Not getting what you need from the Bible? Well, just listen for God’s voice elsewhere, we’re told. But here’s a fair warning, we often do a convincing impersonation.
A page torn from an inspirational daily calendar of Bible verses is making rounds these days on social media. It features a pretty purple flower and a quote from Luke 4:7: “If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”
It’s meant to inspire — until you realize who said it: Satan.
Now whether this was an oversight by the calendar designer, or a clever Photoshop job, the takeaway is the same: Context matters when it comes to Scripture. But today, there’s an even deeper problem with how we use Bible verses, and a recent article in the Huffington Post offers a sad example of why.
Brandon Robertson, a young Bible institute graduate, recounts how his faith was shaken when he couldn’t find what he thought he needed in the pages of Scripture.
“Every time I found myself in turmoil,” he wrote, “I would reach for the Bible … [but] I was most often coming back empty handed.” That disappointment, he explained, left him “radically disinterested” in God’s word.
Describing a moment of a particular personal crisis, Brandon looked to the Bible looking for comfort.
“With tears in my eyes,” he writes, “I opened up the Scriptures and landed on Isaiah 3 — a chapter about God judging and destroying his enemies ... not exactly the encouragement I was looking for,” he said. “I turned to the typical ‘encouragement’ passages like Romans 8 and Philippians 3, but they didn’t seem to be working.”
Brandon recounts that his disappointment continued into college, until, during a lecture by biblical critic Peter Enns, he had an epiphany: “We need to be training our children to cultivate a relationship with God, not a relationship with the Bible.”
Now at face value, of course, this statement is true. The purpose of the Bible is to reveal God. But for a growing number of progressive Christians, the God they want can’t be found in the pages of Scripture. So they look for Him elsewhere — in personal experience, through relationships with other people, and through private interpretations of when they say God “speaks into” their life.
Effectively, this approach untethers God from the Bible. For example, the United Church of Christ recently insisted that “God is still speaking.” Another true-at-face-value statement, until you realize they’re actually suggesting that God’s changed His mind on issues like morality and marriage, and that their ideas of who God should be trumps the God His Word reveals.
Many point to Jesus Himself as their alternative to Scripture. For example, Enns, in his book “The Bible Tells Me So,” writes that “for Christians, Jesus, not the Bible, has the final word.”
But in response, Christian blogger Derek Rishmawy asked a very important question: to which “Jesus” are these folks referring? “… [T]he only real Jesus we have intellectual access to,” observes Derek, “is the Jesus revealed to us in the Bible.” That Jesus reaffirmed the exclusivity of natural marriage, endorsed every “jot and tittle” of the Old Testament, and talked as much about hell and judgement as He did the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Jesus that progressive Christians claim has no source other than, well, themselves, their own feelings, beliefs, and preferences.
J. Gresham Machen wrote back in 1924, “The real authority, for liberalism, can only be … individual experience; truth can only be that which ‘helps’ the individual man. Such an authority is obviously no authority at all.”
Our approach to the Bible is vitally important. God’s inspired word is not a calendar of inspirational, therapeutic quotes. When we open the Bible, we are stepping into God’s story, understanding our place in His design, and encountering Him on His terms. When we don’t find what we’re looking for, we should ask whether we’re looking for the real God — or remaking a god in our image.
The deepest problem today with people and the Bible is “‘Every time I found myself in turmoil,’ he wrote, ‘I would reach for the Bible.” People usually do not reach for the Bible unless they are in turmoil and that is where the problem begins. The BATTLE is not the time to get “Built Up.” People need to stay “Built Up.” People stay “Built Up” by reading the Word of God Daily NOT just when they are in turmoil. When people only reach for the Bible in turmoil is how “his faith was shaken when he couldn’t find what he thought he needed in the pages of Scripture.”
The next deepest problem today with people and the Bible is people keep looking to the Bible to do what the Bible was NOT Designed to do. That is like expecting your dishwasher to wash your clothes. When people do that then “That disappointment, he explained, left him ‘radically disinterested’ in God’s word.” Instead of people making themselves the problem they make the Bible the Problem. Then people get upset with the Bible when “the God they want can’t be found in the pages of Scripture.” The only thing people want to hear is how wonderful they are and what they are doing is okay no matter what it is. The Bible is Truth. The Truth is people can be Horrible:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
The PURPOSE of the Bible is TRUTH, TEACH and SHOW people THEMSELVES:
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)
People NOT operating in Truth is how satan gets his Foothold. satan loves imitating God, which makes him GREAT at doing a “convincing impersonation.” satan is also great at making people feel good about what they are doing even when it is wrong. satan does not come dressed in a red cape and horns, but comes as your every DESIRE. That is why people need Truth to Recognize him. When people are still Discouraged after reading the Bible means they REJECTED what the Bible was trying to SHOW them.
People not feeling good means the Holy Spirit is not “Built Up” or they are in “God’s Process” (Posted at this Website) or they are in SIN. First people need a Relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. Second people need to keep the Holy Spirit “Built Up” because He Navigates us through God’s Process. The way people know it is the Holy Spirit is He always takes us to the Word of God. People usually know when they are in SIN. Third when people are not feeling good because of SIN means they need to STOP the SIN. People want to do what they want to do so instead of changing they become “‘radically disinterested’ in God’s word.” Along with that when people have a Relationship with the Holy Spirit they can “encouraged” themselves. That is what David did because he had a Relationship with God:
“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (I Samuel 30:6)
The next deepest problem today with people and the Bible is “We need to be training our children to cultivate a relationship with God, not a relationship with the Bible.” At “NO VAULE” is that statement true. A “Relationship with God through the Holy Spirit” and a “Relationship with the Bible” are the SAME. The Two CANNOT be separated. At “EVERY VAULE” “God is still speaking:”
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” (I John 1:1-4)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 13-14)
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:26-27)
The next deepest problem today with people and the Bible is “‘I opened up the Scriptures and landed on Isaiah 3 — a chapter about God judging and destroying his enemies ... not exactly the encouragement I was looking for,’ he said.” When people are in the Word of God daily you do not just open up the Bible looking for stuff. The Holy Spirit taught me start at Genesis and read one chapter a day and when I finish Revelation start back over. It takes three years to read the entire Bible reading one chapter a day. Reading the Bible is a “Lifestyle” so people do not need to read it in a year.
“Encouragement” is NOT the Goal when reading the Bible. “Keeping the Holy Spirit Built Up” IS the Goal. When the Holy Spirit is “Built Up” He will “Teach,” keep people “Encouraged” and “Happy.” That is why the Holy Spirit is called the “Comforter.” I said in my “Are You Giving God Things That Cost You Nothing?” Blog “I knew that information because God put it inside of me before the Foundation of the World.” Because God put the information inside of people before the Foundation of the World is why people need the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that “teach” and brings the information to our “remembrance:”
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)
The article stated, “for Christians, Jesus, not the Bible, has the final word.” The Bible is the Final Authority. That is why the Holy Spirit ALWAYS takes us to the Bible to Confirm His Word. Christians feeling that way is the reason they DO NOT have any power. Power comes from God’s Process, Reading the Word of God Daily and having a Relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was Born to Fulfill His Purpose of Dying on the Cross. That is why Jesus is our Example for God’s Process. Along with that Jesus’ Resurrection is the Foundation for “Christianity.” (Posted at this Website) As people Celebrate Easter today they must remember the Great Love Sacrifice Jesus made. When people have a Relationship with God through the Holy Spirit that Same Resurrection Power that cause Jesus to Rise from the Dead on the Third Day is INSIDE of US.
HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY AND HAVE A WONDERFUL EASTER!!!