Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bible people

I'm starting to notice a subtle, yet distinct dichotomy in the types of people that study the Bible. There are people who read the Bible seeking to find truth, and there are people who read the Bible looking to prove what they already believe. The dangerous thing that the prior is very difficult and the latter is very easy.

It's been said that you can use the Bible to argue anything. It's true. This is why I don't like what I call "acrobat" Bible studies, when a person speaks on a topic and has you flip flop through your Bible to catch wayward sentences that may relate to that subject (or not). Satan used scripture in the temptation of Christ. The word of God is a sword, and it can be used quite violently. From the law of Moses until now, the scriptures have been used by religious people wielding it recklessly and for their own power.

But the word of God is a double edged sword. I don't really know what that means in context, but here's how I'm going to use it. :) There's the prior use for the sword as I mentioned earlier. But the Bible is the truth of God, and I have this vision of a lost person cutting through dense overgrowth to find their way back to the path. Kind of an image of one of the seeds in Luke 8. You don't know what you're going to find as you continue on, but each step is progress.

The Bible is all about paradox. Weak and strong, humble yet exalted, sinner but saved. I think this is another one. One of the most evil things is to twist the word of God into your own creation; that is pure blasphemy. But one of the most beautiful things is to find a ray of truth that you know would never come from a source of this world.

We hold the same book in our hands, but every one will choose how they're going to approach it.

God, open our hearts. Empty us of ourselves. Show us your truth.

7 comments:

Neener said...

Ann, I totally dig this post. The church I started to attend has been plowing through the Bible, book-by-book. At first, I thought it was a strange (and almost boring) way of going at it (what are we going to study next week? more of the same book!), but then I realized how much more I retained what was going on and how much more truth I felt like I was discovering.

I was never a good Bible flipper.

Anonymous said...

I use the Bible to prove that I don't really know anything!
Great post, scripture really is powerful, and we all need to become better swashbucklers.
~Ben

crittermer said...

Wow, this is awesome, Ann. I remember a lightbulb moment I had a couple of years ago when I heard a speaker ask "are you reading the Bible to be righteous or to be right?" Oops! That was mega-convicting to me. I agree that I think it takes a particularly mature person to be able to study the Bible topically. I have definitely experienced a lot of benefit from just trying to study one passage or book at a time--which I now know is called "expository study," thanks to my sis.=) Thanks for the great thoughts!

Brian K. Mitchell said...

This is a very good post! Your theological reflextions are thoughtful and very meaningful. This is a message we all need to pay attention to, consider, and be remined of more often. I wish more Christians would take the Grammatico-Historical approach instead of using a “Proof texting method”(Eisegesis).



Peace

Jeremy and Amanda said...

Totally unrelated to your post (which was good by the way), but I just wanted to say hello and how great it was to see you a couple of weeks ago. You are in your prayers always and if you need anything, just email me.

Dan said...

I had a friend in college who told me he had to write an "ExtraJesus" for his bible class. ;-) Yes, he knew very well what he was saying - he's a lot smarter than I.

I have found that those who cite a scripture after every sentence are laden with preconceived notions about what those scriptures mean. They'll condemn clapping in one sentence and throw in (1 Cor 14:40) as if we can all stipulate that clapping is indecent and disorderly. It's such a shallow and ridiculous interpretation of scripture that I struggle mightily in being humble and gracious. I have to remember that I am no better.

Have you read "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey? His discussion of the paradoxes in the Sermon on the Mount is amazing.

Paula Harrington said...

Good posts. So true.
Thanks!