Jun20WedJune 20, 2018
How do you use the Bible?
If you confess Jesus as your Savior, you likely approach the Scriptures to further your understanding into the nature of God. If so, that is excellent! The Apostle Paul affirmed such growth when he prayed for the Ephesians believers by saying, “may the Lord give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:17-18a).
In addition to this, the Bible has also been given to us in order that we would apply God’s instructions to our real, daily lives. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and for training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be fully equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is to be used as a guide to know how to live differently in the world – through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, considering the daily application of Scripture can lead us into two strong temptations.
The first temptation is to use what we understand about the Bible for shameful, personal gain (see 2 Corinthians 4:2, 1 Peter 5:2, 2 Peter 3:16). It can be so easy to take Scripture out of context and justify whatever actions a selfish heart desires.
This was most prominently put on display last week when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted from Romans 13 in order to support a new governmental policy which separates mothers from their children at the southern border of the United States. He quoted Romans 13:1 accurately when he said, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.” However, he grossly misapplied the passage to declare that this policy must be followed - period.
The misapplication was so clear that even secular journalists have been pointing out that only ten verses later, the Bible says that “love does no wrong to a neighbor.” Jeff Sessions clearly mishandled the Word of God to justify an inhumane policy and as a pastor, I am appalled! However, to the point of this article, without studying the breadth of Scripture it can be very easy for any one of us to also mishandle Scripture to suit our own personal agendas.
Another temptation regarding the application of Scripture is to convince ourselves that since the Bible was written a long time ago, God’s Word has little to say about our twenty-first century issues. It has ‘spiritual truths’ but not relevant truths. However, there is tremendous instruction in the Bible about marriage, parenting, church governance, Christian ministry, what we should watch or listen to, how to relate to neighbors, how to steward money, and how to treat our physical bodies (just to name a few).
Scripture has amazingly clear instructions for us, right now in our world, if we are willing to give the time to faithfully study His written word in its context and come with “ears to hear” what the Lord is saying. Scripture is not silent on our most relevant topics.
So how do you use your Bible? I encourage you to approach the Scriptures to grow in knowing the heart of God. Absolutely! But let’s also use the Bible to humble ourselves under God’s instructions, seeking to serve and not to be served, so that others may see righteous daily living and give glory to our Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:16). If you need help finding or applying God’s relevant instructions, ask another Christian friend, talk with your Elders or Pastors. Scripture is sufficient!