Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Bible is like a fiddle

It’s been rightly said that the Bible is like a fiddle. You can play any tune you want on it, if you have a mind to. For example, it would be easy to conclude from the Bible that you can buy your way to Heaven by quoting that the rich young ruler was told that he could have everlasting life by selling all of his goods and giving it to the poor:

Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:18-22). 

It seems very clear from these words that all we have to do is sell what we have, then give the money to the poor. In exchange, God will give us everlasting life. But we know that no one can get right with God by obeying the Ten Commandments, and that salvation is a free gift (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus is rather using the Law to bring the knowledge of sin. He is holding up the mirror of the moral Law for that man to see his sin.

So it’s essential that we approach Scripture in context with what the entire Bible says on a subject, and allow the text to speak rather than shape it to what we believe it says. This is something the Bible calls correct “exegesis.”

In our zeal to convince the world that the Bible is the Word of God, we can try and make the Bible say things that it doesn’t say, and atheists do the same thing in their zeal to present their case against God. Christopher Hitchens, just before his tragic death of cancer, said,

“Atheism by itself is of course not a moral decision or a political one of any kind. It simply is the refusal to believe in a Supernatural dimension. For you to say of Nazism, that it was the implementation of the work of Charles Darwin is a filthy slander, undeserving of you and an insult to this audience. Darwin’s thought was not taught in Germany. Darwinism wasn’t derided in Germany along with every other form of unbelief. All the great modern atheist thinkers: Darwin, Einstein and Freud were alike despised by the National Socialist Regime.”[1]

Hitchens was either misrepresenting the truth or he was ignorant, and I have a hard time believing that such an educated and eloquent man as he would be ignorant.