Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Marking Up the Bible

People have a tendency to pick and choose the things they want to believe in the Bible. Some people are blatant about it, while others of us may do it without realizing that we’re doing it. Martin Luther thought that the book of James conflicted with his theology and wanted to edit it out of the Bible. Thomas Jefferson thought it was a good idea to rewrite the Bible with the references to angels, the genealogy of Jesus, the prophecy of his birth. He also wanted to remove miracles, the divinity of Jesus, and Jesus’ resurrection. All he had left were 46 pages that he thought were “pure and unsophisticated doctrines.” Recently, one commenter to this blog told me that she disagrees with a lot of what Paul wrote. She didn’t like what he said about women being submissive to their husbands and about women not teaching men in church. But how often have we simply not read a passage because we didn’t think it had anything interesting? Or how often do we look for verses about a particular subject without giving much thought to others?

How quickly we forget that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) God didn’t give us the Bible for us to pick and choose what we wanted to believe. He didn’t tell us to twist it around to fit our culture. If we’re honest, there are parts of the Bible that make us uncomfortable (Hebrews 4:12). There are parts of the Bible that aren’t politically correct. There are parts of the Bible that don’t fit with the way we think the world ought to work.

We sometimes scare people away when we take a firm stand on the truth of the scriptures. It isn’t much fun when that happens, but our relationship with God must always take precedence over our relationship with other people.