Sometimes I read things in the Bible that I don’t immediately “like” to read. I realize that I am in no position to debate things with the Creator, but as I read some stories or consider a passage in one of the Pauline epistles, my reaction not one of doubt (in fact, I am all the more convinced the words are authentic because they bother me!), but rather one of confusion or befuddlement.
But my uneasiness with something in the Word reveals at least one of two things in my own soul:
1. My need to change my view of something (be it a better understanding “right and wrong” or something about God) and adjust it to God’s view. Obviously if the Designer of my life—-and yours—-says something is wrong/sinful/unacceptable, He knows what He’s talking about and who in the world are we to argue about it!
2. My need to seek help from the Holy Spirit to understand what He meant when He inspired those words and how I need to respond. Things are not always “black and white” in terms of what we read or think we fully understand. In a word, I need illumination.
So despite my frustration at times at what I am reading, I need to be sure to read the entire passage/chapter and not just one verse and then attempt to create a theology around one sentence. Some folks appear to do this, and in my opinion that’s exactly what a fanatic does to justify just about anything he/she wants to do or be by reading scripture in a manner that was never intended.
I also need to ever and always be a student of the Bible and, in relationship to what the Holy Spirit unveils, ever a child. It’s okay to ask God to explain things to me and frankly I don’t see how a person can expect to grasp the enormity, complexity and sophistication of scripture without divine inspiration! Any parable of Jesus is enough to remind me of how far I must still go in studying the Word of God.
We must consider that every verse in the Bible has to be understood from the bigger backdrop of the entire narrative of the Bible and through the Holiness of God. What God says in the New Testament cannot undo or undermine what He said in the Old Testament, and vice versa. God is not changing or evolving—but my understanding of just how holy and removed He is from sin, is.
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