Twice in two days I have crossed paths with the word “dicta”. What are the odds? So I figured I needed to look up the meaning. The legal definition is “Opinions of a judge that do not embody the resolution or determination of the specific case before the court. Expressions in a court’s opinion that go beyond the facts before the court and therefore are individual views of the author of the opinion and not binding in subsequent cases as legal precedent.”1.
The first time I heard the word was in commentary over Supreme Court Justice, John Robert’s “dicta”/opinion which went beyond the language described in Obama’s National Health Care law where Robert’s added that this law does not infringe on the Commerce Clause and thus cannot hinder states from having their own Medical Health Plan. That part about the Commerce Clause was going beyond what the other liberal judges, who ultimately sided with him on the Constitutionality of Obamacare, believed was stated in the law. They opposed Robert’s “dicta”, or opinion, on the use of the Commerce Clause to mandate healthcare. Robert’s “dicta” was his issue of opinion from the bench.
The second time I heard the word “dicta” was in something Thomas Jefferson wrote concerning his view of the moral teachings of Jesus and Jefferson’s desire to separate the pure teaching from the “dicta” of men: “We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus, paring off the amphibologisms into which they have been led, by forgetting often, or not understanding, what had fallen from him, by giving their own misconceptions as his dicta, and expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves.”2 Jefferson’s word “amphibologisms” comes from the Greek amphilbolia and means doubtful or ambiguous. In other words, the Gospel writers intertwined and intermingled their own opinions/nonsense and out doubtful things with what Jesus said.
I love what Jefferson did for this country and I believe the hand of God was at work. That’s my faith speaking. But even a Thomas Jefferson can get it wrong. God is the Creator of the Universe. He’s powerful and wise and loving. God Almighty is also just. We should not limit what God is. God is supernatural. And the Bible is filled with supernatural things of and from God. To reject part of the Bible makes less sense than rejecting all of the Bible. And rejecting all of the Bible makes no sense at all. When a smart man thinks he can distinguish in Scripture what is and what is not of God, he’s fooled himself.
There is going to be a divine judgment from God. Paul said, “4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.” Romans 2
The fair and impartial God will bless eternally those who seek Him. But those who rebel against Him to do evil, He will punish for eternity.
All of the Bible is God’s Word. It is all God’s “dicta” and not man’s which we read in the Bible. No man has a right to cut and paste from the Word of God and Mr. Jefferson was surely misled to reduce much of the Scriptures to nothing more than man’s opinion. God bless you. Said with Love. Dan M