Here is a follow up to the understanding faith, hope and charity and other concepts post, under label "saved by hope." I thought of this example of how to explain plainly through analogy the error in looking for copying human "role models" of the concepts of faith, hope and charity.
Suppose that you spot a person you think is really charitable and you decide to role model after him. He pays for the building of a hospital wing dedicated to some branch of medicine, such as child care, acute care, cancer, cardiology, etc. So you figure that if you raise money for a hospital wing that you are copying the "best in charity you could find." Logical but wrong. Here is why.
1) If everyone starts to copy the same concepts of charity, they are less likely to be listening to what one's own calling from God truly is.
2) You have no way of knowing what is really going on inside a person. Their outward charitable events are often the worst way to judge a person's innards. How do I know that? Heaven, according to Jesus, is packed with poor people, not those who do "good deeds" or human based charity.
How to apply this to scripture? Well, think about lepers, who are mentioned frequently in the Bible as being unclean (for a variety of reasons, including being contagious). But here's my point. Can you understand how people of the Bible, if they had misunderstood charity, might have poured all their money into charitable works aimed at lepers? There would be a leper hospital on every block. And yet medicine eventually overcame this disease. If people do the charitable copy cat thing they stop working on 1) the actual problem that requires charity and 2) their relationship with God, which all charity is actually directed on behalf of.
Suppose the Bible authors were busy building leper hospitals instead of writing the scripture? Maybe some Apostles would take a few hours a day away from Jesus while he was alive in order to "donate their charitable time at the local leper hospital?"
You see the point? I thought so.