I woke up this morning to see that the Bible was trending on Twitter.
That means “the Bible” became a popular topic of discussion on the website. You might think that is a good thing. To be sure, there were things I read that prompted significant biblical thought. Most tweets, though, took another turn.
That’s not all that surprising. The fact that many people hold anti-Christian feelings is nothing new. Today, though, what caught my attention was not what people were saying about the Bible, necessarily. The Bible was trending, but, if I could, I would make #ChristiansmisusingtheBible trend.
That’s not quite how it works, mind you.
There were two anger waves I noticed in my Twitter browsing today. First, there was, and always is, anger against how many Christians use the Bible. They cherry-pick verses to propagate their political agendas or bias. The go-to quote for this is: a text without a context is a pretext for a proof text.
That means ignoring a passage’s background to get a simple “the Bible says it–I believe it” answer. The danger with such an approach is foregoing so much more the Bible says. It’s always ironic to me when an atheist has more knowledge of a biblical passage than Christians who quote it. So, Christians pluck out a passage that fits a narrative they want to amplify. Since “the Bible says,” there’s no room for nuance or questioning.
More often than not, what happens in that situation is a person’s stand on an issue becomes more solidified, not their trust in the Bible.
The second anger I noticed is similar, but distinct enough to talk about. If we’re picking a single cherry, we’re most likely missing the entire tree. Even people who don’t know what scripture says, have an idea it says more than people say. Why don’t we discuss the other parts? the difficult passages? the verses that challenge our positions? the ideas we’re not so sure about?
I have an idea why. If Christians are not using the Bible to win arguments against people they disagree with, chances are they’re using the Bible to affirm their own sense of purpose. In the process, they’re letting go of an entire story of God that shapes everything about who we are as God’s people.
Scripture is not your daily dose of motivation. Yes, God wants us to know joy and to have peace. I’m not sure you can truly experience that by approaching the Bible as an oversized fortune cookie.
So, what is the point? How should we read scripture? First, we need the entire story. We need to understand how the whole of scripture inspires our walk with God. Even the hard parts. Even the words we might disagree with.
Second, a godly reading of scripture remolds us. We rediscover the image of God within us all as God transforms each of us.
God’s majesty is everlasting. And if we’re to live in God’s majesty, we must live according to God’s ways. The psalmist said, “Your decrees are very sure; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.” In light of the Bible trending today and to summarize what we’ve said so far, I take that to mean this. All that God says is sure to lead us toward God’s holiness.
All that God says is sure to lead us toward God’s holiness.