law as the sole method of salvation. Christ made another perspective available to the general public, the perspective of God.

One easy way to begin separating human lies from God’s reality is to stop using phrases like “I believe, I think, I prefer, I want, I know” and any statement expressing human desire for sensual, intellectual, and materialistic fulfillment. These are not of God but rather from the Liar.

While striving to develop a meaningful relationship with Christ, the disciple reaches the critical point where secular living appears incredibly impractical if one follows the self-sacrificial examples and teachings of Christ Jesus. Often through trials, anxiety, frustration, ignorance, and perhaps even a period of completely rejecting God, one chosen by Christ begins to realize the depth of the lie lived on the stage called earth.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” — Matthew 6:24

Modern translations have replaced “mammon” which encompassed all material wealth and possessions with “money” which is an instrument to purchase things. It’s worthy to note that when Christ made this statement, family members including wife and children were considered possessions. Children could be sold into slavery, for example. Even among the wealthy, daughters were “sold” into a good home and marriage with a dowry. So “mammon” encompasses the three categories of ignorance which include intoxicants, intimate sensuality, and wealth of possessions. Contemporaries of Christ Jesus likely called these temptations “wine, women, and gold”.

When Christians lead their lives based on perspectives from the Liar, they are serving the creation not the Creator. The in-breaking kingdom of heaven which Christ brings now is the grace which transfers one’s understanding from confusing worldly paradoxes to the eternal wisdom of God. Christ “died for your sins” (another often misused statement) only if your relationship with God transfers your daily perspective from lies to Truth.

The Second Perspective: The Truth

God’s perspective is singular. It is final. It is absolute.

By fostering an ever-deepening relationship with God through Christ and the Holy Spirit, a repenting Christian begins to see the world through the unimaginable unity perceived only by grace. God’s perspective doesn’t come by reading this article or by listening to an inspirational sermon. God’s wisdom is materially expressed through intuition from the heart. The heart is the point where love for God initially manifests in the physical world. Once the shackles of intoxication, sense slavery, and greed are progressively shattered, scripture becomes fact while “the way humans live” becomes a thing of faith. Christ’s Godly perspective is only attained through a deep, multi-faceted relationship with Him. Intellectual understanding does not guarantee that a relationship with God will manifest. The Apostle Peter is a prime example of one who had no business becoming the rock of Christ’s teachings based on a worldly evaluation of his qualifications and behaviors.

Exegetical Fallacies

Simply put “exegetical fallacies” are false conclusions drawn from a misunderstanding of scripture. Fallacies may be arrived at by poor interpretations such as the previously mentioned limited “money” for the comprehensive “mammon”. However, typically the term “exegetical fallacies” represents the false association between two or more verses or phrases. Usually, a student of scripture will take a verse out of context and promote it as fact supported by other scriptural references. One example is the current trend to confuse divine Love with physical human intimacy. Human expressions of selfish desire through emotional attachments and sex are incomparable to the pure love of Christ.

The exegetical fallacy committed in “The church is the body of Christ” is twofold. First, it is a misleading paraphrase of scriptural truth. Second, it is made untrue by wrong emphasis on the outcome “church” rather than the cause “Christ”.

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. — Ephesians 5:23 (See also Colossians 1:18)

The original scripture verse is part of teaching on the organization of households. See the greater section which is Ephesians 5:22 through 5:33. The Apostle Paul makes a human comparison between the traditional family and the growing organization of churches, in order to assist the human intellect in understanding.

Husband and wife are separate individuals with one in a leadership role. They are not the same person. While Paul appears to suggest some separation between Christ and his church in this passage, he also clarifies that the church is the body of Christ. In addition to the reference above with “his body”, Paul notes that practicing Christians are also members of “his body” in verse 5:30. Making it “as clear as mud” Paul continues:

This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. — Ephesians 5:32

A better paraphrase of the original might be “Christ’s body is the church”. Rather than separation between Creator and creation, this paraphrase holds to the Truth of God’s unity. In communion, Christ offers his physical body and blood (given on the cross and by transubstantiation through sanctified bread and wine) to introduce Christians to his body of church. With a universal perspective, Christ offers the body of God as the liberating choice rather than the enslavement to mammon that Adam and Eve chose when eating the forbidden fruit offered by the serpent. Christ breaks the original sin by offering individuals the only solution, the body of God.

As the individual Christian grows closer to God through daily effort to be still and know Him, God’s singular perspective becomes more prevalent. The secular perspective is revealed as a lie, and scripture is revealed as it was intended to be understood.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Ed Sharrow

Author, philosopher, Christian meditation instructor. Secular thoughts on weekdays.