The Danger of Using the Bible Instead of Letting It Use You

One thing that angers me a great deal is the misappropriation of passages from Holy Scripture. Tyler Huckabee writes in Relevent Magazine on the dangers of dividing the Bible up into bite-size chunks appropriate for bumper sticker sloganeering:

An unfortunate consequence of littering the Bible with the little demarcating numbers we call “chapter and verse” is the ease with which it allows the Bible to be split up piecemeal. We study and memorize the Bible in bite-sized chunks, just long enough to fit on a day calendar or scribble on a bathroom mirror. Chapters and verses are useful things for finding your place, but they can give the impression that each sentence of the Bible was spoken in a vacuum, with no pertinent information around it. Using Romans 13 to defend obeying the government, as Jeff Sessions did, is a bit like using Moby Dick to defend mid-1800s whaling practices.

This particular moment in time has made it manifestly clear just how deficient a theology can be when it is built this way. Christians who claim to be adherents to the Bible seem to miss many of the themes that consistently run throughout the text.

The real secret of living according to the will of God is not to collect enough Bible verses to defend your latest socio-political fancy but to let God transform you entirely. Not to bend God’s Word to your will, but exactly the other way around. And to do that, you must take in the whole of Scripture, every jot and tittle. It’s not easy.

Huckabee is right that it’s not easy to get the bigger picture within scripture. That is why study is necessary and communities of faith are important.

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