One of my favorite Bible verses in the New Testament is 1stPeter 2:9-10: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people but now you are God’s People; once you have not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
For me these two verses put things into perspective when it comes to how followers of Christ should see themselves. In other words we are who we are not by our efforts but by God’s love and grace. Because of what God did for us, we are called to tell the world that God did this for all of us, the whole world.
The other day I read a sentence that proof-texted these verses with another verse, so that it said what they wanted it to say, not necessarily what the writer or God intended. Let me tell you I was quite upset. My wife heard my response and wondered what was wrong. I told her and she said that I should respond to it. So I am!!!
Proof-texting has been a tried and not so true method of making the Bible say what you want it to say. Both in how it is said and how it is applied. This is not just Paul Coen getting cranky over someone’s particular interpretation of Scripture. In fact, I would hope those who read, preach, and teach God’s Word should have their own vision of the Word as influenced by their doctrine and faith community. It is where the messenger is looking for a Bible verse to prove their point, rather than the Bible guiding the teacher or preacher to help us see God’s point.
Why so upset, what is the big deal, maybe it is just a case of dueling Bibles. I will find a verse to prove my point, you find one to prove yours. Seems like God is not being consulted much in this approach to the Bible. Also many folks are not as Biblically invested as they could be, (not since Sunday school). My fear is that folks will use God’s Word to promote a particular agenda that fits their political or cultural viewpoint. Nobody questions it! Examples, slavery, racism, sexism, anti-Semitisms, and war have all been promoted using the Bible.
God’s Word is not a buffet that you get to pick out just what you want. It is the whole meal deal and sometimes that means it is not always to our liking. I am not saying I have complete understanding into God’s Word, I am still working on it. But I believe that when we use God’s Word to serve us, we are breaking the first and second commandments. Check them out, you will find them in the Book of Exodus! Amen!