Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The "Problem" with the Bible

We sadly live in a culture where the Bible is frequently seen not as the Word of God, but the Word of Man. Or perhaps I should clarify my statement: The Word of Many Men, who, BLESS THEIR HEARTS, did their utmost best to try to put into words their beliefs about God, a God who despite their best, most noble intentions, reflects more upon them--the writers--than anything else. Instead of humbly reading the Bible and acknowledging it as THE WORD OF GOD, the TRUE revelation of God Himself, the LIVING WORD, The Word that Comes with POWER and AUTHORITY, we read it as the product of its time and culture, the creation of man.

We live in a culture where God is being shaped, reshaped, molded, remolded, designed, redesigned into the image of this generation. Every generation is playing creator and their creation is God, a God that they can stomach, a God that they can approach with confidence and boldness. Are they even aware they're playing Creator? Perhaps. Perhaps not. You see....
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
The problem with the Bible? It presents a view of man, of mankind, of humankind, of humanity that is distasteful and offensive. The problem with the Bible is that it accuses ALL men--all men, all women, all children--of sin, of being sinners, of being unacceptable, unpresentable, offensive to a holy, righteous, just God. The problem with the Bible is that it quite clearly presents man as LOST, BLIND, DEAF, DEAD (OR AT THE VERY, VERY LEAST DYING), WILLFULLY DISOBEDIENT AND STUBBORN. It presents man as PROUD and STUBBORN and PUFFED UP WITH KNOWLEDGE. It presents man as naturally wicked and disobedient--unable, unwilling to seek God, to worship God, to obey God. It presents man in NEED of a Savior. It presents ONE WAY and only one way to God. A way that demands--commands--repentance, a turning away from sin, from sinful desires, pleasures, lifestyles. It demands a turning TO as well as a turning AWAY. It isn't enough to give up "sins" we must turn to a Savior, follow and obey. It presents a view of God that no one "wants" to believe true: HELL IS REAL AND PUNISHMENT IS FOREVER.

The problem with the Bible? If you approach it with HUMAN eyes and HUMAN understanding and read INTO what you WANT IT TO SAY instead of reading it with SPIRITUAL EYES and SPIRIT-GIVEN understanding, you will find so-called "weaknesses" and "problems."

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

The problem with the Bible? We don't like to be pricked, poked, prodded, corrected, disciplined, convicted. We don't want ANY one--not even God--telling us what to do, how to act, what to believe, how to live. We don't mind the occasional warm and fuzzy promise--often take out of context. (That is a promise written TO believers that is subsequently broadened to include anyone who has ever breathed.)

IF the Bible clashes with ME, IF the Bible clashes with what I want, IF the Bible clashes with what I need, with what I desire, IF the Bible clashes with the world, with what the world says is right, with what the world says is good, with what the world says is just...then THE PROBLEM IS THE BIBLE, NOT ME, NEVER ME, NEVER THE WORLD.

God is God is God is God is God. God means what He says and says what He means. Scripture should not be added to, subtracted from, altered, twisted, distorted, warped, erased. Playing around with what Scripture means leads to deadly consequences. It's the work of a PROUD heart, for one thing. When preachers and teachers play around with Scripture, alter the meaning, if their interpretation of what a text "really, truly" means CLEARLY contradicts a passage's clear meaning, and encourages others to believe the same....it takes my breath away.

The problem with the Bible? Me and you. We need to read with spiritual eyes, repentant hearts, opening our minds to the WORD (the Bible) and THE WORD (Jesus Christ). Open minds--open to the Spirit, open to the truth, open to being taught. BUT CLOSED, FIRMLY CLOSED, to the WORLD, to the LUSTS OF THE EYES, TO THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH, TO THE PRIDE OF LIFE. (1 John 2:15-17). We don't need to read the Bible with our hearts in alignment with the WORLD, WITH THE CULTURE, WITH SOCIETY, WITH OUR SINFUL, LUSTFUL HEARTS, WITH OUR POLITICAL BELIEFS, WITH OUR PHILOSOPHIES AND WORLDVIEWS. We need to set our minds on THINGS ABOVE (Colossians 3:1-10). God's truth is the ONLY truth.

The problem with the Bible? We're unwilling to see the bad news is TRUE news. We're unwilling to believe that the bad news is the truth of God and it's about US, me and you, here and now. So long as we can edit out ALL the bad news of the Bible (sin, the fall of mankind, disobedience, wrath, justice, GOD AS JUDGE, the need to repent, our actual need for a Savior, the existence of hell, the exclusivity of heaven, the fact that JESUS IS THE ONE AND ONLY WAY instead of one of many ways) it's fine to believe in Jesus Christ's teaching of LOVE of PEACE of JOY of HOPE. There is no fear of God, because we strip away any and every teaching that might give us a glimpse of a God worthy of being feared.

Run far, far, far away from ANY professing believer who approaches the Word of God as if it were written on a dry/erase board. Turn away from any professing believer who erases what he/she does not want to be true. Reject any teaching that is from man's vain imagination. (2 Corinthians 10:5) The truth is once you start "rejecting" any verse from the Bible as not being true, not being inspired, not being the word of God but just a human idea by a human author, it isn't long before you start rejecting chapters AND verses, whole books of the Bible, whole sections of Scripture.

There will always, always, always, always be doctrines of Scripture that will prove DISTASTEFUL and OFFENSIVE and UNCOMFORTABLE and DISCONCERTING to natural, fallen man. Our very natures--the natures we were born with, our own natural sense of right and wrong, our own natural sense of good and evil, our own desires and wants and needs--will be in conflict with the Word...until we are BORN AGAIN and SET FREE. 1 JOHN 3 reads, "You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin...The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:5, 8)

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:23-25

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17

The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. Psalm 119:160
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:2-4

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11

This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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